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Vox vs. Obama
When You’ve Lost Vox, Mr. President…

With U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East in “free fall“, President Obama has lost the right and the center and the left is fraying. But we never thought he’d lose Vox.

It was formed by some of Obama’s most loyal press devotees. When the President needed to get his mojo back for his last two years, he turned to the website for a lavishly produced, not to say hagiographic, series of interviews. And now, Vox is explaining President Obama’s Middle East policy—and specifically, the collapse of Yemen—in a tone it usually reserves for filibustering GOP Senators:

And that led to the bizarre spectacle, last Wednesday, of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest flailing haplessly in response to questions about how Yemen could be considered a success. He lamely contended, “We have not seen that kind of — of — of progress in terms of strengthening the central government. I think you could make a pretty strong case that we’ve seen the opposite of that. But we do, you know, we do continue to enjoy the benefits of a sustained counterterrorism security relationship with the security infrastructure that remains in Yemen.”

You know, I think you could make a pretty strong case that we’ve “seen the opposite of that,” considering that the central government has now for all intents and purposes ceased to exist.

Vox’s analysis of the strategic situation Middle Eastern has all the depth and detail the
“internet glossy” has become famous for. But even they can’t miss the overall situation:

The underlying problem is that Obama is so eager to avoid doing “stupid [stuff]” that he’s reluctant to even look at the big picture[…] The Obama administration may think it has a successful track record of identifying and averting specific threats to the interests of the US and its allies. But what it actually has is a track record of identifying and averting specific threats, but doing very little to address the root causes of those threats — and then being caught unawares when those root causes lead to catastrophic chaos. Which, in turn, proves to be far worse than the threats the administration was trying to address in the first place.

One would have to grade on quite a curve to call that a success.

The President still has a few true-believers in the private sector backing him on the specific issue of the Iran deal. But when it comes to the larger question of general Middle East policy, the quip that his only supporters are those still drawing a paycheck from the Administration rings increasingly true.

At some point, you’d have to think that this would have to get through to President Ahab and the remaining crew on the Pequod. With remonstrations now coming from even the friendliest quarters, will we start to change course?

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  • Ellen

    The unfortunate answer to your last question, Prof. Mead, is NO! Obama will not change course because that would imply that he was wrong all along, as various people he doesn’t like have been saying (eg, Bibi, Boehner, and very quietly Hillary). He is too arrogant to admit he could possibly misjudge and misread an entire region of the world so consistently for 6 blood-soaked years. He should resign and go back to Chicago, where he can join Rev. Wright and blame everything on the you know whos.

    • Blackbeard


    • FriendlyGoat

      Making Joe Biden president would not be an all-bad idea, but Obama has nothing to be ashamed of. Islam and Israel are not children needing the parenthood of an American president.

      • Curious Mayhem

        The region is going up in flames as it is, and it’s only going to get worse. Once upon a time, the US would be able to do something about it — no longer.

  • johne843

    Perhaps Vox isn’t a monolithic outlet like this site increasingly is.

    • Ellen

      There aren’t many liberals anywhere in the blogosphere these days who will defend Obama and his wretched, demented worldview. A blogging pal of mine from Spengler days tells me he roams around the blogosphere looking for liberals and lefties to have arguments with, and can’t find a living soul who will argue for Obama today with any conviction or energy. That is the old circular firing squad of the Democratic Party taken to a higher level of meaning. Obama and his sycophants are not only killing their own careers and legacies, but the entire ideological edifice of liberalism. Good work guys, and keep on trucking.

      • johne843

        Rather than engaging your unlettered rant, I might suggest that you, and many others, fail to understand that normalization with Iran is central to America’s new strategy in the Middle East. A strategy that will transcend political parties and the grandstanding flavor of the week. Pax American is dead in the Middle East, and yes, that makes Israel a slightly less important ally. Everyone will survive, including the Jewish State, so calm down.

        • Ellen

          Only an unlettered and blinkered Obamoid could possibly think that normalization with Iran has a prayer of success with the current regime in power. That is truly a replay of “Peace in our Time” from 1938. You people are suckers in the Persian bazaar and it is blowing up in your face, if you would only read a newspaper, as Iran pillages its way through 4 and more Arab countries. Israel will survive, no thanks to Rev. Wright’s disciple, but Obama’s policy and America’s standing in the world won’t. You don’t believe me? Then just watch and wait.

        • Tom

          Wow. “Unlettered rant.” Point for vocabulary, counterbalanced by penalties for condescension and wishful thinking.
          Saying that normalization with Iran is central to America’s new strategy in the Middle East is like saying that Arnhem Bridge is central to Montgomery’s new strategy in the Netherlands.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Love the Market-Garden reference….you know Obama reminds me a great deal of Monty, not a good thing….

          • Ellen

            Perhaps, but with one glaring difference in favor of old Monty. He was the hero of El Alamein in North Africa, which was a great victory in that theatre. He also advanced through the British military ranks on the basis of merit. Obama never achieved anything on the basis of merit, and will not be the hero of any El XXXX location in the Islamic world. He will be the flop of Lausanne, or Geneva, or whatever European watering hole is the graveyard of his negotiating processes.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually I was going to compare Monty and Obama on the basis of El Alamein….Monty won with someone else’s battle plan, poorly executed, and barely eked out a victory despite overwhelming force and a seriously depleted enemy. HOWEVER, the allies played it up as a huge victory for propaganda reasons….
            All Obama needs is a beret

          • Ellen

            Nice counter. Read David Ignatius’ pitiful column today. He is trying to spin the inevitable failure of the negotiation now still ongoing but apparently dying a death of slow hemorrhage. The British and German foreign ministers have already gone home. But they are preparing another draft…. and another spin around the block.. and the process will go on and on… and on… Does this remind you of another Kerry disaster – the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations over the 2-state plan? That was another one where they were supposedly “closing gaps”, “converging on consensus”, yadda yadda yadda. Everything I read Kerry or his mouthpieces talking about closing gaps, I already know it’s time to call in Ignatius and the spin crew.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Thanks….I don’t care for Monty, and adore Eisenhower’s takedown of him after his loathsome memoirs came out.
            Read Ignatius, and wasn’t surprised…sigh. As for the slow death of this atrocity of an agreement, let us hope it spins around the block eternally, and never goes any further….

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