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Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Foreign Policy Mess, and Yes, Obama Built It

Thanks to the indispensable Instapundit I read an interesting article by David Francis in the "Fiscal Times," on "Why Obama’s Foreign Policy Process Is Broken." I recommend that the six or so readers of this humble blog read Francis's article. There certainly is nothing in it with which I disagree, not much, anyhow. He does an excellent job of succinctly laying out what has happened: The US, under Obama, is reduced to reacting to events; under Bush, the world had to react to the United States. That is a neat observation. It is almost always better to be the driver and not some helpless passenger.

As stated above I do not disagree with much in the Francis analysis of the Obamista foreign policy fiasco. I, however, would note Francis states that the Obama team's,
[L]ack of preparedness has been apparent in recent weeks. The White House took a hands-off approach to the Libyan conflict. It failed to act quickly after reports of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It allowed Edward Snowden to escape from Hong Kong to Moscow, keeping the NSA leaker in the news for weeks. And it’s dithering on its long-term plans for Afghanistan.
I would argue that the "lack of preparedness" has been apparent since the start of this misadministration's coming to power. Those six readers might recall that on March 16 I wrote (emphasis added for dramatic effect),
[T]he 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.
The chaos we see throughout the world results from the Obama misadministration's lack of preparedness and manifest incompetence from the start. Or does it? Either that or we are left with a much darker possibility: This misadministration deliberately has sought to undermine the power and influence of the United States throughout the world. Increasingly I am of the view that there is a noxious mix of both tendencies, or that we have two-sides of the same coin. I might have been wrong when I stated in the March 16 excerpt above that, "to call it a policy designed for America's defeat gives it too much credit." I am reluctantly coming to conclude that the Obamistas do not prepare, and do name inept National Security Advisors and ignorant Secretaries of State and Ambassadors precisely because it fits in with their world view, to wit, that all would be better with a less active, less effective, less influential United States. They want a post-American world.

Make no mistake about it. The economic and political turmoil we see in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and increasingly in Latin America (I will post about that in more detail) provides a glimpse of how a post-American world would look. Bush and his foreign policy team were not perfect and made mistakes. When Bush spoke, however, leaders and people around the world knew he was serious. You ignored or defied the American President at your peril. Those leaders might not always have liked what Bush said or demanded, but they certainly did not laugh him off. From personal experience I know that when I would go see a senior foreign official on a sensitive topic and said, "The United States asks for your help on this and President Bush would be grateful" that meant something, in fact, it meant a lot. It was very heartening to see the sort of help we got on a range of issues.

Our stupid leftists at home and in Europe referred to Bush as a "cowboy." Nope. They had their Western character wrong. He was the sheriff, and when the sheriff asks you to join his posse to nail the bad guys, well you have a choice. Bush made clear what that choice was, "You are either with us or you are against us." The Bush administration put together some amazing coalitions. This misadministration has thrown that all away. 

It will take years to repair the damage, if it can be repaired.

WLA

18 comments:

  1. Of course it could be both evil and incompetent. All an evil and sufficiently Machiavellian manager has to do to destroy an organization is appoint a few stupid and incompetent people to key positions and stand back, the destruction will take care of it self. See "Injelitis: by C. Northcote Parkinson, then do it on purpose.

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  2. I agree with you completely. Evil AND Incompetent. The media wants to talk about how American is ridiculed and insulted by other countries over the Edward Snowden fiasco. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of America. I AM, however, horribly embarrassed and ashamed of this misadministration (to borrow your word). Can't wait till this era passes and we can get back to being America. Can't happen soon enough for me. As a matter of fact, anybody got any ideas how to come to a full stop and reverse course?

    Remember Benghazi! . . . and DHS, and HSA, and TSA, and . . .well, you know. . .

    LibertyGrace'sGrandma

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  3. Liberals here have for decades been salivating to see a US globally weakened. Remember when an unnuanced Reagan made the girlie boys at the NYT's, in Hollywood, on campuses and probably the State Dept - all beta male havens - swoon when he called the USSR an "evil Empire".

    What short attention span liberal twits never grasp is how awful a tribal world looks like when the world's last Good Cop is weakened. The vacuum is lethal.

    Lessons are never learned by some people.

    Penny

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  4. Whether they do it by application or neglect, or a combination of both they are still fools.

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  5. Matt, the seventh readerJuly 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I have long been pleased with myself for perceiving Obama and his lot as being unfriendly to the USA at best, and overtly hostile to it at worst. The first thing that struck me about Obama was that he projected a sense of weakness that reminded me of Clinton. I could not envision foreign (or domestic) enemies really fearing him. Perhaps this weakness partly explains his hostility to our allies and his sycophantic overtures to our foes; he knows that he cannot deal with his counterparts from a position of strength because he lacks the resolve to follow through with force when it is called for. Instead, he insults and belittles those who are in no position to respond in kind.

