Obama’s Strategic Shift

Exclusive: President Obama has belatedly detected the looming catastrophe in Syria and Iraq as Sunni terrorists gain ground. He also grasps the need for Russian and Iranian help. But his administration remains infested with neocons and liberal war hawks who could sabotage the needed deals, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

It’s finally dawning on President Barack Obama the grave dangers that have been created for the American Republic by decades of neoconservative dominance of U.S. foreign policy, but his moves in response to this dire threat remain hesitant and indecisive.

The only game-saving play open to Obama now in response to recent Saudi-backed escalation of Sunni extremism in Syria and Iraq as well the new right-wing racist government in Israel may be to forge an alliance with Iran and Russia as a counterforce in the Middle East that could save Syria’s relatively secular regime and reverse gains by the Islamic State inside Iraq.

President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

That, however, would require Obama finally taking control of his foreign policy and throwing out or at least sidelining many of the neocons and “liberal interventionists” whom he has tolerated and promoted. It’s difficult to see how the likes of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power would fall in line behind the necessary moves to build such a pragmatic alliance.

Power has been a top advocate for “regime change” in Syria, wanting to wage an air war against the government of Bashar al-Assad even if destroying his military would risk opening the gates of Damascus to the Islamic State and/or al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Power has promoted some of the most extreme and dubious propaganda against Assad, such as blaming him for the mysterious sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013.

Despite serious doubts that Assad’s regime had anything to do with the attack, Power along with other “liberal interventionists” and neocons pumped for U.S. military retaliation that would have devastated Assad’s army, which has been the only significant obstacle to victory by Sunni extremists. Power, a foreign policy adviser to Obama since the 2008 campaign, remains an anti-Assad hardliner.

The ever-influential neocons also have long pined for “regime change” in Syria. It was part of their early scheming in support of Israel’s hard-line strategies in the 1990s and though the Syrian goal took a back seat to “regime change” in Iraq in 2003 it was still high on the agenda. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

After the August 2013 sarin attack, the neocons thought their dream of ousting the Assads was finally coming true, so they were bitterly disappointed when President Obama cooperated with Russian President Vladimir Putin in finding a way away from war, getting Assad to surrender his chemical weapons arsenal (while still denying any role in the Aug. 21, 2013 attack).

Putin and Obama also teamed up to get Iran to the negotiating table regarding its nuclear program, thwarting another neocon hope to “bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” and achieve “regime change” in Tehran, too. After those two untimely interventions for peace, Putin rose to the top of the neocon enemies list.

That’s where Secretary Nuland came in, a neocon holdover who had been an adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan, a founder in 1998 of the let’s-invade-Iraq Project for the New American Century. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Family Business of Perpetual War.”]

By late 2013 and early 2014, Nuland was encouraging political disruptions in Ukraine and making plans for a “regime change” on Russia’s border. In early February 2014, she was overheard handpicking Ukraine’s future leaders. “Yats is the guy,” she said about then-opposition figure Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

With the crucial help of western Ukraine’s neo-Nazi militias and other right-wing extremists, the coup ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014, and Nuland’s favorite Yatsenyuk was quickly installed as the new prime minister. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “When Is a Putsch a Putsch.” ]

Demonizing Putin

The Kiev coup provoked Putin into supporting the secession of Crimea, an ethnic Russian stronghold and home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol. Though overwhelmingly popular on the peninsula, Crimea’s decision to secede and rejoin Russia was denounced by the mainstream U.S. media as a “Russian invasion,” despite the fact that Russian troops were already in Crimea under the Sevastopol basing agreement.

When ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, who had voted heavily for Yanukovych, also resisted the new right-wing order in Kiev, they were decried as “terrorists” and became the target of a U.S.-backed military offensive seeking to crush their demands for autonomy or separation. Again, neo-Nazi and other right-wing militias took the lead in slaughtering thousands of ethnic Russians. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine.”]

However, in the U.S. media, influential neocons and liberal interventionists made sure there was an unrelenting barrage of anti-Russian propaganda to keep the American public in line. Putin was elevated into the top tiers of designated demons and even Obama joined in the Putin-bashing.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia were finding common cause in their mutual hatred of Shiite-ruled Iran and its allies. As part of the Sunni regional war against the Shiites, the Saudis and other Gulf states covertly slipped money and other assistance to al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Syria, while Israel developed what amounted to a non-aggression pact with Nusra along the Golan Heights, even launching airstrikes against Lebanese Hezbollah fighters who were helping Assad battle these Sunni extremists.

Obama dared not challenge Official Washington’s conventional wisdom about the need to oust Assad (in favor of the fictional Syrian “moderates”) and punish Putin over Ukraine (through harsh economic sanctions and political isolation). But the situation in Syria and Iraq began to reach a deadly crisis point. In mid-2014, Islamic State fighters spilled into Iraq, routing the U.S.-trained Iraqi army and seizing major cities, including Mosul.

Even as he muffled his voice to avoid offending the dominant neocon narratives, Obama understood how delusional the views of Official Washington were. In August 2014, he confided to New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman that the notion of arming Syrian moderates as an effective fighting force against Assad was “always a fantasy.”

But it was a beloved fantasy in Official Washington. As Saudi and other Gulf sheiks increased support for Syria’s Sunni extremists and those forces began to seize major cities  Washington Post editors and other prominent neocons foisted the blame on Obama for not having imposed “regime change” in Syria earlier, as if destroying Assad’s army would have prevented al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State from crushing the few “moderates” and filling the power void.

