Tag Archives: John Kerry

Why The Obama Doctrine Failed

Film review of The Final Year (2018)

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 31 January 2018

The Final Year, a new documentary film directed by Greg Barker, tracks the closing stages of the administration of President Barack Obama in 2016. Senior officials are followed and interviewed, and the White House is watched as it tries to react to daily events. Much of the substance contained in the film was knowable in real time, but it is very useful to have these officials on record—on video, no less—explaining the assumptions and thought processes they were operating with as they made decisions that led to a series of such intense disasters around the world. This is especially interesting since the ripple effects from these catastrophes ultimately set the conditions for the election of Donald Trump and dismantling of much of the Obama legacy. Continue reading

The Gulf States Push Back Against Obama’s Iran Policy

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 12, 2015

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President Obama invited the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to a meeting at Camp David on Thursday to clear the air as the President looks to finalize his nuclear deal with Iran. But on Sunday, Saudi King Salman said he was not attending, and soon after the Bahraini monarch followed. The only Gulf leaders in attendance will be the Emirs of Qatar and Kuwait. Since leaders do not just have other things to do when they are scheduled for a private meeting with the President of the United States, this can be taken as a pointed snub to President Obama, and no amount of administration spin about Salman’s absence having nothing to do with political substance will change that. Continue reading

Book Review: The Consequences of Syria (2014) by Lee Smith

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 9, 2015

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Lee Smith’s The Consequences of Syria is part of the Hoover Institution’s “The Great Unravelling” series, which also included The Struggle for Mastery in the Fertile Crescent by the late Fouad Ajami (which I reviewed here.) You can purchase a copy here.

Published in June 2014, Smith narrates Syria’s terrible war to the opening months of 2014, the innumerable excuses made by the Obama administration for letting it run, and the theoretical framework behind the administration’s decision. The book is relatively short and the prose is direct; it takes very complex discussions of ideas and puts them in easily-digestible terms—all while keeping the reader’s eye on the practical implications.

Smith starts with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the central event in President Obama’s thinking about the Middle East. Continue reading

HAMAS Is Responsible For The War In Gaza But Israel Has Blundered With This Invasion

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 28, 2014

Rocket damage doesn't only happen in Gaza: Home demolished in Eshkol Regional Council, southern Israel

Rocket damage doesn’t only happen in Gaza: Home demolished in Eshkol Regional Council, southern Israel

To clear a few things up. Whether or not HAMAS’ central command ordered the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens is largely irrelevant: the real trigger for this round of fighting was the escalation in HAMAS’ rocket attacks—more than 450 since January and nearly 100 on the day before Operation PROTECTIVE EDGE began—and HAMAS’ construction of tunnels into Israel designed to enable further atrocities against her civilians.

All rhetoric about the cruel, arbitrary Israeli blockade that would not even allow in cement to the people of Gaza who needed it to create jobs and to reconstruct their schoolrooms and homes is now overthrown and we see the truth: what little cement did get into Gaza was siphoned off by a tyrannical and aggressive elite to build tunnels to murder civilians and bunkers to protect themselves and their weapons. More than that, they used child labour that killed 160 children to construct these tunnels. HAMAS might well have miscalculated, as some have said—it might have intended only for a minor set of Israeli strikes to rally the “resistance”—but that only underlines the recklessness and wickedness of the organization. HAMAS knows it cannot win this war so they intend to get as many Gazans as possible killed to mobilize global political pressure against Jerusalem for concessions on the blockade—that HAMAS can then use to reequip for another war in its never-ending quest to destroy the Jewish State.

The key aspect of this war that has gotten nothing like the attention it deserves is Clerical Iran. Continue reading

Syria, Chemical Weapons, and the Kremlin’s Defeat of Obama

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 11, 2014

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That Barack Obama’s indecision on Syria is final there has been no doubt for some time. But it is worse than that. When the subject comes up in the Situation Room, President Obama could be found “disengaged …, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.” Continue reading