Obama’s catastrophic foreign policy
America's meltdown abroad
May 20, 2014|By Charles Lipson
At a recent meeting with two dozen Chicago leaders, some Democrats, some Republicans, I asked a simple question, "Can anyone name a significant American achievement in world affairs over the past five years?" The room was completely silent. Since the group had traveled widely, I posed a second question, "Have any of you visited countries where relations with America are better than five years ago?" Again, silence. These were people who zip all over the globe and deal with senior officials. Many had backed Barack Obama's historic presidential candidacy in 2008 and his re-election in 2012. Yet they were stumped when asked to name any recent achievement in American foreign policy.
Over the past few months, I have posed the same questions to a variety of groups, some American, some European and Asian. Can anyone think of a major American success on the global stage? Can anyone name a stronger bilateral relationship? Silence. There's usually an awkward pause before they begin grumbling about America's sinking stature and incoherent policies.
Even Hillary Rodham Clinton was struck mute by these straightforward questions. Speaking before a friendly Manhattan audience in early April, she was tossed a softball question. "When you look at your time as secretary of state," the moderator asked, "what are you most proud of?" Clinton, who led U.S. foreign policy for Obama's entire first term, had no answer. She eventually stumbled on an answer that would embarrass the semifinalists in the Miss Teen Alabama Pageant. "Well, I really see — that was good — that's why he wins prizes. Look, I really see my role as secretary, in fact leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race. When you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton."
That's right. Clinton's proudest achievement as secretary of state is that she managed to "hand off the baton." Alas, she handed it to John Kerry, who is now twirling it mindlessly as he tries to figure out why every one of his negotiations has failed and why nobody believes his empty threats. Why the long face, John?
These policy failures are more than a long line of individual screw-ups:
Russia's easy, unopposed annexation of Crimea,
the president's quickly erased "red line" in Syria,
the fruitless effort to launch "final status" talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,
the chaos now engulfing Libya after we killed off the previous government,
the panic in Saudi Arabia over Iran's nuclear program,
the deep concern among our Asian allies that the U.S. will not deter China's growing aggressiveness.
America's credibility has been shredded by feckless promises and vacuous threats. That's what happens when you draw bright red lines in Syria and Ukraine and your enemies goose step over them without paying a heavy price.
Nobody has any clear idea of America's global strategy. That worries allies, emboldens enemies and raises the risks of war.
It will be hard to reverse this decline because America is overstretched financially, growing slowly and tired of endless, fruitless conflicts. Our overarching problem, then, is how to protect America's vital interests within these constraints.
Obama replaced Bush’s hostility toward Moscow, Caracas, Tehran and Damascus with a friendly, outstretched hand.
Pursing that strategy, the U.S:
pushed the "reset" button with Russia,
dropped our promises to build missile defenses in Central Europe,
refused to support the popular uprising in Iran,
and called Syria's Bashar Assad a "reformer."
Today, the Obama strategy is a smoking ruin, torched by reality. That's why nobody, including Hillary Clinton, can name any foreign policy achievements. The president has not acknowledged these gaping failures or devised a new approach beyond his rhetorical "pivot to Asia," which infuriated our allies in Europe and the Middle East.
Charles Lipson is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago
When you look a this speech’s and meetings, it seems the country he reserves his rage for is Israel, the best US ally in the world.
Add to this jihad is on the march on Obama’s watch. Hezbollah, Hamas, Taliban, ISIS, El Nusra, Al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood, Iran. He held secret talks with Hamas, stalled for a year before developing a supposed strategy to deal with ISIS, plans to pull out of Afghanistan opening the way for Taliban to reflourish there, pulled out after a direct warning from President Bush that the consequences that happened, would happen if he did what he did. In the USA Obama has limited the FBI way to investigate Islamic potential terrorists. He lied and blamed Benghazi and the death of 4 Americans on a youtube video when he knew that was a lie, just to not negate his campaign lie that Al-Qaida was on the run. He supported Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and gave them 1.5 billion and sophisticated f16s. He called the Islamist jihadist mass murder by Moslem army psychiatrist “workplace violence”. He traded 5 top terrorists for alleged deserter Bergdahl. During hi reign, Turkey has become a pro terrorist nation and he calls the Islamic president there his favorite foreign leader friend.