Limits to U.S. power
clear in Egypt, Syria
and with Snowden
Thousands march across the October Bridge as violent clashes spread through Cairo on Saturday. Click to enlarge.
FOR THOSE WHO CAN connect the dots, three front-page stories this week demonstrate the limits to U.S. power on the world stage.
Edward Snowden. Egypt. Syria.
All front page news; and in all cases, America is in a quandary: what – if anything – can and should it do?
In a page one story in the national edition of The New York Times on Saturday, the headline says it all: “Egypt Crisis Finds Washington Largely Ambivalent and Aloof”
Peter Baker writes: “While the violence [in Egypt] distressed American leaders, the unspoken truth is that many of them are at least conflicted and in some cases not all that unhappy about the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.”
VIDEO LINK BELOW THE FOLD
A car burns Friday night as clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohamed Morsi intensified.
THE ARTICLE CONTINUES LATER: “Whatever role the administration is playing behind the scenes, its public reticence has suggested its discomfort with choosing sides.”
Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and their cronies at the Project for the New American Century must be having a fit!
“[The Project] will … strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America’s role in the world,” Kristol, the chairman, says on the web site.
For “involvement,” in the paragraph above, read “intervention.”
Just look how far that got us in Iraq and Afghanistan – and these people have paid no price whatsoever for those fiascoes that cost U.S. taxpayers trillions of dollars.
WATCH VIDEO of clashes in Egypt here
Then there is the affair of Edward Snowden, the “most wanted” man in America (or, more aptly, NOT in America) today.
Charged with espionage for publicly releasing classified information that the U.S. government is spying on everyone every day and everywhere, Snowden’s epic global odyssey has been consistently on the front page of all major newspapers for about a week.
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela announces an offer of asylum for Edward Snowden on Saturday.
After he reportedly fled from Hong Kong to Moscow, he simply vanished. Rumors have been circulating widely, first that he boarded a plane to Cuba (his seat was empty); then that he was holed up in the transit area of Moscow Airport; and then he apparently asked Vladimir Putin for asylum in Russia.
Who knows what really happened? I don’t.
All I know is that he has been on the run since the U.S. government charged him with spying under the 1917 Espionage Act.
All he did was make public sensitive information about America’s international spying operations – it’s just like the old Mad Magazine comic strip Spy vs. Spy.
The BBC reported early on Saturday that the list of countries offering to grant refuge to Snowden was increasing rapidly. In the story Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua offer Snowden asylum we learn that the presidents of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia have indicated their countries could offer political asylum to Snowden.
President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua announces an offer of asylum for Edward Snowden on Saturday.
“Mr. Snowden has sent requests for political asylum to at least 21 countries, most of which have turned down his request. Earlier, Wikileaks said he had applied to six additional countries on Friday,” the BBC reports.
It seems that America’s enemies are taking delight at giving a one-finger salute to the U.S. government. And Obama’s crack national security team can do nothing (is doing nothing?) about it.
Finally, the disastrous civil war raging in Syria poses another dilemma for the White House and the U.S.
If America intervenes, the end result may certainly not be in its best interests if a radical Islamic regime comes to power. If the U.S. sits aside, it will be accused – like in Rwanda – of watching as a genocide unfolds.
In a June 13 White House briefing on Syria policy, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said the Administration believes it has sufficient evidence that chemical weapons have been used.
“First of all, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year,” Rhodes said.
“[The president] has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has.”
What policy change was announced?
“…the Assad regime should know that its actions have already led us to increase both the scope and scale of the assistance that we’re providing to the opposition, including direct support to the SMC, the military option on the ground. And we will continue to increase these efforts going forward.”
So now America is arming a rag-tag resistance led largely by Islamic militants.
We haven’t even begun to assess the fallout from Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is quite clear that the world’s sole superpower is not so super after all.
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