15 March 2016   Leave a comment

Jeffrey Goldberg’s essay on US President Obama’s foreign policy has generated a lot of buzz.  Martin Indyk, a long-time analyst of Middle Eastern affairs, has written a follow-up essay for The Atlantic, raising a central question:  if the US pulls back, who will fill the political and military vacuum?  Indyk points out that the Obama Doctrine did in fact provide an opening for Russia.  But he also points out that from Obama’s perspective:

But for the president himself, all this is a logical, even welcome outcome: If Putin wants to assume the role of restoring order in a chaotic region, let him have at it—Obama is confident Putin too will fail. As for the fragile Syrian ceasefire made possible by U.S.-Russian cooperation, if it holds, the president will be able to reduce one of the most troubling collateral consequences of the Obama doctrine: the suffering of the Syrian people.

We will see if the benefits of a pullback do outweigh the risks.

The Boston Globe has a long article on how US policy in Iraq after the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 led to the rise of Daesh (the Islamic State).  The article is a detailed analysis of the actions taken by Paul Bremer who was essentially the US Viceroy in Iraq, making key decisions to exclude key Iraqi players from having any say in the reconstituted Iraqi government.  It was precisely those disenfranchised Iraqis who ultimately gravitate to Daesh.   The article is a superb summary for those who remain perplexed by how US policy led to such disastrous consequences.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff offered her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a cabinet position to shield him temporarily from corruption charges.   The move reflects great desperation on Rousseff’s part as she tries to avoid impeachment.  Lula is very popular in Brazil, particularly among the poor, and Rousseff hopes that his popularity may deflect the criticisms that have been leveled against her.

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Posted March 15, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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