The latest propaganda bomb, manufactured by Charlie Rose and company, dropped by President Barack Obama’s first National Security Adviser.
Some people will approve of what they hear, but James Jones sounds more like a Neocon than the moderate voice he was billed as upon entry. His notion that Obama has personally defined current U.S. policy - especially through his inaugural address, Cairo speech and Nobel acceptance - is rendered all the more absurd by ignoring a wide backlash against U.S. policies in the Arab world. Much of what Obama “decides” is formulated by a vast apparatus of former Clinton and Bush officials, and some of their decisions are running into pitfalls.
Foreign governments and peoples do seek American leadership across the globe, but this leadership must yield a positive and balanced influence. Jones is also speaking for a selective group of foreign powers: Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, Japan, Australia.
Jones’ verbal barrage against Pakistan symbolizes Washington’s long-standing tendency to block out its own faults. Because a large segment of the American public feels the same way about Pakistanis as Pakistanis feel about the U.S. government, U.S. officials and media are free to slander Islamabad’s leadership at will. A defense of Pakistan’s general strategic mindset in the region is based on this inequality. We realize that Islamabad is playing a dangerous game with militant proxies, but the Afghan Taliban poses no strategic threat and America’s relationship is no less of a “Russian roulette.”
Everything is Pakistan’s fault, according to Jones. Pakistan has missed too “many opportunities” granted by Washington. Its leadership hasn’t taken advantage of U.S. and Indian aid to fix its ailing economy. Jones barely addresses NATO’s raid, instead taking the commonly-held position that Islamabad should “do more,” and lays Afghanistan’s blame on Islamabad. This reaction foreshadows Washington’s script when U.S. troops to being to withdraw in greater numbers: America would have “won” if not for Pakistan.
Jones frequently references the 2006 peace agreement made between Islamabad and militants as Afghanistan’s “turning point,” along with the time of his own “awakening.” He concludes that Pakistani policy “isn’t based on logic” and that Islamabad is “hellbent on self-destruction,” without reflecting on America’s own policy. In repeatedly basing his perspective around 2006, Jones conjures a general who deployed to Vietnam in the early 1960s, not realizing that he was stepping into hundreds of years of organized resistance. Pakistani leadership has certainly made counterproductive strategic decisions, but U.S. leadership has committed many errors under its own volition.
Whether in 2001, 2005 or 2011, U.S. and NATO troops make enemies with their own hands.
America continues to commit too many mistakes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other hotspots around the world, particularly the meltdown of U.S. policy in Yemen - which Jones clearly approves of when lauding Washington’s “streamlined” counter-terrorism with foreign governments. Situations like Yemen demonstrate how much chaos Washington is willing to create in order to preserve influence (à la Pakistan), but when pushed to find holes within U.S. foreign policy, the former National Security Adviser responds with a valid but diversionary answer of “energy security.”
Jones claims that Obama is fully conscious of his administration’s errors, when both of their actions suggest the opposite.