When you lead from behind there’s a certain part of other people’s anatomy that faces you. And it seems that due to the lack of moral clarity in President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, some influential leaders in the Middle East just gave him a clear gaze of their backsides.
As reported by Fox News, “The White House was scrambling Monday to put a positive face on an upcoming summit of Persian Gulf states after learning leaders from four of the six invited nations are expected to skip. While those nations are still sending representatives to the summit being hosted by President Obama later this week at Camp David, the absence of crucial heads of state — notably, Saudi Arabia’s new king — could present an awkward situation for the administration.
But State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf rejected the notion this was a “snub,” and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest likewise said the administration is “confident” that Saudi Arabia and other nations will be “ably represented” at the summit. Earnest confirmed Monday that Saudi King Salman would no longer attend, noting the king originally had accepted the invitation. But Earnest stressed that Saudi Arabia did not express any concerns to the U.S. before or after the Saudi king’s change in travel plans.”
There are six nations which comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)– Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — of those six, only the leaders of two, Kuwait and Qatar, will attend the summit. Now of course there are the usual excuses, but there once was a time when, if an American president invited leaders to a summit, they came. But when these leaders feel there is a lack of strategic focus, they withdraw, as they feel the same has been done to them.
President Obama has admitted to “pivoting away” from the Middle East and in doing so has allowed the resurgence of Islamic terrorism. The decision in Iraq was politically-driven, completely divorced from reality. And the abject insanity of seeking out a nuclear “deal” with the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, Iran, gives the GCC immense reason for concern. One of those leaders attending the summit, the leader of Qatar, is not someone I wholeheartedly trust — after all Doha, Qatar is home to the leader of Hamas.
But what could be done? First of all, it is necessary to end any dealings with Iran and not ease off sanctions. And I do not submit to the false narrative that the only other alternative is to go to war with Iran. Proposing that we will slow down Iran’s nuclear ambitions for 15 to 20 years is not a viable course of action. It just means some subsequent leaders will have to contend with Iran.
But in the meantime, with the lifting of sanctions, that means billions of dollars in revenue and “spending money” flowing back into the Islamic regime. That means even greater funding to its terrorist proxy armies and groups who will support its regional hegemonic expansion.
Second, we need to make a definitive stand against Islamic terrorism. What these secular Muslim leaders realize is that there is no place for them in a global jihadist caliphate. If anything, they are all about their own self-preservation – but that is a great leverage point.
If we had a lucid strategic design to defeat Islamic jihadism, these leaders would be attending the summit at Camp David. What they do realize is that they don’t have time for more speeches and certainly not photo-ops to make Obama look like the big man – like Dustin Hoffman in his movie, “Little Big Man.”
These leaders have seen the cold shoulder shown to Egypt’s President el-Sisi after the bombing of ISIS positions following the beheading of Coptic Christians. These leaders have seen the Obama doctrine and response after Jordan’s King Abdullah took action, following the savage burning of a Jordanian pilot — they received no fuel and munitions support. These leaders have seen the forthright declaration about a red line in Syria, only to witness the backtracking and eschewing of responsibility since it was the world’s red line.
I know the spin doctors of the Barack Obama fan club will tell us that the absence of the four GCC leaders is about their poor health and it’s not a snub. But one thing cannot be debated, these leaders have no reason to believe in or trust President Obama.
“I think we are looking for some form of security guarantee, given the behavior of Iran in the region, given the rise of the extremist threat,” Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the United States, told the Associated Press. “In the past, we have survived with a gentleman’s agreement with the United States about security. I think today, we need something in writing. We need something institutionalized.”
And that is why, Saudi Arabia gave Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. Central Command, only an hour’s notice they were going to strike Yemen. Saudi Arabia has led airstrikes against Iranian-backed rebels who have toppled the Yemeni government. Yes, I’m glad they’ve stepped up, but consider the reason why they did and how they did — just as Egypt and the UAE chose not to say anything to the United States before they began air operations against Islamic jihadists in Libya.
Fox says, “Jon Alterman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington wonders if there is anything the United States can do that would reassure the Gulf states when it comes to Iranian expansionism. “It seems to me that where they most want reassurance is where the U.S. is both least able and most unwilling to provide it,” he said. “My guess is that the summit is going to leave everybody feeling a little bit unsatisfied.”
The Middle East culture confers respect only for those who exhibit strength and might — trust me, I know, since I sat in meetings with gathered Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq. I remember the words of the senior tribal leader who called for the first meeting and told me through my interpreter, “I have gathered these sheiks, if you want calm in this area, they must see strength and power in your eyes and through your voice.”
In the case of President Barack Obama, these men are not looking for a community to be organized. And it’s hard for anyone to see strength and power if you’re bent over at the waist.
Just remember, this is the type of person we need as the next president of these United States. Not someone who will be dismissed and shown the backs of GCC leaders.