Thursday, September 13, 2012

Obama's Amateur Hour continues

During the GOP Convention, Condoleeza Rice took the stage and delivered a powerful speech in which foreign policy was the major theme. I talked about it previously, noting how it signaled the possibility of an end the the amateurish approach of the President to foreign policy as Rice smartly rebuilt a bride with Poland Obama had ignorantly burned:
In one simple statement, Rice exposes the amateurism of the Obama Administration, curries favor with a Nation and a people, and reaffirms the commitment--real commitment--the United States has to its true allies. A simple glance at the various stories on Rice's speech indicates how little this is understood by the typical journalist, as well. But make no mistake, it made an impact. I can hear Hillary Clinton wincing--or is she squeeing with joy--from hear.
And the end to this amateur hour of Obama's--when it comes to foreign policy--can't come quickly enough, since Obama has once again stepped in it, following the attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt, Libya, and now Yemen. Apart from the willingness of embassy officials to issue sweeping statements on their own under Obama's reign--in defiance of established protocol--we now have the incredibly stupid comments from the President wherein he essentially says that Egypt is not a U.S. ally:
I don't think we would consider them an ally. But we don't consider them an enemy. They are a new government that's trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to respond to this incident, how they respond to maintaining the peace treaty with Israel.
This is just so unbelievably stupid, it's difficult to fully process. Obama--now President for nearly four years--says he doesn't think we would consider Egypt an ally. Pardon? There's nothing to think about (I can hear Hillary Clinton wincing again in the background)! Allies of the United States are not just chosen willy-nilly by whomever is in the Oval Office; they're not subject to change on a whim. There are two groups of nations who are allies of the United State, as a matter of official policy. How the hell can Obama not know this? But I digress. Those two groups are: 1) the member-nations of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and 2) Nations designated as Major Non-NATO Allies (MNNAs) by the U.S. Government.

Currently, there are 28 member-nations of NATO, including the United States. All of these countries--as a matter of definition--are allies with each other. When it comes to MNNAs, there are currently 15 nations so designated. As such, each and every one is an ally of the United States, again as a matter of definition. There's no thinking or consideration necessary, when it comes to the relationship of the United States with any of these 42 nations. Each one is an ally, end of story.

Whether or not such alliances are all good ideas is a very different question. The point is, Obama's statement betrays his ignorance on this matter. And that's actually pretty sad, given that Obama, himself, gave another nation MNNA status--thereby declaring it an ally--not all that long ago (July of this year):
To that point, the U.S. State Department announced Saturday that President Barack Obama had signed a determination designating Afghanistan a "major non-NATO ally," a status accorded to a limited number of countries such as Israel, Egypt, Australia and Pakistan.  
The designation allows Afghanistan certain benefits, making it eligible to participate in a broader range of U.S. military training programs and giving it priority for receiving surplus U.S. military hardware. That status follows the conclusion of a strategic partnership agreement signed by Messrs. Obama and Karzai in Kabul on May 2.
This all begs the question: does Obama consider Australia an ally? Japan? South Korea? Israel? Well, probably not with regard to the last...

Cheers, all.


  1. But Egypt under the MB rule is not a US ally. The MB had announced war on US about two years ago (we even had a thread about this at AW). Just a week or so ago Egypt refused US request to inspect an Iranian ship that was supposedly carrying weapons to the Assad regime (and did so despite their support for the rebels). I am not sure Obama should have voice this, but it is the reality.

    P.S. The Israeli/Egyptian treaty is over in all but name. The gas pipeline that was supplying about 25% of Israeli natural gas was bombem about 20 times sine the revlution and never came back on-line. About a month ago Egypt brought tanks into Sinai (after salafists killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, stole an armored personnel carrier and tried to breach the Israeli border). This is in complete violation of the treaty. They removed the tanks only under US pressure (though some say it happened they reached an agreement with the salafists).

  2. Egypt still retains MNNA status. There's no way around that. Stating publicly that Egypt wasn't an ally was six-ways stupid and/or ignorant.

    And note the message: Egypt under Mubarak="strong" ally, Egypt under new democratic government (that we supported)=no ally.

    Amateur hour.


  3. I agree that the way he voiced it was a bad move, but they better be reexamining the relationship, or they are even more clueless than I thnk

  4. Nice piece by Barry Rubin. His theory seems very plausible, imo

  5. US "ally" in all its glory