In the last few months, al-Qaeda’s Nusra as a lead force in the new Saudi-engineered Sunni coalition called the Army of Conquest has been making big gains inside Syria. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda’s spin-off, the hyper-brutal Islamic State, recently captured Iraq’s Ramadi and on Wednesday overran Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, endangering not only the city’s inhabitants but its ancient ruins.

Belatedly, Obama has roused to the impending threat that these extremists pose not just to the Middle East but to the West. The prospect of the black flag of Sunni terrorism flying over Damascus or even Baghdad could force the United States into a catastrophic decision to reintroduce a large military force into the region, which was initially destabilized by the neocon-driven U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Though such a move by Obama or his successor might be politically unavoidable, the consequences would surely be disastrous, with the chances for a meaningful victory slim to none while further bankrupting and militarizing the United States. The endless war could extinguish the last embers of the American Republic. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Day After Damascus Falls” and “Losing the American Republic.”]

Turning to Putin

These realizations along with the growing recognition that the U.S.-backed Kiev regime is both corrupt and veering further into the fringes of violent ultra-nationalism and neo-Nazism have caused Obama to reconsider some of the Russia-bashing that he opportunistically joined over the past year, including his boast during his State of the Union address that he had helped put Russia’s economy into “tatters.”

The shift in the tide was noticeable when Obama dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to Sochi, Russia, on May 12 to hold face-to-face meetings with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Putin. Kerry’s tone was markedly less hostile than it had been over the previous year. A new sense of grim realism seemed to have taken hold.

“We are obviously in the midst of a challenging time,” Kerry said. “And here in Sochi today, I was privileged to spend many hours with Foreign Minister Lavrov and with President Putin discussing a number of global issues on which both of our countries are very focused. I’m grateful to President Putin for the significant amount of time that he made available to this discussion, for his directness, and for his very detailed explanations of Russia’s position with respect to some of these challenges, and of the ways that he believed that we have an ability to be able to work constructively together in order to resolve these problems.”

The leaders discussed ways to cooperate regarding the Syrian conflict and the Iranian nuclear agreement and stressed the need for a peaceful settlement to the Ukraine crisis along the lines of the Minsk-2 agreement that called for Kiev to negotiate with the ethnic Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine toward a goal of free elections and greater autonomy for the east.

When Kerry was asked about recent statements from Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko about the need to resume fighting around the rebel-held city of Donetsk, Kerry responded: “I have not had a chance I have not read the speech. I haven’t seen any context. I have simply heard about it in the course of today. But if indeed President Poroshenko is advocating an engagement in a forceful effort at this time, we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.”

After Kerry left, however, the talks with Russian officials were turned over to Assistant Secretary Nuland, who is recognized at senior levels of the Obama administration as “an ideologue” who tends to place her neoconservative beliefs ahead of pragmatic diplomatic needs. For instance, earlier this year, she oversaw a maneuver by the Kiev authorities to insert a “poison pill” into the Minsk-2 implementation by insisting that the rebels first surrender.

In her public comments, however, Nuland sounded somewhat chastened by the shift in the Obama administration’s direction. After follow-up meetings in Moscow on May 18, Nuland described the talks as “very pragmatic” and focused on “how we build on the conversation in Sochi, on all of the issues that were discussed between President Putin and Secretary Kerry. The United States’ goal here is to support the full implementation of Minsk. We are doing this in lockstep with our colleagues in the EU, with Germany and France.”

Glorifying Ukrainian Fascists

The extremism of the Kiev regime also has finally begun to wear away the shine that has bedazzled the U.S. mainstream news media since the days of the Maidan uprising in late 2013 and early 2014. After a year or more of denouncing anyone who dared notice the neo-Nazi taint, the U.S. media has been confronted with so much evidence of the problem that it is hard to continue ignoring.

For instance, the Jerusalem Post reported on new legislation, just signed by Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, to glorify some of Ukraine’s Nazi collaborators from World War II. The article by Josh Cohen, a former U.S. Agency for International Development official, noted that the law honors “organizations involved in mass ethnic cleansing during World War Two.

“Two of the groups honored – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) – helped the Nazis carry out the Holocaust while also killing close to 100,000 Polish civilians during World War Two.

“Many OUN leaders were trained in Nazi Germany, and the group’s philosophy was influenced by Nazi racial theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg. OUN literature, for example, declared the need to ‘combat Jews as supporters of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime Death to the Muscovite-Jewish commune! Beat the commune, save Ukraine!’

“The OUN fought both the Nazis and the Soviets, and many Ukrainian nationalists have argued that the OUN was primarily a national liberation movement. But while the OUN’s core goal may have been the creation of an independent Ukrainian state, along the way its members were responsible for terrible atrocities.

“Starting with a pogrom in Lviv shortly after the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, OUN militias – with the support of the Nazis – embarked on a killing spree in Western Ukraine that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Jews. After the Nazis dissolved these militias, many of their members joined the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in German service, where they received weapons-training and became one of the most important instruments of the Holocaust in Belarus and Western Ukraine.”

