Sunday, March 9, 2014

Obama's Foreign Policy

* We all recall how the Democrats told us that Obama would restore America's standing in the world, allegedly diminished during Bush's presidency. So perhaps one of my liberal readers can name just one country with whom we have better relations under Obama? The latest poll has Obama's overall approval rating down to 38%. In terms of improving the United States' image around the world, only 33% believe Obama has succeeded, with 59% believing he has failed.

* Russia. Remember the 2008 campaign when the Republicans nominated Sarah Palin for the V.P. slot. She was so ignorant, so unready for prime time. Said Palin during the campaign: "After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next." Yep, quite stupid.

* Then we had Romney vs. Obama in the 2012 election. During one of their debates Romney spoke of the "geopolitical" threat from Russia. Obama mocked him and said: "You said Russia. Not Al Qaeda...The 1980's are now calling for their foreign policy back because...the cold war's been over for 20 years." Romney replied: "I'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin." Dumb Republicans.

* Obama told Russia he was going to "reset" U.S.-Russian relations. Then Secretary of State Clinton gave her Russian counterpart a "reset" button, meant to symbolize the change in relations. Previously, Obama refused to deploy defensive missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic. Obama told Medvedev to tell Vladimir (Putin) that he, Obama, would have "more flexibility" after the (2012) election. In return, Russia gave safe harbor to Edward Snowden, and suffered no consequences. Obama drew a red line on Syrian use of chemical weapons. After Assad ignored the red line, Obama did nothing and allowed Russia to step in and control the situation.

* As noted by Bret Stephens in the 3/4/14 WSJ: "Give the Russian president this much: He pursues Russia's national interests, baldly and expediently, as he sees them. The American president, by contrast, does nothing more than patronizingly lecture other countries about where their respective interests should lie." Which now brings us to another country.

* Israel. Obama recently gave an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg News. Obama was not just patronizing; his comments were a not so subtle threat to Israel if they do not make a peace deal with the Palestinians. (As an aside, the burden is always on Israel to do something, the Palestinians need do nothing.) Said Obama: The United States' ability to "manage the international fallout is going to be limited" without a peace deal..."And that has consequences." So, Obama will cease protecting Israel at the UN and other forums when Israel is threatened with trade embargoes or sanctions?

* Here's a thought - tell the Palestinians they will get no more aid until they stop supporting terrorism; they will not get any part of Jerusalem, which is Israel's capital; and they will not get a "right of return" to Israel proper. Obama's failure to speak these truths has emboldened the Palestinians; just as his failure to act in other instances has emboldened Russia. As this blog has frequently noted, when the U.S. withdraws from the world, others will step in to fill the void. And those others do not perceive the world as naively as does Obama.

Obama claimed that the window of opportunity for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is closing due, in part, to Abbas' age: "We do not know what a successor to Abbas will look like." So if Abbas' successor cannot be trusted to make peace, why should that successor be trusted to keep the peace, if a deal is made now? In the meantime, Obama has not only told Israel not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities; he also told the Israelis to stop their targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists. (Although Israel has never acknowledged responsibility for those killings, it is widely assumed that Israel is behind the killings.)

* Obama frequently says he has Israel's back. The Israelis know better. The rest of the world does not believe what Obama says either. And why should they? A U.S. ambassador and three other brave Americans were murdered. Obama blamed it on a movie trailer, but did nothing. Syria crossed the "red line" that Obama drew, and he did nothing. It was actually worse than nothing - he let the Russians step in and take the lead. Obama said Iran would not be allowed to get nukes, but then made a deal with Iran with no teeth. So Iran continues their nuclear program. While I would not expect an armed conflict with Russia over the Crimea, it was as clear to Putin as it was to the rest of the world that Obama is a weak president.

* So if Obama has Israel's back why did he just cut $200 million from joint U.S.-Israeli military and missile defense programs? Last year, why did the U.S. State Department refuse hundreds of visas to members of Israel's security services? And why did he insist that Israel release hundreds of terrorists responsible for the deaths of Israelis, as a sign of good faith to the Palestinians, when the U.S. subsequently complained about Afghanistan releasing terrorists responsible for the killing of American soldiers?

* Come sometime in April we will be at the deadline given by Obama and Kerry for agreement on the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Obama wants to be the president to get credit for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Whether that is good for our ally Israel or the Middle East is of no consequence. If Obama comes down hard on Israel when there is no peace deal, will my liberal friends still blame Bush?