We are beginning to get a bad feeling about the current unrest in Yemen. Why, because we are starting to hear rumblings from the White House that sound very similar to those that preceded our military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Could President Obama seriously be considering military action in another Middle Eastern country? It is too early to say with any degree of certainty but the warning signs are there.
The latest word from the White House is that Yemen’s embattled president, and current US ally, Ali Abdullah Saleh must go. The political unrest in that country has brought US counterterrorism efforts to a halt thereby allowing an ever increasing number of Al-Qaida fighters to operate more freely inside the country. The White House fears that the end result will be an increase in terrorist attacks on the US and its European allies.
In spite of his campaign promises to the contrary this President continues to follow the path of the Bush doctrine. His criticisms of Bush’s decision to attack Iraq, a country that had not attack us, now sound hollow. His strategy is at best unclear.
The President has tripled the number of US troops in Afghanistan after saying we would withdraw in 2011. He has now extended that timeline to 2014. In truth there is no end in sight. He has taken our war weary nation into the Libyan conflict under the guise of a coalition with NATO; but everyone knows that this is a US military operation. He has stated emphatically that we are in Libya for strictly humanitarian reasons while at the same time saying that Qaddafi must go. He has promised that we would not see American boots the ground in Libya after signing the order authorizing CIA operatives to assist the rebel fighters. Now it appears that he is trying to find a way to remove Saleh from power for national security reasons. Has the President altered his beliefs or is he merely bowing to the political need to move to the middle?
The volatile state of world affairs demands strong and thoughtful leadership from the American President. The people elected Obama in part because they wanted to see a fundamental change in the way the US conducted its foreign policy. Candidate Obama promised that his election would bring that change. After two years under President Obama’s leadership it is hard to detect much of a difference.