Cohen continued: “More recently, radical nationalists played a key role as ‘shock troops’ on the Maidan, and the anti-government camp was full of OUN-UPA flags and cries of ‘Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!’ – chants that originated with the OUN. Currently, a number of OUN-UPA apologists occupy important government positions, including the minister of education, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine and the director of the Ukrainian government’s Institute of National Memory. Even Poroshenko has gotten into the act, laying a wreath in honor of the OUN at Babi Yar last year.”

Another element of the new law honoring these Nazi collaborators was a provision outlawing any criticism of these now protected groups. That raised alarms from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has supported the Kiev regime in its face-off with Moscow.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović noted that the law, signed by Poroshenko on May 15, criminalizes expressions of disrespect for these groups and criminalizes public denial of the legitimacy of their fight for Ukrainian independence.

“The media is a vital element of a healthy democracy and its role should be respected at all times,” Mijatović said. “Contested information and potentially problematic speech should not be banned, on the contrary, it should be addressed through an open debate. Disproportionate restrictions on media freedom can never be justified in a democratic state and Ukraine’s significant progress in this area should be preserved, not undermined.”

So, as the Kiev regime remains burdened with internal corruption and a collapsing economy and continues veering toward the extreme right Nuland’s “regime change” adventure of 2014 looks harder and harder to defend, even within the mainstream U.S. media. Besides getting thousands of people killed and creating even worse suffering for Ukraine, there is less and less for Nuland and the neocons to point to as justification for all the blood and heartache.

Now, with Obama finally recognizing that he needs Putin’s help if a catastrophe of the first order is to be averted in Syria and Iraq, the cause of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism no longer can remain a top priority of the U.S. government.

Still, by leaving so many ideologues both neocons and liberal interventionists inside his administration, Obama is taking the risk that his belated bid to avert a Mideast disaster could still be sabotaged by underlings who don’t share his goals.

In comments to reporters on May 18, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov made reference to these problems, noting that “our partners” usually a reference to American officials “show commitment to the Minsk Agreements only in speeches, while, in fact, they are trying to twist things. Given what I said about trying to interpret the Minsk Agreements in a perverse manner, the process will not be easy.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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38 comments for “Obama’s Strategic Shift

  1. Ricky
    May 21, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Mr Parry is doing what we all do……………speculate!

    • Vivek Jain
      May 23, 2015 at 12:40 am

      Robert Parry suffers from what Paul Street has termed Obamaphelia. Six years in, Parry is still in denial about Obama’s deep, sincere, and uncoerced commitment to the right wing agenda. Why is it psychologically and emotionally necessary for Parry to dismiss reality and fervently, desperately promote the lie that Obama is a decent man, that Obama has been outmaneuvered by “neocons”? Neocons come in Imperial Black.

      • Rob
        May 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm

        Totally agree. This is Mr. Parry’s biggest weakness. Everyone has them. Many people exhibit this one re. Obama. They have some desire to see him as good but forced into doing bad things by the evil people, even though Obama has final say over any decision he makes, and showed himself to be completely lacking in morals before he was ever president, during his campaigning. A group of African American women who met with him early on emerged from the meeting and one concluded that Obama has “no moral center”. Well, if he does, it’s right of center.

    • Otton Bexaron
      May 30, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Long-range… Repeat: Long- range across this century – the USA is determined to dismember Russia, and especially install “Associated States” (like Micronesia, Palau, Marshalls) in Eastern and Northern Siberia. The issues in the Near East are only tactical problems for which “collateral damage” is being calculated – including inside the USA. The Muslim extremist tendency is useful for long-range “convincing” the Europeans, Russia, India and China to play the American global security “leadership” game…

  2. Chris Wells
    May 21, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    If you want regime change then you have to live with the consequences

  3. Abe
    May 21, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Many too many neocon and liberal interventionist ideologues were deliberately left in place and even actively recruited by the Obama administration.

    Nuland would have been immediately fired and possibly prosecuted for compromising American foreign policy were her “regime change” adventure of 2014 not wholly in alignment with Obama’s true goals, or the goals he has been assigned by his actual employers.

  4. Stefan
    May 21, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    In my opinion, in-order to not chase our tails, we must view ISIS / Al Qaeda / Al Nusra / Jihadis in Syria and Iraq as NOT A BUG of US (and Israeli policy) foreign policy – but a WELL PLANNED FEATURE.

    • Zachary Smith
      May 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      …a WELL PLANNED FEATURE

      I fear that I agree.

      Consortium News has had quite a procession of authors writing about Obama having good instincts, but not being permitted to use his essentially good sense. I’ve disputed that view in the past, and see no reason to change it now.

      When ISIS burst into Iraq a year or so ago, the Iraqi Army didn’t put up much resistance. Why was that? So far as I can determine, it was VERY badly equipped. Add to that how *somebody* appears to have bribed many crucial officers to be the first to run, leaving their troops totally in the lurch. These poorly supplied men were on the receiving end of a corrupt logistics supply line. And most importantly of all, the US of A had managed to ensure that Iraq had no air force whatever. With zero air support, and an oncoming hoard of barbarians known to decapitate captives, the only sane thing to do was to run for your life, and so they did.

      The Iraqis went into a mad scramble looking for airplanes. Iran sent back some old Su25s. More were purchased from the Russians. And FINALLY the US delivered 30 F-16s plus 6 more training aircraft. A bit of googling told me that Iraq has a smaller air force than Belgium, Norway, or Venezuela. Tiny little Singapore has five times as many fighters. IMO this isn’t any kind of accident.

