If we are to take the Obama administration seriously, Egypt is not an ally of the United States and the U.S. ambassador to Libya was assassinated due to a cheesy video that was released on the Internet several months ago. While the incompetence of the current administration has often been on display and never been in doubt, the way in which the White House first paved the road to the Benghazi incident, then completely bungled its response to the assassination, is indicative of new depths of ineptitude.
The Obama statement notwithstanding, Egypt has not only filled out all of the necessary paperwork to be a U.S. ally, but has been the recipient of about $38 billion in U.S. aid since 1973. And while one can reasonably be dubious about the willingness of the Egyptian government to come to the assistance of the United States in the event of a declared war that would trigger its allied obligations, the fact of the U.S.-Egypt alliance is a literal matter of black ink and white paper. While it is no surprise that Obama is disengaged and uninterested in the responsibilities of the office of president, his lack of knowledge about who is, and who is not, a U.S. ally is truly remarkable.
Nor is it a surprise that both the Obama administration and the media should attempt to find a scapegoat for the increasing unrest throughout the Islamic world, as the alternative is to lay it squarely on the administration. The rabble rousers of the Muslim world are always rousing the young, unemployed, Arabic rabble; if there are no cartoons or insufficiently revered Qurans to be found, a YouTube video will have to serve as the nominal target of “Muslim rage.” But the angry Arabic mobs never actually amount to anything, as despite their near-constant state of fury, they have done less damage over the last four decades than angry Oakland Raiders fans. The unarmed masses are clearly not the parties responsible for the armed attack on the U.S. consulate and its safe house.
The Obama administration’s responsibility for the Libyan debacle is threefold. First, its support of the so-called Arab Spring was a disastrous strategic miscalculation. Ruthless dictators such as Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Gadhafi had interests that were not necessarily in line with those of the United States, but neither were they particularly hostile to them anymore. And they both possessed a shared interest in keeping the global jihadists in line. As the assassination of J. Christopher Stevens less than one year after Gadhafi’s fall has shown, the removal of the restraining hands of the Arab dictators has freed the Muslim Brotherhood and inspired its cherished dream of a new caliphate
Second, Obama’s drone wars have created genuine hatred throughout the Arab world, not merely on the ever-inflammable Arab street. Anyone, including Arab-Americans, are potential victims of the self-appointed president-assassin, who respects neither geographical boundaries nor the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law in creating his secret kill lists before sending out his killer drones to invade foreign skies. He is not governing as a president, but as a Hollywood supervillain. All he needs now to make the picture complete is to acquire a white cat and move his operations from the White House to a hidden base inside a giant Mount Obama carved in the shape of his head. It is only because Americans do not fear him that they do not hate him, too.
The third failure of the administration that made the recent events possible is its decision to continue repeating the primary strategic failure of its predecessor. The Bush administration made a grievous mistake in attempting to fight an undeclared half-war without declaring a specific enemy, without identifying a specific objective and without winning the support of the American people. Why the Bush administration failed to do so is irrelevant. What matters now is its decision. The strategic incompetence inherent in that decision, and in Obama’s adherence to it, rendered even the slightest chance of success impossible, as anyone who has ever read any of the great military strategists will recognize. Each minor tactical success only raises difficult new questions, while every failure raises increasingly justifiable doubts. In the end, strategic failure is guaranteed.
What the Bush and Obama administrations failed to realize is that the fields of the Middle East were sown with dragon’s teeth. What has sprouted as a result of the Arab Spring are warriors, not flowers, and the harvest has already proved to be a dangerous and bloody one.