Ross Douthat posts a remarkably honest, well, honest for someone who works for the uber-leftist NY Times, piece on the utter miserable failure of Obama’s foreign policy. I’m sure most of you will already implicitly understand all his points, things we Conservatives have already mentioned. Liberals might be surprised, though
(NY Times) SECOND terms are often a time when presidents, balked by domestic opposition, turn to the world stage to secure their legacy – opening doors to China, closing out the Cold War, chasing Middle Eastern peace.
But the global stage hasn’t been a second-term refuge for President Obama; it’s been an arena of setbacks, crises and defeats. His foreign policy looked modestly successful when he was running for re-election. Now it stinks of failure.
Of course, this had to be followed by a whine about Iraq. There couldn’t be a liberal opinion without it. What’s not mentioned by Ross is the constant harping, attacks, etc by Democrats, who almost all voted for Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were cool with the plan until they decided that they could politicize it to attack Bush, what with their Bush Derangement Syndrome and all.
Start with Libya, the site of Obama’s own war of choice. The consuming Republican focus on Benghazi has tended to obscure the fact that post-Qaddafi Libya is generally a disaster area – its government nonfunctional, its territory a safe harbor for jihadists, its former ruler’s weaponry and fighters destabilizing sub-Saharan Africa. (Some of those weapons, for instance, appear to be in the hands of Nigeria’s most-wanted kidnappers, Boko Haram.)
Oh, contraire, Ross, we’ve noted the utter failure of Libya. We noted the huge amount of Islamists streaming into Libya while Obama was engaged in an air war. Welcome to the party.
Then swing northeast to Syria, where this administration’s stated policy is that Bashar al-Assad has to go, and that there is a “red line” – backed by force, if necessary – around the use of chemical weapons. Well, Assad isn’t going; he’s winning. And the White House’s claims of progress on the chemical weapons front were undermined by Secretary of State John Kerry’s acknowledgment last week that “raw data” suggested a “number of instances” in which Assad’s government recently used chlorine gas.
Wait, someone is defying Obama? Quick, get a hashtag going! Head to the West coast to bloviated and whine at a fundraiser!
The picture doesn’t look better when you turn south or east. In the Holy Land, Kerry’s recent push for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations ended in predictable failure, and in Iraq the caldron is boiling and Iranian influence is growing – in part, The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins suggested last month, because the White House’s indecision undercut negotiations that might have left a small but stabilizing U.S. force in place.
Ross goes on to note the problems with Afghanistan despite Obama’s surge. The failure of the “reset” with Russia. And Ross wonders what will happen with the pivot to Asia. In fact, he has one line, because nothing is really happening except a couple speeches and one quick trip. He notes Bin Laden’s killing, but there is still a resurgence of Islamists.
But recent events do not inspire much confidence. Instead, future defenses of Obama’s foreign policy may boil down to just six words: “At least he didn’t invade Iraq.”
Yeah, hooray! Except for seeing messes in the world and making them worse. Failing to properly engage with our allies while trying to be friends with our enemies/opponents. Insulting our allies. Diminishing America’s standing in the world saying “we’re just another country”. He personally messed up several UN IPCC agreements (though I see that as a win). The man is a fool and an incompetent, in well over his head, and, worse, he doesn’t seem to understand that he’s a fool and an incompetent, and his policies are terrible.
As I’ve done many times, I’ll give Obama props for drone striking Islamists on a constant basis. He seems to like doing that. Really, though, Ross is right, his foreign policy is a mess. He doesn’t know how to make “political friends” with leaders of friendly nations, ones which have been longtime allies of the U.S. He’s even managed to piss of the Canadians! Seriously, that’s pretty darned hard.
Interestingly, you know what’s missing? Any mention of Hillary Clinton, Obama’s Secretary of State for over 4 years. John Kerry is mentioned. But not Hillary. I wonder why?
Nor is there any mention of Joe Biden, who was picked to be Obama’s running mate due to his vast, deep, decades long involvement and knowledge of foreign policy. How’s that working out?