Monday, January 6, 2014

Foggy Bottom enmeshed in a turbulent, conflicting vortex of storylines...dangerously tempting fate of millions

If reports on the most recent fighting in Iraq are to be believed, that  Prime Minister Maliki's Shia government is being actively supported by Iran, while the AlQaeda-linked Sunni terrorists are being actively supported by Saudi Arabia, and the Sunni goal of establishing an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has credibility, then, how does the United States presume to provide drones and intelligence for the Maliki government to fight the Sunni while at the same time negotiating with Iran on the dismantling of its nuclear program?
Isn't that a stretch too far, to be able to negotiate in good faith on one file, while actively supporting a military enemy on another?
Talk about fight a war on two fronts simultaneously, with two deeply embedded opponents, while holding the world hostage to the containment of AlQaeda and the termination of the Iranian pursuit of a nuclear weapon. And, these two "proxy" combatants (Saudi Arabia and Iran) are also deeply engaged in the civil war in Syria, where AlQaeda-linked terrorists, once again presumably supported with money and weapons by the Saudis, are engaged in a battle to the death against Syrian president Assad, once again supported by the Iranians and Hezbollah.
The upshot of these fragmentary pieces of information is not only that the Syrian conflict is spreading into Iraq, and the Iraqi-based conflict threatens to merge with that Syrian conflict, effectively shoving the United States to the sidelines on both fronts.
How can the world put any faith in the U.S. representatives who tell us that they are making progress on the Iranian nuclear negotiation front, while they are also telling us that they are supporting Maliki against the Saudi supported Sunni rebels? Playing a duplicitous role of handing weapons, intelligence and cash over to Maliki would make the Iranians quite happy, while the Saudi's would feel betrayed following decades of U.S.-Saudi alliance that was, of course, based almost exclusively on the American need for oil. We all remember too that it was also the current United States Secretary of State, jumping on the Russian suggestion that Syria dump all chemical weapons, that shoved Putin to the forefront of the diplomatic world's agenda for that moment, and relegated the Americans to a supporting role.
And then, added to this mess that is much more complicated than a gordion knot, the U.S. is also attempting to negotiate a framework for peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israeli's, adding additional fuel to the fire-pot that Foggy Bottom has become under Kerry. One question: Which Islamic side speaks for the Palestinians in those negotiations? And, then if there is any clear statement on that distinction, how would U.S. negotiators "know" that such a declaration had veracity and reliability?
Over-achievers, unfortunately, are burdened by their own need for approval, which makes them also dependent on their need for success in the manner in which the world measures such things. Attempting to attend professionally, cautiously, prudently and confidently to so many boiling and conflicting pots is beyond any one Secretary of State, no matter how competent he and his deputies are. He is, if not already, then very soon, going to get "played" by his potential enemies, like Putin, whose narcissism is only exceeded, apparently, by that of the U.S. Secretary of State.
Of course, Kerry would argue that he is only doing his job! And the world generates these "opportunities" not the State Department of the U.S. So, building high and impenetrable fire walls between each public statement coming from the mouth of the Secretary of State may convince his Public Relations people that they are "on-top" of the many files that converge on his head. However, they do not ring "true" or credible from the perspective of one looking on from the north shore of Lake Ontario.
This is not only "high stakes poker" on the global stage; it is also foreshadowing a monumental Greek tragedy, of the epic proportions that the world has witnessed when too ambitious men over-reached, carrying the hopes, dreams and security of millions of people like an erupting volcano spewing giant chunks of "ash" into the atmosphere, dashing those hopes, dreams and security.
We used to hear and read of "No Drama Obama" before Kerry landed at Foggy Bottom. Now, we are hearing and reading too many conflicting headlines and storylines that simply do not and will not compute, no matter how large and how technologically advanced in the human and the digital computers that are attempting to keep all these balls in the air simultaneously.
Some one or two of those balls are going to fall tragically and fatally on the head of the Secretary of State, and bring both his term and his ambitions ringing down around his (and our) ears.
And that day will prove sad and irreversible for both the United States and the western world.

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