With Thursday's tragic mass killing by a resclusive, truck-driving Tunisian maniac in Nice having been violently drowned out by the frentic late Friday news of a failed (and perhaps staged) coup in Turkey, the news cycle has once again shifted its attention away from a far greater threat to the global economy than whether Erdogan can concentrate even more power in his grasp. Namely, both lone-wolf and organized terrorism in Europe (and elsewhere). And according to at least one CIA field commander, Gary Bernsten, it is all Obama's fault.
As the Hill reports, the decorated former CIA career officer who served in the Directorate of Operations between October 1982 and June 2005, said on Friday that Obama has lost control of the Middle East following attacks in France that left at least 84 dead. "This is going to get very, very ugly," Gary Bernsten said on Fox & Friends Friday.
"The president of the United States, as Newt Gingrich has stated, has failed in his responsibilities to defend the United States. He has lost control of the Middle East. It is in flames, and that is what he will leave when he leaves office." One can also make the argument that it is not so much Obama, as his first secretary of state, the person who in less than 4 months may be America's next president.
We wonder what Bernsten would add after last night's even more disturbing events in Turkey. As we just witnessed over the past 24 hours, the Middle East is indeed in flames, and what's worse, the US has zero control. As Ali Watkins reported overnight, US officials were caught completely off guard by Friday's attempted Turkish coup.
The State Department scrambled to alert citizens in Turkey, urging them to shelter in place and check in with family members in the U.S. The White House said President Obama had spoken with Secretary of State John Kerry, and both urged “all parties” in Turkey to support the democratically elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and “avoid violence or bloodshed,” but the statement avoided using the word “coup.”
Across Washington, it was clear that responses were purely reactionary — it took more than two hours after first reports emerged of the violence for the White House to make any public statement. In the hours immediately following the attempted overthrow, officials across the White House, State Department and Pentagon simply said they were monitoring as the situation unfolded. If the U.S. was indeed blindsided by the attempted overthrow Friday afternoon, it will have to take a long, hard look at why such a consequential event — with a NATO ally, no less— took them by such surprise.
As of Friday night, the attempted coup had “no impact” on the U.S.’s military operations in the country, a U.S. official told BuzzFeed News. “[U.S.] air ops have continued from Incirlik. Literally birds in the sky.”
As of Saturday morning, however, things are very different.
Ironically, this time Obama lucked out on a major change in the geopolitical arena (perhaps because the entire coup attempt was staged or simply because it was very disorganized); but what happens when this - or another- key US ally and NATO member undergoes a military coup. Will the US once again have no response? As of this moment, the CIA officer's assessment is absolutely spot on.
Former CIA Gary Bernsten: President Obama has failed in his responsibilities to defend the United States.https://t.co/z1ULLuLFUl
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) July 15, 2016
He had some parting thoughts about "eliminating" the ISIS threat: "We can take care of these ISIS thugs in about a month." One still wonders why that hasn't happened...
thrilled 2 be back- stunned I left a terror in Turkey & came back 2 another in France we need 2 lead a world counterattack @foxandfriends
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) July 15, 2016