      At the present time Iraq is again trying to buy aircraft from the Russians. News reports have spoken about how US air attacks against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq have been both few and strangely ineffective. My conclusion is that *somebody* is working very hard to ensure that ISIS takes over both Iraq and Syria.

      On to the Ukraine. Because of my general ignorance, I’m at the mercy of bloggers who appear to know what they’re talking about. A long essay at The Saker was impressive on that account alone.

      One Miserably Failed State

      If I have not misunderstood the author, he claims that the Russians have built the army of the “Rebels” into a first-class fighting force “clearly excessive for the defense of the controlled territories.”

      That’s because the Russians have concluded that the US of A is behaving like a drunken rogue elephant, and mere diplomacy means nothing to the people running US foreign policy. The US is pushing the Ukrainians into another attack on the “Rebels”; an invasion both sides know is doomed to failure. Spreading chaos in eastern Europe is that important to the Empire. So the link author predicts the Russians are going to cooperate with the inevitable – to take over most of the Ukraine.

      Is he right? Don’t ask me, but if I was a Russian strategist I’d rather occupy the Ukraine now than to face the inevitable installation of advanced NATO weaponry there in a very few years.

      In case anybody missed it, some Chinese troops marched with the Russians in the recent WW2 Victory Parade. And the Chinese President was there to watch them.

      The Obama Administration isn’t just messing with Russia. The “Pivot To Asia” business was aimed squarely at China. One wonders if it’s a coincidence that the new (barely disguised) Japanese aircraft carrier was started in the same year as this “pivot” was announced. Encouraging Japan to rearm with offensive weapons is about the best way of alarming China I can imagine, and that’s exactly what the geniuses in DC have been doing. One of many responses by China has been to build a bunch of artificial islands on reefs in the South China Sea. What the Chinese are doing with these islands probably isn’t very kosher in legal terms, but they make a lot of sense in other ways. If they can declare most of the surrounding ocean area Chinese waters, that would be a buffer zone against both the US and Japan. It would also provide a safe haven for Chinese missile submarines. IMO they beginning to agree with the Russians in expecting a fighting war to break out.

      China is also engaging in joint naval exercises with the Russians in the Mediterranean. Like with the troops in the Moscow parade, it’s a “first”.

      I have a pessimistic streak, and these days it’s telling me that the neocons are pushing for war. Possibly a nuclear war. The Russians seem to be resigned to such a conflict, and I’m worried that things are going to get ugly in the near future.

      Sure hope I’m wrong.

      • DanielOsazuwa
        May 22, 2015 at 3:17 am

        The problem I have with the U.S. Foreign policy of late is the zero knowledge of world history. Probably they don’t give a damn about any blow-back in pursuing their Empire goal.

        Asad definitely is a tyrant but hell will be let loose without Asad. We all can see what is going on in Iraq and Libya where they have succeeded in regime change. The Iraqis and Libyans are having a night mare whenever they think about the situation they were in before the American and European lead regime change. It will be foolhardy for anybody to think that Iraq or Libya will EVER have any semblance of normalcy for a very very long time to come. NEVER !!!

        I pity the Ukranians. They will soonest be abandoned to their fate by the Americans and Europeans. American do not have any long staying power. New interest always pops up for their world dominance agenda which invariably is downsizing their power. Hence the Gulf States Despots could decide not to honor a POTUS summit invitation. The American are like kids seeing a new toy. The old one will be abandoned for the new.

        • Brad Owen
          May 22, 2015 at 8:28 am

          ‘Assad is a tyrant, but hell will be let loose without Assad’.

          I agree, and this “one-liner” reminds of something I’ve been thinking on, lately. I’m beginning to suspect that looking at, the Sunni-Shiite conflict, maybe even the Arab-Israeli conflict, is looking at the wrong “Dividing Line” in the Mid-East maelstrom. What seems at play is a “Modernizing/Secularizing/Developing Movement” VS. a Tradition-Holding Movement” that discourages, or mitigates against, modernization, secularization, and development. Syria and Iraq were where the Baathist Party took hold, which wanted, in its’ own way, to pursue the “M.S.D.” movement. Khaddafi was the same thing in Libya. Mosedigh (spelled wrong?) in Iran, overthrown by CIA, for some hoary old idea of a Shah/Emperor, who fell to BOTH, an “M.S.D.” movement AND a traditionalist Shiite movement (the Trads prevailed…for now). Our hostility ensured the Traditionalists won out (and perhaps BY DESIGN). Egypt was the scene for Nasserism; an “M.S.D.” movement. I’ve read where the Muslim Brotherhood was a creation of British Intelligence in the 1920’s, SPECIFICALLY to BLUNT any move towards “M.S.D.” (this was back in the days when they had a direct, active interest in “Maintaining Empire” (for City-of-London) (we Americans, or more accurately, WallStreeters, carry that water for them, these days). The Egyptian Army threw The Brotherhood out on their ears, and is now turning to BRICS and doggedly pursuing “M.S.D.” Kemel Attaturk of Turkey delivered the Turks from the depravities of Empire, into the modern, Age of Republics; he was THEIR “M.S.D.” movement. They’re experiencing “Traditionalist” backlash now. I am reminded of Moynihans’ statement of “benign neglect” for Africa and the Mid-East, preserving this area as a source of raw materials & resources, primarily for European Society, denying any substantial “M.S.D.” for them. In other words, THIS is just one more battleground in the on-going, global, War between The (Ancient) Empire and The (Modern) Republic; between The Oligarchs and We The People.
          As for Assad’s Tyrant status, even our President would be cast in the role of Dictator if he was constantly facing a guerilla war against millions of “right-wing, christian militias” funded by foreign intelligence agencies…and ordinary Americans would be GRATEFUL, for his “Strong Presidency”.

