Amid all the talk of the isolationism that supposedly characterizes the Obama administration’s foreign policy, we forget that since World War II, the global order has largely been determined by U.S. engagement. The historically rare state of prosperity and peace that defined the postwar world were due to past U.S. vigilance and sacrifice.
Germany in the last 150 years has been at the center of three European wars, winning one, losing another, and destroying much of Europe and itself in the third. Yet present-day Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. It is a global leader in high technology and industrial craftsmanship. For seventy years Germany, even after its second historic unification in 1989, has not translated such economic preeminence into military power, much less aggression. In fact, the strategic status quo of postwar Europe—with Britain and France, and their relatively smaller and weaker economies, as the continent’s two sole nuclear powers—remains mostly unquestioned.
For over a year and a half the White House successfully withheld communications between public servants, apparently in hopes that the death of four Americans in Benghazi would not become an issue in the 2012 election (at the eleventh hour CNN’s Candy Crowley did her best to ensure that goal by unethically becoming both moderator and advocate of Barack Obama in the second debate).
Even with the heavily censored and redacted recent releases of White House e-mails, one of the many messaging “goals” of Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes (“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy”) is the evidence that proves exactly what the White House so far has denied: the highest White House officials were in a pre-election frenzy to pressure Continue reading “The Truth Drips Out”→
About every day or so, a throat-clearing Middle East pundit weighs in to warn us of the Obama’s administration’s dereliction of traditional American engagement. They rightly lament “lead from behind” in Libya. After Benghazi, Libya has turned into something like Somalia. Far more are dying there from sectarian chaos than during the latter years of the hated Moammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship.
The Sunni reactionary establishment of the Gulf is right to deplore Obama’s incoherent flip-flop-flips in Egypt and Syria. The oil lords logically conclude that a directionless president will do nothing to stop Iran’s race to get a bomb — and all the subsequent Middle East WMD catch-ups to match it.
Even Obama’s pet Turkey seems confused that its favorite administration is now nowhere to be seen. The Iraqis were given a fresh start after the surge and hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. aid — and still claimed that they wanted the U.S. out. Obama gladly called their hand. Now, left to themselves, they are reverting to the pre-surge violence, whining about security and sectarianism — and back asking us for even more money. Rule One: never bluff an isolationist to yank all his forces from your country. Continue reading “The Double-Dealing Middle East Is Double-Dealt”→
The Syrian fiasco arose from two mutually contradictory desires. Barack Obama sincerely wanted Bashar Assad to stop killing his own people. Barack Obama also really was not willing to use force to ensure that Assad would stop killing his own people. At Harvard, those desires would not be antithetical. Elsewhere they are.
The desire to avoid the use of force was understandable. Obama ran for president as an anti-war candidate. He damned Bush’s “bad war” in Iraq, while critiquing the conduct of the “good war” in Afghanistan. He had no success with his own bombing in Libya. And he was embarrassed by even a rhetorical entry into the Egyptian quagmire. The president sensed rightly that the country was “tired” after Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading “Obama’s Box Canyon”→
Everyone can agree that Obama’s handling of the crisis has been puerile, and that there now are only the proverbial bad and worse options—the result being not whether the U.S. loses credibility, but only how much and for how long. So what comes next? Continue reading “Now What?”→
We’ve all run across the pill bug in our gardens. At the first sign of danger, the tiny paranoid crustacean suddenly turns into a ball — in hopes the danger will have passed when he unrolls.
That roly-poly bug can serve as a fair symbol of present-day U.S. foreign policy, especially in our understandable weariness over Iraq, Afghanistan, and the scandals that are overwhelming the Obama administration.
On August 4, U.S. embassies across the Middle East simply closed on the basis of intelligence reports of planned al-Qaeda violence. The shutdown of 21 diplomatic facilities was the most extensive in recent American history.
If you still doubt that Barack Obama has disastrously bungled our foreign policy, check out this video. In it Egyptian singer Salma Elmasry brutally insults Obama for supporting the Muslim Brothers and Islamists in general, her vulgar insults laced with an image of our President sporting a bin Laden cap and beard, and another of him with thickened nose and lips, no surprise to anyone familiar with traditional Arab racism. Continue reading “Epitaph for a Foreign Policy”→
In the Watergate scandal, no one died, at least that we know of. Richard Nixon tried systematically to subvert institutions. Yet most of his unconstitutional efforts were domestic in nature — and an adversarial press  soon went to war against his abuses and won, as Congress held impeachment hearings. Continue reading “The Scandal of Our Age”→
Securitygate has Nixonian trademarks all over it and is far more injurious to the republic than all the previous Obama administration-era scandals combined. Attorney General Holder simply cannot select an attorney to investigate key players in the administration who was both a recent appointee of Obama and a campaign contributor to and political supporter of him. Continue reading “Securitygate Is Not Going Away”→