Lips May Sink Anti-ISIL Ship (L'Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)
is all well and good, except precisely in time of war - and we have never seen
a power parade its own shortcomings so stupidly. It is already hazardous to tell
the enemy about air strikes you are planning against him: failing to intimidate,
such a warning in effect gives him time to parry. Yet there are still more
hazards. The virtuous Obama, with the concern he has for the lives of his Marines,
would be well-inspired to follow the advice of the exceptionally devious Richard
Nixon: never tell the enemy what you will do, or what
you won't ..."
A fault confessed, as the saying goes, is half redressed - even
if granting half forgiveness is very difficult in the case of such an
inveterate, incorrigible and habitual offender as Uncle Sam.
By definition, the secret services of all countries (let
alone a superpower) are supposed to scrutinize the outside world in minute
detail, inform the political authorities of whatever they discover, and make
recommendations for or against eventual action, whether about
initiatives to be taken in the open or clandestinely. However, in the recent
history of the United States, there have been many cases in which the torpor of
the secret services, or conversely, their excessive zeal, has resulted in enormous
errors of judgment based squarely on misinformation. ThusPresident John F. Kennedy, eager to overthrow Cuban Fidel Castro,
ordered in 1961, based on wildly optimistic information provided by the CIA, the catastrophic Bay of Pigs invasion.
The same CIA presented erroneous reports if not outright lies to George W. Bush,
in a similar hurry to be done with Saddam Hussein, that the dictator had stockpiles
of weapons of mass destruction.
Barack Obama is good natured - a rather agreeable change
from the frenzied war-mongering of his predecessor. But is decidedly too much
made of this? Not long ago, the head of the White House stupefied the world by
acknowledging that he had no strategy to deal with the Islamic State. With inspiration
having finally arrived, America then put together a vast coalition of about 40
countries, engaged, to varying degrees, in the fight against this scourge. However, a
new turn of events came about last Sunday: this time, during an
interview with CBS [watch below], the president
admitted to having been doubly mistaken: once by underestimating how the
gravity of the chaos in Syria would generate a phenomenon as dangerous as IS;
and a second time in overestimating the capacity of the Iraqi Army to resist
the jihadist tidal wave. In any event, was this such a
courageous confession? We're not sure, because in fact, Obama only confirmed a
staggering mea culpa that Director of National
Intelligence James Clapper had recently owned up to.
How could the legendary CIA, with its 25,000 or so agents,
its satellites and surveillance drones (not to mention its moles scattered
across every continent), fail to detect in time, and adequately evaluate the
development of a cancerous tumor that for some months already we have seen growing
before our eyes? Hadn't former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shouted until
hoarse demanding in vain the granting of massive aid to the democratic
opposition in Syria, only to end up exasperated and handing in her notice?
When all is said and done, the Obama Doctrine is an odd
mixture of naivety and pragmatism (or perhaps duplicity?) Above all, isn't it
the Assad regime that benefits most from air strikes against the terrorist
hordes? In its conviction that the solution in Syria, like
elsewhere in Iraq, can only be political and not military, Washington doesn't
deny this. Add the assertion, many times reiterated, that in no
case will the United States send troops on the ground, and the result is a
Syrian tyranny, beyond all of its hopes, trumpeting at the U.N. General
Assembly [see below] that the whole world is coming around to its views.
Transparency is all well and good, except precisely in time
of war - and we have never seen a power parade its own shortcomings so stupidly.
It is already hazardous to tell the enemy about air strikes you are planning against
him: failing to intimidate, such a warning in effect gives him time to parry. Yet
there are still more hazards. The virtuous Obama, with the concern he has for the
lives of his Marines, would be well-inspired to follow the advice of the
exceptionally devious Richard
Nixon: never tell the enemy what you will do, or what you won't