      • May 22, 2015 at 3:29 am

        Interestingly enough, the Spratly (Nansha) Islands in South China Sea – note it isn’t call the South US Sea – were discovered by the Chinese around 2000BC. Since that time, right up to the present, there has been a Chinese connection. See timeline here: http://www.spratlys.org/history/spratly-islands-history-timeline.htm

        • dahoit
          May 22, 2015 at 10:34 am

          Aint it a hoot?Like the Chinese are not allowed a sphere of influence,and we think our sphere is the whole world.
          Nuland,is an ideologue just like her Israeli assistant defense minister compatriot pos with a pretty face,which Nuland covets.(like they covet everything)

    • Abbybwood
      May 22, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      Actually, according to these previously classified documents, ISIS has been a long range part of U. S. foreign policy and Hillary Clinton is up to her eyeballs in this:

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41943.htm

      I hope The New York Times and The Washington Post and Rep. Trey Gowdy jump into this foreign policy/intelligence disaster.

      No wonder Mrs. Clinton is avoiding the press. What a coward.

  5. Ames Gilbert
    May 21, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    I’ll believe Obama has had a change of heart when he fires all the neocons which, as you say, infest his administration. And I’d advise Putin to do the same. But the problem is, Obama is a neocon at heart himself, so I don’t expect any substantive change there. But, since we’re playing “lets pretend”, let’s assume that he makes the changes. That still leaves Obama personally as the president without a vision, without courage, surrounded by yes-men and -women, and completely untrustworthy. How is that going to help the situation? How could Putin, or any other world leader for that matter, trust Obama and the U.S.A.? It would be at best risky, and more probably very detrimental to Russian interests. The U.S. has lost all credibility as a genuine partner for peace anywhere in the world, but especially in the Middle East. What would it take to regain that credibility? A generation of genuine engagement and reversal of the full-spectrum dominance policy by several presidents in a row. That’s not going to happen, and it certainly can’t be accomplished in the time remaining to Obama.
    And now back to reality: he’s incapable of acting and won’t act. In the time he has left, maybe some more sweet words from his admittedly gifted speech writers, but in practice business as usual. More goodies for the warmongers and banksters, lining up his post-presidential speech schedule and donations to his library, and bumbling incompetence at home and abroad.

    • Gregory Kruse
      May 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Regain that credibility as a partner for peace? Really?

  6. craig
    May 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    What Robert Parry doesn’t understand is Obama is the liberal interventionist/neocon Parry still thinks isn’t or ever was, and that his heart is that of some sort of a liberal peacenik. His foreign policy from the start, indeed before he announced in 2007, was to the right of Bush, when as Senator Obama he attacked Bush in July ’07 in a major policy speech for being too soft on Pakistan, complaining Bush was not bombing Pakistan enough. THAT is the real Barack Obama idiot liberals never thought he was, but always has been.

    Suggest Parry and all liberals do a little research on Obama’s early years accompanying his mother around the world while she worked in American embassies for well-known CIA front operation USAID in Commie hotspots from Jakarta to Islamabad. Young “Barry Soetero”, as his passport then read, was learning The Company’s ways at his mother’s knee. And he isn’t going to enlist the aid of Russia now to save the situation in Syria and Iraq either; his policies regarding Russia have from the start been a straight continuation of Bush’s Bzrezinskian plan to encircle Russia with offensive US military and NATO bases and wage war with Russia if necessary to change that regime into one that would grovel at the US’ feet. Putin knows that if Parry doesn’t. It was Obama whose people on the ground installed the antisemitic fascist blackshirts now terrorizing Ukraine in order to wrest Ukraine out of its historic Russian hegemony. Obama is a mess, not a solution.

    • Zachary Smith
      May 21, 2015 at 11:53 pm

      His foreign policy from the start, indeed before he announced in 2007, was to the right of Bush…

      This is entirely correct, so how you justify the quite inaccurate term of “liberal” throughout your post mystifies me.

      BHO is a right-wing Republican posing as a “liberal”. I’ve read his hero is Ronald Reagan, a man who remains the worst president in my lifetime.

      Hillary is even worse than Obama in being a “stealth” liberal. The woman began as a Goldwater Republican, and has moved considerably to the right since then.

      I don’t really understand Obots except for knowing they’re delusional idiots. Same as were the Bushbots.

      As an aside, all the Bushbot family members have finally gone silent on that little idiot. Back in the day I really did believe they’d stick with him to the end. But “quiet” is good!

      • dahoit
        May 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

        Liberals are for liberty,these clowns are neoliberals,for repression,Israel and Wall Street,which of course is Israel’s muscle,as its wishes are sacrosanct.
        Obomba says it all.

