Unhappy with Obama, Saudi Arabia refuses UN security council seat (Update)

October 19, 2013
"Not happy"

“Not happy”

Oh, they said it was because of the general ineffectiveness of he United Nations in the various crises in the region, but, really, the KSA is ticked off at the Obama administration for its bumbling mishandling of Syria, Iran, Egypt, Iran, and Iran. (You might notice a bit of a focus in the Saudi estimation of their security needs. If you guessed “Iran,” take a cigar from the humidor.) This has Walter Russell Mead rightly concerned, and he helpfully points out the many ways an angry Saudi Arabia could make life miserable for Team Smart Power:

It remains unclear to us whether the Obama administration has for its part thought through the full consequences (1) of a serious rift with the Saudis. It’s possible the administration thinks there is little they can actually do, and it’s also possible that they calculate that the costs of making the Saudis happy are not worth paying (getting tougher on Iran, distancing from the Muslim Brotherhood, and foregoing the ultimate dream of a democratic Arab Middle East).

There are not many signs of order and coherence in US Middle East policy at the moment, so there is at least the possibility that the White House hasn’t really thought through just what the Saudis could do that would make us unhappy. That would be a mistake. The Saudis have a lot of weight in Pakistan and could make things easier or harder for us there. They have a lot of influence particularly among the hard core Islamists and in the nuclear program. It’s worth thinking about what that could mean. Also, as US dependence on Middle East oil decreases, China looms larger as a customer for the Saudis, and there are a number of favors those countries could do for each other that would make life more complicated for American foreign policy.

Consider this a second warning shot from the Saudis, the first being their flirtation with Moscow. As I wrote at the time:

We are witnessing the growing collapse of American influence throughout a region crucial to our security, and our rivals will be sure to pick up the slack. This isn’t just the loss of a few years’ work: this is the crumbling of a geopolitical position that’s taken 70 years to build. And it’s all due to the stunning ineptitude of Barack Obama and the Hundred Acre Wood school of foreign affairs. They are leading us toward a major disaster.

We’re in the best of hands.

There’s more at Via Meadia.

Footnote:
(1) “…thought through…?” The team that couldn’t foresee a need to have an emergency reaction force handy for the consulate in Benghazi, in the middle of an al Qaeda recruiting ground — with the anniversary of 9-11 approaching? Why on Earth would anyone think that?

UPDATE: Slight mistake based on my misreading of Mead’s post. Saudi Arabia didn’t quit the UN Security Council, but the did refuse a seat on it, to almost everyone’s shock. I’ve corrected the subject.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Advertisements

Tweet of the Day, #Obamacare testing train wreck edition

October 19, 2013
"Train wreck"

“I didn’t test the site. I thought you did!”

National Review’s Jim Geraghty catches HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitting in the pages of The Wall Street Journal something she should have known years ago:

This is going to sit well with her boss, don’t you think? After all, the fourth-greatest president ever is always willing to humbly own up to mistakes. He might even recognize the mistake he made in hiring the former Kansas governor and fire her in the spirit of accountability.

Oh, stop laughing.

Besides, as Jim argues elsewhere, why should we want her fired?

If you think Sebelius is a blitheringly incompetent leader and manager, who ignores red flags and who is now requiring underlings to attempt increasingly implausible, desperate spin, and you want to see Obamacare go away . . . why would you want to get rid of her? The next HHS secretary might be better at the job.

As Napoleon once said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.”

Speaking of that “testing issue” Sebelius isn’t the only one to acknowledge a mistake total, catastrophic screw up. Writing in the Washington Examiner, Richard Pollock reports that Sebelius was indeed right when she said they had only a brief time to test the site and its systems. “Brief,” as in 4-6 days before launch:

Federal officials did not permit testing of the Obamacare healthcare.gov website or issue final system requirements until four to six days before its Oct. 1 launch, according to an individual with direct knowledge of the project.

The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the troubled Obamacare website project as suffering from top-level management disarray, changing systems requirements and recurring delays.

The root cause of the problems was a pivotal decision by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to act as systems integrator, the central coordinator for the entire program. Usually this role is reserved for the prime information technology contractor.

As a result, full testing of the site was delayed until four to six days before the fateful Oct. 1 launch of the health care exchanges, the individual said.

Sign Up for the Watchdog newsletter!
Federal officials were “freezing requirements in time to permit full testing at all levels of the site — integration testing, user testing, performance testing and tuning,” the individual said.

“Normally a system this size would need 4-6 months of testing and performance tuning, not 4-6 days,” the individual said.

No, really? When you’re only taking over 16% of the entire US economy?? Surely you jest.

Read the whole article. This is how our $634 million was spent. Obamacare, and all the revelations like this coming out every day, is the greatest selling point for small-government conservatism America has ever seen.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Response

October 19, 2013

This is a great post by AGconservative on why the “defund” strategy against Obamacare was misguided and why some on the Right attacking others on the Right for not supporting it are… not helping. Must reading.

agconservative

Andrew C. McCarthy wrote a response to a Jonah Goldberg post about the shutdown deal today. Let me preface this post by saying that I am generally a fan of McCarthy, and believe he writes a lot of insightful things, especially in the foreign policy arena. With that in mind, his latest post is full of several inaccurate claims and straw man arguments.  Instead of trying to write a response in column form, I would like to address several specific claims made by McCarthy:

1)   “Because, as a matter of law, Obamacare could not proceed unless both congressional chambers agreed to fund it, and because Republicans control the House, House Republicans could deny it funding.”

This claim is made in the post on several occasions and is essentially the premise of the main argument. The problem is that it is completely false. Most of Obamacare was funded in the original…

View original post 792 more words