As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A look at all the great foreign policy victories of the Bush era

Let's start in the Sudan, where 3 years after the eruption of violence, with hundreds of thousands dead and millions in refugee camps, the President is "readying" a plan for Darfur.

Speaking to reporters at the White House after meeting with his special envoy to Sudan, Andrew S. Natsios, Bush said his administration is working on a proposal that he hopes will stop the bloodshed in the region. The conflict has claimed as many as 450,000 lives and displaced 2 million people since 2003.

"The United States is going to work with the international community to come up with a single plan on how to address this issue and save lives," Bush said. "And Andrew is going to work with other partners in peace, and they'll take that plan to the current government of Sudan."

Yeah, get right on that, will you? I mean, we need to use the world's bully pulpit here and force our way into the situation to save lives. We have no problem being the bully anywhere else.

Further into the Horn of Africa, there is a terror warning due to the Islamist state that set up shop on this President's watch:

The US has issued a warning to its citizens in the Horn of Africa about the threat of suicide attacks from Somali extremists.

The US embassy in Nairobi said public landmarks in Kenya and Ethiopia could be targets for suicide bombers.

The alert follows the collapse of peace talks between rival factions in Somalia vying for control of the country.

Somalia became an Islamic state within the last year because we were completely inattentive to the deteriorating situation there, indeed funding the warlords who were oppressing the people while the Islamic Courts bought loyalty through social programs. We backed the wrong side and now we have a failed state which could easily be harboring Al Qaeda and is threatening the region and US interests with terror attacks.

But that's not all. Turns out the Cedar Revolution could be going to hell:

The White House said today that there was “mounting evidence” that Iran and Syria are involved in a plot to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora of Lebanon, but senior officials refused to describe in any detail the intelligence they said they had collected.

In an unusual statement, the White House said it was “increasingly concerned by mounting evidence that the Syrian and Iranian governments, Hezbollah and their Lebanese allies are preparing plans to topple Lebanon’s democratically elected government.”

American officials who were pressed today about the assertion on Lebanon said they had evidence that Syria and Iran were trying to engineer the creation of a new “unity” government that they could control, partly through the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. One senior American official, who did not want to be identified because he was discussing an intelligence issue, said there were also indications of “planning for a more violent” attack on the government, but he gave no details.

But I thought Hezbollah was so broken by the summer war with Israel that they were "utterly defeated," to use the President's words. It couldn't be that they gained national stature through the conflict, and strengthened their hold on the southern part of the country by, again, buying loyalty through reconstruction payouts? It couldn't be that they are now more popular than the central government because they give the perception of having fought back against the Israelis? Could it be? Could it?

By creating a mess in Iraq that empowered Iran, we allowed Hezbollah to get more and more influential, and now they could potentially take over the Lebanese government. The hits just keep on coming!

And meanwhile, even when we "go on the offense" these days, we end up with little to show for it.

Pakistani forces using helicopter gunships killed around 80 alleged militants today in a pre-dawn attack on a religious school near the Afghan border in a tribal area notorious for its al-Qaida sympathies.
The madrasa in Chenagai village in the Bajaur tribal area was a "terrorist training camp" run by a pro-Taliban cleric who had been warned to close it down, the military spokesman General Shaukat Sultan said.

Between 80 and 100 men aged between 20 and 30 were inside the building when the first rockets struck at 5am (midnight GMT). No women or children were present, he said.

But reporters at the scene said that several children, one as young as seven, were pulled from the rubble. Distraught locals collected the remains of the victims in fertiliser bags, while others took part in angry street protests in nearby villages.

That doesn't quite tell the whole story. The US launched the missile, and Ayman al-Zawahiri was the target. Clearly this was an attempt by the White House to make news instead of being controlled by events, which is fine. But they missed. And the claims that all 80 casualties were militants is contradicted by other reports that only 2-5 were terrorists. Steven D, who follows Pakistan closely, seems about right here:

To the extent Musharraf may have been trying to come to a separate peace with Pakistan's militant Islamists, that now appears to have been swept aside in the wake of this tragedy. This may have been the goal of the US, to drive a wedge between Musharraf and the militants, but if it was, it's a poor strategy. Musharraf's regime is shaky enough. This attack and the resultant slaughter will likely result in a hardening of the Islamist militants' attitudes toward negotiating a deal with the dictator, and will make it all the more likely that future coup attempts, or even a full blown revolt against the regime may come to fruition.

Considering Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, and its ballistic missile systems, that isn't an outcome that would bode well for our national security. Nuclear tipped missiles in the hands of a regime which fully and openly supports the Taliban, Al Qaeda and jihad against the West would be a disaster. Despite the odious nature of the Musharraf regime, he isn't ever likely to provide nuclear weapons to terrorist groups. The same can not be said about those who might assume power after he is deposed.

And we end our journey in Tehran, where this insanity is likely to be all the news tomorrow:

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”

Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.

Yeah, you read that right. Hoping to capitalize on the "Army of Davids" the US government made public all of these documents, hoping that some Cheeto-eating pajamahadeen would find the ultimate connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, or Saddam and WMD, that would take them off the hook. But it turns out, probably because they didn't bother to translate the damn documents before tossing them online, that THEY GAVE AWAY NUCLEAR SECRETS to literally anyone who wanted them. I can't wait until some idiot on the right goes "This means Saddam HAD nuclear weapons!" Yeah, and now so does the rest of the world. Anyway, the nuclear plans predated Gulf War I, so they're nothing we didn't already know.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed your journey around the globe, a mini-tour of the aftermath of the biggest clusterfuck in foreign policy maybe in the history of the world. I'm sure there'll be a lot of Congressional Medals of Freedom to give out because of this stuff!

And we should be scared of the DEMOCRAT'S approach to foreign policy? Sheesh...

UPDATE: The answer to the question of how long it'd take for some dumbass on the right to say "See, this means Saddan DID have nukes!" would be five minutes.