    Sadly, I think some of the damage that the Obominable Showman and his crew have wrought might be irreversible. I want my son to grow up in the country that I love but now it will be hard even explain what made the USA so deserving of our love and admiration.

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  6. The second-worst US President ever (Jimmy Carter, for those with short memories) seemed to have the same kind of approach to international affairs that Soetero has now perfected. Yet even Carter's lapdog US media could not help making him look weak in his response to the Iranian Act of War in seizing the US Embassy & personnel in Teheran.

    Then Ronald Reagan was elected -- and things changed overnight. Literally overnight, with the release of the "hostages", as the media liked to call those PoWs.

    Question is -- could that same reversal in perception happen again, if the US ever gets a real President? Or has the rot now gone too far, and no-one will ever take a US Administration seriously again nuless/until the US wins another war the old-fashioned way?

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  7. You can lead an idiot to knowledge but you can't make him think.

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  8. Here he is back in O8, I believe, reading "The Post American World." No I suppose we will get to see how well the book predicted the reality.

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://bsimmons.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/att03855.jpg&imgrefurl=http://bsimmons.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/what-does-obama-read/&h=416&w=500&sz=32&tbnid=MzW5zYmmRSBHfM:&tbnh=92&tbnw=111&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dobama%2Breading%2Bthe%2Bpost%2Bamerican%2Bworld%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=obama+reading+the+post+american+world&usg=__4_dkcfQWceTVnQYLU0cnFWSryq4=&docid=iFRMh40hPVZ1pM&sa=X&ei=Z53fUb7PKaaRiALAmoDwCw&ved=0CFUQ9QEwBg&dur=138

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  9. "Either that or we are left with a much darker possibility: This misadministration deliberately has sought to undermine the power and influence of the United States throughout the world. "

    You may already have read it, but, if not, you might want to have a look at Charles Krauthammer's prescient essay, "Decline is a choice," at The Weekly Standard: http://goo.gl/hpEL0

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  10. I would add a healthy dose of "All I want is the perks of the job, the adulation, the holding open of doors for me and the parting of traffic when I pass through. And lots and lots of money coming in for the rest of my life, all for giving speeches now and again talking about how great i am. I and my people will do the easy stuff to stir up support--Trayvon Martin case, and the stuff my people can do out of sight--NSA, Fast and Furious. But I don't want to deal with the hard stuff--international relations."

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  11. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 04, 2013

    OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY: INEPTNESS OR TREASON?
    I disagree with the opinion that the seemingly abysmal results of the foreign policy of Obama and his administration are caused by ineptness and incoherence.

    I conclude that the results are the desired goals of Obama based on two things:
    (1) the consistency of the results, and
    (2) the consistency of Obama's appointments and long-time personal friends and alliances.
    In my opinion, if Obama and his administration were merely incompetent, then the results would be mixed.

    They are not mixed.

    (1) In every instant, the results have aided islamists of the AKP-ilk; that is to say islamists who are disposed to expand the breadth and depth of islamist control and the re-establishment of a caliphate - ("islamist hegemony", to use a term with less baggage) - via creeping sharia and democracy as opposed to violent jihad. I refer to Erdogan's famous utterance that "democracy is a train and you get off at your destination". The destination is the establishment of islamic republics with sharia; the means are non-violent whenever possible.

    So - IMO - Obama supports the AKP and the MB and Fatah and the PML(N) and the House of Saud and opposes al Qaeda, because they all see the violence and terror al Qaeda uses as counter-productive.

    Hence Obama uses drones to kill al Qaeda and USAF air power to depose Kaddafy while supporting Morsi and Erdogan - and Erdogan's and the House of Saud's desire to topple Assad.

    I feel that Obama basically and consistently supports the global aspirations of the House of Saud:
    to finance Salafist mosques and madrassas and thereby the non-violent Salafist colonization - or subjugation - of the world.
    (2) All of Obama's long-time personal friends and advisors are anti-Zionists; for example, Ayers and Dohrn have been life-long anti-Zionists and vehement supporters of Code Pink and other organizations that - allied to Erdogan - have been fighting the blockade of Gaza. Obama studied with Edward Said, and was a close friend of Said's primary disciple and one-time Arafat associate Rashid Khalidi. Charles Freeman, Samantha Power and Hillary and Kerry and Hagel have consistently over decades favored pressuring - if not blaming - Israel over pressuring the Arabs. Kerry called Bashar Assad his dear friend. Hagel has routinely blamed the Israel lobby. And Obama just this week released a video address supporting ISNA - a Muslim Brotherhood front organization. This happens the same week Egyptian newspapers are reporting they have proof Obama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    IS HE REALLY A MEMBER OF THE MB? I don't know but... he might as well be.

    I'd agree Obama was incompetent if anyone could point out one instant of an Obama policy which hurt the Muslim Brotherhood or stemmed global islamization. Just one.

