My career in the Foreign Service began when Jimmy "Wear a Sweater" Carter was President; the Shah sat on the Peacock Throne; the Soviets and their Cuban servants were all over Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean; our economy was in the sewer; our cities drug and race-fueled combat zones; our military, a hollowed out racially divided horror; and CIA and State, under appalling leadership, could do nothing right internationally. And things only got worse: the Shah fell to the Muslim crazies; the Soviets invaded Afghanistan; Communism, Socialism, and Liberation were on the march around the world. The bon pensant knew the future belonged to the Soviets and the Japanese, while we sat in the dark, shivering in our cardigan sweaters, suffering "malaise," and praying Moloch would eat us last.
Since those dark "Carter on Mars" days, thanks to Ronald Reagan, with his optimism and ability to see through mainstream cant, our country underwent a massive social, economic, and political renovation that showcased an unmatched American ability to regroup, reinvent, and implement. Our economy came roaring back; our military reaffirmed its unequaled status; the Soviets, unable to compete with the American economy and technical wizardry, came crashing down; and mighty ten-foot-tall Japan could not match the United States for innovation and the ability to put it to work at a dazzling speed. Even Bill Clinton learned not to fix a working model; he went along with GOP efforts to reform welfare, and poured money into sustaining and expanding the world's best special forces--as the Taliban and al Qaeda soon discovered. The confused waning days of the Bush administration, alas, pried opened the Gates of Hell once more; the inept McCain campaign couldn't close them, allowing the malevolent Obama misadministration to escape the Depths, and take over the White House--immediately making us nostalgic for Carter. We are in crisis mode, again.
This and a subsequent posting will focus on the disaster that is Obama's foreign policy, a policy of defeat. In its defense, let me say that to call it a policy designed for America's defeat gives it too much credit. My experience at State and the NSC, has shown me that most Obamaistas are not knowledgable enough to design anything. Foreign policy for the Obama crew is an afterthought. They really have little interest in it; many key jobs went vacant for months at State, DOD, CIA, and the NSC. The Obama foreign policy team is peopled by the "well-educated," i.e., they have college degrees, and as befits the "well educated" in today's America, they are stunningly ignorant and arrogant leftists, but mostly just idiots. They do not make plans; they tend to fly by the seat of their pants using a deeply ingrained anti-US default setting for navigation. They react to the Beltway crowd of NGOs, "activists" of various stripes, NPR, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Relying on what they "know," they ensure the US does not appear as a bully, or an interventionist when it comes to our enemies: after all, we did something to make them not like us. Long-term US allies, e.g., Canada, UK, Israel, Japan, Honduras, Colombia, on the other hand, they view as anti-poor, anti-Third World, and retrograde Cold Warriors. Why else would somebody befriend the US? Obama's NSC and State are staffed with people who do not know the history of the United States, and, simply, do not understand or appreciate the importance of the United States in and to the world. They are embarrassed by and, above all, do not like the United States. They look down on the average American, and openly detest any GOP Congressman or Congresswoman, especially Representative Ros-Lehtinen and Senator DeMint, who dares question their wisdom. They have no problem with anti-American regimes and personages because overwhelmingly they are anti-American themselves (Note: I exempt Hillary Clinton from the anti-American tag; she is just ignorant--more on that in my next posting).
Our foreign policy is not made in any real sense. It slithers out from this foggy fetid leftist primeval mire and "evolves" into the weird amorphous "policy" we now have. It is guided by The Anointed One's long-standing Triple AAA motto: Apologize. Appease. Accommodate. There is no understanding of the relationship between military power and diplomacy, between expending the blood and treasure of America and our interests. For the Obamaistas the topics of burning interest tend to be those far removed from the core national interests of the United States, e.g., treatment of prostitutes in Sri Lanka, gay rights around the world, the status of women in Africa, beating up the inconsequential junta in Burma, helping overthrow U.S. ally Mubarak, but doing nothing about the Iran-Venezuela alliance, the imprisonment of an American AID contractor in Cuba, the growing anti-Americanism spreading throughout Latin America, the disintegration of the few remaining moderate Muslim states, and on and on. This leftist, anti-American disease is contagious. Just look at the recent statements by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, once a moderate middle of the road politician, now spouting rubbish about needing "international permission" to deploy US military power, undermining over two centuries of US defense doctrine, not to mention the Constitution.
The career Foreign Service is hapless. Many of the FSOs, especially the young ones, come from the same "educational" background as the political Obama types. Many have strong sympathies for the Obama view of the world because it is easy, it requires less work--thinking is hard. It is best to come up with long carefully nuanced memos regurgitating the most conventional of conventional left-of-center "wisdom," so that the powers above do not get displeased. Deny a problem exists, then you do not have to do anything about it, "He is just an agricultural reformer . . .".
This post serves as my introduction to a subsequent one, in which I will look at Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State. That will not be a pretty exercise.