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June 12, 2014

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GOING BACKWARDS? Someone said the more things change the more they stay the same. Under the foreign policy of this President it seems to be true. Whoever thought after a couple decades the "COLD WAR" would return? The USSR fell apart and Democracy seemed to be taking hold in Russia. US/Russia relations led to partnerships in business and in space. Now, Russia seems to be worried about NATO and looking to maintain a buffer zone of sorts. A dictatorship has reemerged in their political system with the KGB firmly in charge.

Now we fast forward to Iraq and a war we thought we had resolved. But, unlike the US of WWII and Korea we decided to rely on the Vietnam model of abandonment of the battlefield leaving the spoils to whoever filled the vacuum. Vietnam seemed to work out. Our allies were executed and a new government, now US friendly, emerged from the Viet Cong. Iraq is looking much different. With this strategy unraveling what will the strategy of announcing our abandonment of the battlefield in Afghanistan bring to the women and people of that country?

Two countries we fought in to avoid allowing Al Qaeda from establishing a base for attacks on our homeland and Pakistan are now in danger of being turned into safe havens for lots of terrorists factions.

Our policy of telling Assad to get out or be blasted by missiles was replaced by Putin's policy of let the war go unabated. So we have a wild fire raging out of control and spreading where ever it wants in a vacuum of super power intervention. Who really is the World's foreign policy leader? NATO seems to have joined the US in the fall back and fill sand bags strategy. Bad guys will only get worse and challenge in more places. soon the US will be looking for strategies in Yemen, Somalia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, etc. We are too young to remember how the Japanese and Germans got the idea they could conquer the world but it wasn't because the US was focused on their aggression. But, the US seems to be repeating it's past in ignoring the enemy.

PRETTY CLOSE, Bill. To try and describe the situation in the Middle East is impossible given the uncertainty of the individual players but Bill has done a great job in this article. And, the extension of this Al Qaeda gaining movement can be directly attributed to the failures of the last two Presidents. First, GWB driven by intense desire to protect America after 9-11, faulty intelligence and under the influence of people who thought that democracy in the Middle East would lead to a better world chose to invade Iraq and occupy Afghanistan far too long. Second, President Obama chose to unilaterally begin to disengage the US from the role of policeman and perhaps more damaging openly flaunted his unilateral reduction of US military forces and intelligence. Through the first 4 years of his Presidency he looked like a surprising adversary of terror using drones to decimate Al Qaeda leaders but once his reelection was secure the drone strikes quickly faded in exchange likely for talks with Iran and Israel/Palestinians. The result is the Bad Guys of the world are beginning to emerge. Putin in Ukraine. Muslim radicals all over Africa. Al Qaeda in Iraq. Taliban in Afghanistan. Who knows who in Egypt. (Hillary and) Kerry must be spinning with the turmoil on every intelligence board they look at. Yesterday the President said Biden is in charge of Iraq. Kerry this morning said we are on it like a laser. I'm waiting to see what happens when China circles Taiwan and claims ethnic ownership using the Putin model of grab and bluff. Exactly how binding are the international defense treaties that the US is obligated to enforce? Under an Administration that continually draws vanishing ink lines in the sand, continuously threatens support that vanishes, and one who focuses on political impressions rather than real policies it is unlikely the US will actually enforce a treaty. Our political leaders have a 4-8 year view of the world. Our enemies bury their weapons in the sand and await the next opening in true Bin Laden fashion they think in generations while we think in election to election terms. The world of our children is frightening. The inability to reverse the process we are seeing could be true horror.

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