The name Ben Rhodes might be familiar to some of you. He’s Obama’s deputy national security adviser (qualifications: an MFA in writing). He famous for two things. First, he was initially denied a security clearance by the FBI because he had uncomfortably close ties to the Iranian regime. That minor problem was tidied up by the Obama White House. Rhodes was the moving force behind convincing Obama to turn Egypt over the the Muslim Brotherhood. Then he went on to launch one of the few calculated propaganda campaigns ever directed by a president at his own nation. This involved Rhodes using a small but influential circle of journalists who were sympathetic to Obama to deliberately spread false information about the terms and conditions of the Iran nuclear deal.
Now Rhodes has branched out into criticism of Trump.
The President repeatedly lying is devastating to US credibility around world. If people can't believe what US gov is saying how can we lead? https://t.co/NoYdc2a0JZ
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) March 7, 2017
Sort of a shocking statement coming from the mouthpiece of an administration that had no credibility and believed in “leading from behind.”
Rhodes’s own estrangement from truth and decency aside, he was in an administration that publicly said that credibility was really overrated. This from the Washington Post in an article headlined Obama’s revolt against the foreign-policy establishment.
Much of Goldberg’s article revolves around Obama’s decision not to attack Syria in 2013, in spite of evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against its people — crossing the president’s previously stated “red line.” According to the establishment view, Obama’s failure to follow through on his threat signaled weakness and dealt a blow to U.S. credibility. Even though Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ultimately surrendered his stockpile of chemical weapons, in a deal brokered by Russia, many establishment figures still insist that Obama should have gone to war.
This “credibility addiction,” as Stephen Walt has called it, is so powerful that Obama’s critics on this front include former members of his own national security team — including his would-be successor, Hillary Clinton. “Once the commander in chief draws that red line,” argued former CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta, “then I think the credibility of the commander in chief and this nation is at stake if he doesn’t enforce it.” Goldberg reports that after Obama decided not to bomb Syria, Clinton said privately, “If you say you’re going to strike, you have to strike. There’s no choice.”
For Obama, however, averting military action in Syria is a point of pride — and the credibility argument is an object of derision. “Obama generally believes that the Washington foreign-policy establishment, which he secretly disdains, makes a fetish of ‘credibility’ — particularly the sort of credibility purchased with force,” Goldberg writes. Indeed, as the president has reportedly told aides, “Dropping bombs on someone to prove that you’re willing to drop bombs on someone is just about the worst reason to use force.”
Of course, one of the reasons we didn’t worry about the Syrian “red line” was because the Syrians are an Iranian client and Rhodes’s mission in the White House was to increase Iranian power and influence.
In that same article we see this:
And while Obama hasn’t outright rejected the deeply entrenched establishment view that the United States is an “indispensable nation,” he has voiced frustration with “free riders” — or countries that expect the United States to police the world without contributing their “fair share.”
In fact, the Obama fellatistos in Rhodes’s personal harem leapt to defend the idea that credibility was optional. Take this collection of headlines from Obama’s personal dumpster of bodily fluids, Vox.com.
Remember, Obama was the guy who dared Eric Cantor to call his bluff.
Even though I think Obama and Rhodes were full of crap when they were peddling the “credibility doesn’t matter” stuff, Rhodes is not only the most inappropriate messenger in the history of the universe to carry the message he putting out today because anyone with a brain knows he doesn’t mean what he said, he’s simply carrying out an attack on Trump in his self-proclaimed role of leading the “resistance.” (As an aside, both of those NSC officials who “quit” the NSC rather than work — you know, the ferret-faced CIA guy and the chick with the do-rag — for Trump were associates and proteges of Rhodes.) The other point, of course, is that Trump talking smack about how f***ed up Obama was in regards to his panty-waisted war on terror effort doesn’t hurt American credibility at all. The time is coming, however, and not far off, when Trump is going to be tested and then we’ll see if the credibility argument holds water.