    Nope. Never happened.

    In fact, Obama's very first interview was with the muslim press. And his first major policy speech was in Cairo - and he DEMANDED that Muslim Brotherhood representatives be present at that speech - (a "reset" of our relations with the muslim world), and Obama got his wish. Of course, Mubarak therefore declined to attend - which was okay with Obama. Obama had no use of Mubarak; Mubarak was in the way.

    Was this incompetence? No: Obama favored the Muslim Brotherhood over Mubarak and Obama has favored them over everyone and everything. Kaddafy was a piece of crap, but he was helping us attack the islamists. What did Obama do? Overthrew him.

    The results might be bad for the USA and our allies - for the entire Free World, but only if you think America's foreign policy should advance our interests and the interests of our traditional allies and the Free World.

    THEY'RE ONLY BUGS IF YOU'RE A PATRIOT, BUT, IF YOU'RE AN ISLAMOPHILIC POSTMODERN LEFTIST, THEN THEY'RE A FEATURE.

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  12. Islamists do not share our interests and have no desire to defend or expand the Free World. Hence, they like Obama's foreign policy.

    As far as Syria is concerned: Erdogan and the House of Saud want BOTH Assad and al Qaeda defeated and an AKP-like party to take over. Obama and McCain think this is possible if we aid the "moderates" - ("moderate" is doublespeak for AKP-like).

    I know there's one thing bothering you about this theory:

    Why did the House of Saud stop supporting Morsi?

    Because Morsi tried to do too much too fast and destabilized Egypt's already teetering economy - which, if it collapses - threatens the entire region. The House of Saud wants steady global islamization - at a pace that doesn't threaten their wealth and power. An Erdogan-like pace.

    Obama has thus far succeeded in aiding the islamists - and attacking the islamo-terrorists whose violence creates a backlash to silently, steadily creeping sharia.

    Until we elect a patriot, our only hope is if the internecine muslim war keeps them too occupied to attack us and our allies.

    And the hope that Israel can neutralize Iran before it's too late, and the iranians get nukes.

    Then we lose.

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  13. I think that the pathetic result of Barack Obama is a perfect illustration of the importance of the Natural Born Citizen clause in the Constitution. I'm talking about the spirit of the clause, not the endless debate over whether Barack Obama technically fits the definition of that clause.

    The framers were very afraid that, given the chance, the American people would elect a well-spoken foreigner -- probably an Englishman -- as President. This would place the U.S. military in foreign hands. The purpose of requiring the President to be a Natural Born Citizen was to ensure as well as possible that the person holding that office would have no loyalties other than to the United States of America. That that person would consider themself an American first and anything else a distant second.

    Enter Barack Obama. Born in Hawaii, son of a Kenyan and an American, raised in Indonesia, living in Pakistan in the 1980s. By words, deeds and philosophy, Barack Obama considers himself a citizen of the world first and an American distant second.

    Say what you will about Putin. He puts Russia FIRST. In a heartbeat he will take advantage of other countries and diminish them to the betterment and advancement of his native land. Every national leader is expected to do the same. They are expected to be an absolute partisan for their nation.

    Obama does not do this. He tries to "balance" the interests of America with the interests of the rest of the world. He doesn't understand that that isn't his job. His job is to represent and advance the interests of the United States of America. He can't do that. It isn't in his heart. As a result, the United States is in the position of a sports team whose coach is looking out for the interests of "both sides", in other words deliberately letting the opposition score points against his own team in the interest of "fairness." That is why Barack Obama and America are getting pummeled in foreign policy. Every other country has a leader who is playing to win for his country, while we have a leader who is above all of that and is playing to make sure that other countries score points, at the expense of the USA.

    In a sense, Marco Rubio has the same problem. He showed it in the immigration bill issue, when he bent over backwards to represent the interests of both the U.S. and Mexico, when he should have been representing the interests of the U.S., and letting Mexico represent its own interests. Because Mexico sure isn't representing the interests of the United States in the immigration issue.

    So I say it is time to recognize the Natural Born Citizen clause as not an archaic relic, but a fundamental element of protecting the nation against capture by any President who might have divided or conflicting loyalties. It should follow the strictest definition offered -- the American-born child of two American citizens. A person with no national claims or loyalties to any nation other than the United States, at any time of their life from birth until taking the office. Yes, this will disqualify many persons who might have made excellent Presidents, but this recognized unfairness is a small national price to pay for avoiding the peril we now find ourselves in.

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  14. Evil in Charge.
    Evil using the brainwashed(educated) to rationalize anything Evil wants to do.
    Evil chooses his zombies carefully; certainly no one who would baulk, choosing the least competent to obey, and those who have proven records of Evil's Ideology.
    Evil is polished, charming, fun, and cunning.

    Do you notice the speakers how they all have the same intonations and' affected' speech?
    This is no accident.... you will know them by .....

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