08.31.2009 0

When Foreign Policy Becomes Foreign Ineptitude

  • On: 09/23/2009 09:35:14
  • In: Homeland Security
  • By William Warren

    For a second, you might assume Barack Obama is rooting against America and her democratic allies.

    In fact, it seems that every day Barack Obama finds a new democratic ally to throw under the bus. Among other examples, the Obama Administration has:

    • Cut aid to the impoverished Honduras and refused to recognize the pro-democratic, entirely legal administration in power
    • Scrapped plans to build a protective missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland (tactfully done on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, by the way)
    • Offended Israelis by speaking of moral equivalence between Palestine and Israel in his Rosh Hashanah address (while praising Islam as a religion of “peace” and “tolerance” in his Ramadan address and calling for a Palestinian state)

    And let’s not forget the catalogue of remarkably offensive gifts Mr. Obama has given to his fellow world leaders: an iPod to the Queen of England, a misspelled “reset” button to the Russians, and an un-usable DVD box set to Gordon Brown, to name a few.

    The bottom line is: When it comes to foreign policy, it’s fast becoming clear that Barack Obama has shown a colossal inability to lead—at least with America and her allies’ interests in mind.

    But then again, why should anyone expect Mr. Obama to truly lead on foreign policy issues? After all, he displayed an embarrassing void of leadership while heading the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs during his brief and undistinguished sojourn in Congress. Assuming the chairman position in January 2007, then-Senator Obama failed to hold even one, single policy hearing. Not one.

    That’s right: not one, not ever. And keep in mind that his subcommittee had responsibility for Afghanistan oversight.

    As former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson stated:

    “As chairman of the subcommittee on Senate Foreign Relations responsible for NATO and Europe, Obama could have used his lofty position actually to engage the issue [of Afghanistan] and pressure the administration to take some action to improve our chance of success in that conflict against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Of course, that would have involved holding hearings, questioning administration witnesses, and taking a position and offering alternatives. That is what we expect that from senators in a democracy. It is called oversight.

    But, instead, Obama, by his own admission, offers the excuse that he has been too busy running for president to do anything substantive, such as direct his staff to organize a single hearing.”

    In other words, campaigning got in the way of leadership.

    Well, nothing has changed. Campaigning is still getting in the way of leadership.

    Just turn on the television. Not since Milton Berle has any single figure so dominated the “Idiot Box.”

    While American casualties escalate in Afghanistan, the President of the United States is escalating his television appearances—ambitiously making the rounds on five Sunday news programs (as well as David Letterman) glibly campaigning for his healthcare plan. Whereas George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had only done 16 and 6 television interviews respectively during their first seven months as President, Barack Obama has done 66.

    So far, the 66 interviews have been shockingly ineffective. Obamacare is more unpopular than ever.

    As a recent article in the Jerusalem Post points out, Barack Obama’s ineffectiveness at home matches his ineffectiveness abroad. He keeps getting “no” for an answer. As it reads:

    “The North Koreans said no to repeated attempts at talks, by test-launching long-range missiles in April; Russia and China keep on saying no to tougher sanctions on Iran; the Iranians keep saying no to offers of talks by saying they’re willing to talk about everything except a halt to uranium enrichment; Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is saying no by refusing to meet with Binyamin Netanyahu until Israel freezes all settlement construction; the Israelis said no by refusing to agree to a settlement freeze, or even a settlement moratorium until and unless the Arabs ante up their normalization gestures….

    The only thing Obama did manage to get Bibi and Abbas to say yes to is a photo-op at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NY.”

    A photo-op is the best Obama could muster? Well, it figures. This President obviously loves seeing himself in the limelight.

    While the article attributes Obama’s lackluster results to the bad economy, the truth is much deeper and more embarrassing for the President. Simply put: The world’s leaders aren’t following his lead because he isn’t a leader worth following.

    In their eyes, Barack Obama is an inept foreign policy neophyte with a dime’s-worth of true leadership experience and even less leadership ability. Beneath the strong words, they see no muscle. Beyond the messianic elegance, they see no substance.

    In other words: They don’t get the thrill up their legs.

    As Steven Hill of The Guardian puts it:

    “Beyond Obama’s oratorical skills, which excited not only American voters but people all over the world, he is mostly untested as a politician. His previous experience was only a few years in the US Senate and a few years more as a state senator. A sinking feeling is arising among many that President Obama may not be up to the task, that he may not possess the artful skills needed to accomplish even his own goals.”

    So whether it’s intentionally supporting America’s enemies, offending longtime allies, or simply providing no leadership whatsoever, Barack Obama is clearly dismantling this nation’s foreign policy. Which begs the question: is there anything Barack Obama can do to get the country back on track?

    A good place to start would be an apology. Admitting that he is a mere human capable of mistakes—and not the inerrant deity he has positioned himself as—might do the President some good. Better yet, he could even convene a meeting with the Secretaries of State of the previous four administrations and draw upon their vast wealth of geopolitical wisdom and expertise.

    This, of course, would require that he leave his pride and petulance at the door.

    As they say, it takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong.

    Barack Obama certainly sees himself a big, big man. It’s time to admit your mistakes, Mr.

    William Warren is a Contributing Editor of ALG News Bureau.

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