  7. F. G. Sanford
    May 21, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    I’m very grateful that Mr. Parry continues to chip away the facade behind which the administration continues to hide. As he points out, Mr. Kerry was summoned to Sochi in order to receive a stern lecture in the Principal’s office. His accomplice, Ms. Nuland, also received a stiff reprimand, and was told in no uncertain terms to mind her smart mouth. Mr. Kerry and Ms. Nuland have been informed that their overflight and transportation privileges to Afghanistan through Russian Federation territory have been revoked until their behavior improves. In a recent address to the Russian people, Mr. Putin laid out, in no uncertain terms, the relationship between the Bush administration, the Saudi Intelligence services under Bandar (“Bush”) bin Sultan, and Chechen terrorist organizations such as those that took nearly a thousand hostages at Beslan. Mr. Soros, the front man for numerous destabilization operations including recent attempts in the Balkans, revealed to the world in Munich his thoroughly delusional and Orwellian vision for Ukraine – apparently, he believes it’s a model of democracy that just “hasn’t yet produced results”. Mr. Soros hasn’t been to the Principal’s office yet, but that won’t matter. Germany has decided that further bailouts for the thoroughly corrupt, dysfunctional and rapidly collapsing Yatsenyuk/Poroschenko criminal enterprise will not be forthcoming. As a result, the speculative investments he made in crooked bonds engineered by American expat Natalie Jaresko and Yatsenyuk’s crony banking swindlers will not pay off. (IMF and ECB money goes directly into the pockets of debtors and speculative investors, NOT to the host nation’s economy.) Having attempted the same stunt in Macedonia, Ms. Nuland’s NGO and ‘color revolution’ lackeys have been identified, called out and publicly shamed. Soros will no doubt lose money there, too. The American public has absolutely no idea that any of this is going on. Mr. Netanyahu recently met with Hanky Panky Banky Moon, head of the U.N. At that meeting, Bibi outlined plans for extermination of Lebanese citizens using the rationalization that Hezbollah is embedded in the civilian population. Meanwhile, Bibi’s command and control center embedded in downtown Tel Aviv, and the recent discovery of the Meron memos has left him with little defense against war crimes accusations. Plotting aggressive war is still a war crime. Who knows? The ultimate solution to all this may be U.N. protectorate status for Israel with concomitant loss of its national sovereignty. That seems more likely than the fantasy of a “two state solution”. I bet Putin would support that plan, and so would China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Malaysia, Argentina, Venezuela…

    • Abe
      May 22, 2015 at 12:40 am

      On April 26 Russia’s main national TV station, Rossiya 1, featured President Vladimir Putin in a documentary to the Russian people on the events of the recent period including the annexation of Crimea, the US coup d’etat in Ukraine, and the general state of relations with the United States and the EU. His words were frank. And in the middle of his remarks the Russian former KGB chief dropped a political bombshell that was known by Russian intelligence two decades ago.

      Putin stated bluntly that in his view the West would only be content in having a Russia weak, suffering and begging from the West, something clearly the Russian character is not disposed to. Then a short way into his remarks, the Russian President stated for the first time publicly something that Russian intelligence has known for almost two decades but kept silent until now, most probably in hopes of an era of better normalized Russia-US relations.

      Putin stated that the terror in Chechnya and in the Russian Caucasus in the early 1990’s was actively backed by the CIA and western Intelligence services to deliberately weaken Russia. He noted that the Russian FSB foreign intelligence had documentation of the US covert role without giving details.

      What if Putin is Telling the Truth?
      By F. William Engdahl
      http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/15/what-if-putin-is-telling-the-truth/

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      As usual you didn’t miss a beat there F.G., thanks again. Between Robert Parry and yourself: the whole story is told…

  8. May 22, 2015 at 3:41 am

    When evaluating what Mr. Obama is doing in the Mideast and Eurasia, I have read no discussion of the factors that: [i] Obama learned his geopolics from National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski; [ii] Obama still consults with Brzezinski frequently; and [iii] Brzezinski (and Henry Kissinger and McGeorge Bundy) are in the lineage of the so-called “classic realist” school of international relations that follows the dubiious “geopolitics” pseudo-science tracing back to geographer Sir Halford John Mackinder in the early 20th Century, as modified during World War II by American Nicholas J. Spykman.

    The classic realist school still remains a puzz-oozing, festering infection in the intelligence of post-World War II U.S. foreign policy. I won’t slow down to explain why here. But its offspring include the Cold War’s so-called “containment policy,” the Korean “police action,” the Viet Nam War, and continuing through the recent U.S. adventure in Ukraine.

    (If you want an overview, see my article here, [ http://relativelyfreepress.blogspot.com/2015/03/us-russia-and-ukraine-heartland.html ], which links, inter alia, to a U.S. Army War College paper that handily debunks the underlying concepts and has lots of citations.)

    I will further condense what you need to know here: classic realism bears scant relationship to reality. Instead, it is far more like The Emperor’s New Clothes, a sort of imaginary wisdom dispensed by charlatans who have managed to worm their way into the halls of power and choreograph their performance to the theme of comedian W. C. Fields’ famous quip, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

    But geopolitics is, in the final analysis, founded on ancient racist geographic determinism tropes created to justify empirical ambitions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_determinism

    The truly scary parts are that: [i] this lunacy is what has guided U.S. foreign policy since World War II; and [ii] through idiocy, political cowardice, or both, no U.S. president since this nonsense began in the immediate wake of World War II has cast the classic realists out of their positions of government influence.

    So as I see it, Barack Obama is either a racist fool, a political coward, or both. Regardless, he is unfit for high public office.

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 22, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks for the links Paul, I’ll read them. Where does Richard Holbrooke fall in all of this? I always admired him.

  9. Brendan
    May 22, 2015 at 4:30 am

    In the Dances With Bears blog, John Helmer also detects a shift in American attitudes towards Russia and he notes John Kerry’s more friendly and cooperative words on his recent trip to Russia:
    “the war memorial here in Sochi [is] where more than 4,000 of the millions of courageous then-Soviets who died in World War II are buried. And it’s a very beautiful memorial and I was very moved by the young children who were there taking part in the ceremony. And I think Sergey and I both came away from this ceremony with a very powerful reminder of the sacrifices that we shared to bring about a safer world, and of what our nations can accomplish when our peoples are working together towards the same goal.”

    That’s a change from the usual “Russian aggression” rhetoric and Kerry’s accusation last year that senior Russians had lied to him.

    For some reason, German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be shifting in the opposite direction. At a press conference, standing right next to Vladimir Putin, she spoke of the “criminal” annexation of Crimea. When Germans think of criminal acts by governments they often think of the Nazi regime. Yet, she said that just one day after the seventieth anniversary of the World War 2 victory celebration in Moscow which she snubbed.

    Helmer also sees Nuland as being more isolated than before and even being sent to Kiev “to tell the smaller boys what the new US line is” .

    The reason for this is that probably because Ukraine is turning into a disaster zone, not just politically but economicaly. It’s facing almost certain default on its debts, much of it to western creditors, in the next couple of months. Maybe the US government has finally realised that it needs Russian help to stop Ukraine from getting completely out of control, like the Arab countries where it intervened to implement regime change.
    http://johnhelmer.net/?p=13387

  10. Brendan
    May 22, 2015 at 4:32 am

    http://johnhelmer.net/?p=13387
    In the Dances With Bears blog, John Helmer also detects a shift in American attitudes towards Russia and he notes John Kerry’s more friendly and cooperative words on his recent trip to Russia:
    “the war memorial here in Sochi [is] where more than 4,000 of the millions of courageous then-Soviets who died in World War II are buried. And it’s a very beautiful memorial and I was very moved by the young children who were there taking part in the ceremony. And I think Sergey and I both came away from this ceremony with a very powerful reminder of the sacrifices that we shared to bring about a safer world, and of what our nations can accomplish when our peoples are working together towards the same goal.”

    That’s a change from the usual “Russian aggression” rhetoric and Kerry’s accusation last year that senior Russians had lied to him.

    For some reason, German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be shifting in the opposite direction. At a press conference, standing right next to Vladimir Putin, she spoke of the “criminal” annexation of Crimea. When Germans think of criminal acts by governments they often think of the Nazi regime. Yet, she said that just one day after the seventieth anniversary of the World War 2 victory celebration in Moscow which she snubbed.

    Helmer also sees Nuland as being more isolated than before and even being sent to Kiev “to tell the smaller boys what the new US line is” .

    The reason for this is that probably because Ukraine is turning into a disaster zone, not just politically but economicaly. It’s facing almost certain default on its debts, much of it to western creditors, in the next couple of months. Maybe the US government has finally realised that it needs Russian help to stop Ukraine from getting completely out of control, like the Arab countries where it intervened to implement regime change.

    • dahoit
      May 22, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Merkel is an anti-Commie ideologue CIA asset. Germany suffers under her leadership.

  11. Brendan
    May 22, 2015 at 5:46 am

    “the Jerusalem Post reported on new legislation, just signed by Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, to glorify some of Ukraine’s Nazi collaborators from World War II.”

    Poroshenko appears to be under pressure to change that law which not only glorifies Ukrainian WW2 Nazis but also criminalises any public criticism of their ‘struggle’:
    “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has promised Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski that he will push for changes to the law he signed last week that, among other things, declares the members of the OUN-UPA national organizations as fighters for Ukraine’s independence. ”

    Law No. 2538-1, passed by parliament on 9 April 2015:
    “On the legal status and honor the memory of fighters for Ukraine’s independence in the twentieth century”

    “Article 1. Legal status of fighters for Ukraine’s independence
    A fighter for the independence of Ukraine in the XX century [is]recognized [as] the person who participated in all forms of political, armed and other collective and individual struggle for independence of Ukraine in the XX century as a part of government, organizations, institutions and groups:

    c) Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN);

    i) the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA);

    Public denial of the legitimacy of the struggle for independence of Ukraine in the twentieth century [is] recognized [as] insult to the memory of fighters for independence of Ukraine in the XX century, disparagement of the Ukrainian people and is unlawful. “

  12. Peter Loeb
    May 22, 2015 at 6:09 am

    WORLD ANALYSIS—- 5 / 22/ 2015

    Robert Parry’s incisive article, “Obama’s Strategic Shift”, and many of the
    comments represent major contributions to all of our analytical tools.

    (Whether deserving or not, comments pack greater punch without
    pejorative nicknames for those in power. Pay them respect by title
    and then tear their policies/actions to shreds is a more effective strategy.)

    With deepest appreciation to all.

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • dahoit
      May 22, 2015 at 10:52 am

      You say Oboma,I say Obomba,what’s the diff?He’s not worthy of my respect,if he was,I wouldn’t use the term.

  13. Peter Loeb
    May 22, 2015 at 6:41 am

    THE POWERFUL LOVE TO BE LOVED

    This observation is not at all “profound”. It is hardly conceivable
    that the Barack Obama Administration will shift any of its basic
    center/right leaning strategies. It will not cut off Israeli extremism
    which now has become virtually decisive in most US foreign
    policy. Washington will not rid itself of those who have done
    it harm. There may or may not be a realization that the US
    has itself dug itself into a deep hole. It will be unable to get out.

    There is an election in progress in the US as there always
    seems to be. As always financial resources are key issues
    for every politician and every party. One must dispense
    with any myths that the current Administration will suddenly
    oppose the powerful Israeli lobby, the weapons lobby and
    the illusion of world hegemony so integral to the United
    States personality over hundreds of years (reflecting similar
    brutal settler colonization views over many millenia).

    Almost but not entirely lacking in most analyses is a complete
    picture of the importance of the East. There is no mention
    of the Shanghai Cooperative Organization (“SCO”) despite
    the seeming joy in blaming China for all ills which is
    apparently so attractive to all US politicians.(The US must
    be “supreme” and “WIN” over China etc.)

    US Presidential political discussions invariably involve an
    Administration’s “legacy”. This Administration’s “legacy”
    will not be a seismic “shift” from past policies needed as
    such a shift may be. Instead, any “legacy” in future years
    will be of a nation which has sunk, caved in to its ill-
    intentioned so-called “friends”, and its complicity in
    its control of its foreign policy. On a domestic scene,
    this Administration will continue to play savior to traditional
    constituent groups of the Democratic party and continue
    to be blocked by political opponents (examples are statements
    on immigration reform, or the promise of universal
    health care which ended up profiting the private US
    health corporate complex, to name only a few.) One
    will be able to say meekly that “it could have been worse.”

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  14. Drew Hunkins
    May 22, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Excellent piece Mr. Parry. Everything in a nutshell.

  15. Anonymous
    May 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

    U.S. Intelligence Predicted: U.S. Support For Rebels in Syria Would Lead To Fall of Ramadi

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/05/us-intelligence-predicted-us-support-for-rebels-in-syria-would-lead-to-fall-of-ramadi.html

    Sadly this is all according to plan. The US government has been aware of the probable outcome of continued support of Rebels in Syria since 2012. After 3 years of continued support the only thing you can conclude is that this is their desired outcome.

  16. Abe
    May 22, 2015 at 11:04 am

    If someone had the impression that the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry to the town of Sochi, followed by negotiations with Victoria Nuland, his deputy in Moscow, could be regarded as first steps in the direction of normalization of US-Russian relations, they would be deeply mistaken. In short, Washington, particularly the Obama administration, is trying to solve its problems at the expense or rather with the help of Russia, to ensure the victory of Hillary Clinton in the upcoming elections. However, the United States continues to apply pressure on Russia, using a variety of different strategies.

    […] the latest maneuvers of American diplomacy – is nothing but a smokescreen designed to hide the true intentions of the Obama administration. Washington’s strategic goal remains the same – to weaken Russia by all means necessary and break it apart from those countries which are engaged in cooperation with Moscow. Therefore there’s no trusting US promises or even reaching deals with them. All this smooth-talking is a mere trap in the hope that Russian pro-Western liberals might convince President Putin that the White House is sincere. But US think tanks have missed one thing – “Ukrainian lessons” have not been lost on the Kremlin.

    US has Launched a New Assault Against Russia
    By Petr Lvov
    http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/22/us-has-launched-a-new-assault-against-russia-2/

  17. Joe L.
    May 22, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    For me, I look at what is happening in the Middle East which has been exponentially enflamed by the US, and the west, along with Ukraine and multiple coups/interventions all around the world and I come to the conclusion:

    US Leadership = Wars, death, and suffering for the world (Empire)

    So my belief is that the world needs to dramatically shift away from the US and this is already underway. I think this can only be achieved if there are alternatives to the US dominated economic system of the world – IMF, World Bank, SWIFT etc. My feeling is that things like the BRICS Development Bank (among alternate systems to SWIFT etc.) will diminish US power, US hegemony and I believe that the US would love nothing better then to break-up the BRICS countries which represent 42% of the world’s population, I believe. I think that demonizing Russia over Ukraine, kind of smoke and mirrors away from the fact this was a US-backed coup, and then making the rounds to India, China etc. to try and get those countries to shun Russia was also an attempt to break-up the BRICS.

    For me, I just want to live in a world where large powers learn to live with one another regardless of political systems etc. and they do not bully smaller countries or start wars with smaller countries to get what they want. A multipolar world, where I hope we will see the end of Empire, is what I am hoping for.

  18. Bill Jones
    May 22, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    An afternoon on google will give you a list of some thousands of barking mad necons that every sane government on the planet should deny landing rights to.
    That Barry has so many embedded in his regime tells you everything you need to know about his real owners

  19. May 23, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    The Neocons in Obama’s administration and his advisors may be from Mars or anywhere, and they may have any kind of outlandish opinions and biasis, but they merely advise the Commander in Chief who is, as Geo. Bush so beautifully put it “the deciderator!!”

    The Buck not only stops at his place at the table, it has never left his place at the table. He is not required to take bad advice in which he does not concur. This is accountability!

  20. Arius
    May 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    This supposed US strategic shift in a fake, done all too many times before by the US. The US Deep State is an implacable enemy of the peaceful rise of greater Asia. The US will continue to pour gasoline on the raging fires it abets in the Middle East and further east.

Comments are closed.