“Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.”
John F. Kennedy
When the Soviet Union tried to park nuclear missiles 90 miles off the coast of Florida….President Kennedy showed the world what true leadership was. He backed up strong words with military might and stared down the Soviets with a Naval “quarantine” of Cuba. Kennedy understood that United States foreign policy had to have clearly communicated objectives, goals and an actionable strategic response plan if it were to achieve desired results.
Unfortunately….President Obama has failed to learn this lesson. His continued “dithering” during the Syria Crisis may just be the final blow to what little credibility America possessed with both allies and enemies alike. Clearly what Americans and the rest of the world have viewed over the last two weeks on CNN, Fox and MSNBC is the complete dismantling of American foreign policy.
Syria has been in the grips of a Civil War after Arab Spring protests against the Bassar Al-Assad regime turned violent in April 2011. To date….over 100,000 have been killed in the fighting. For the most part…America has remained on the sidelines despite pleas from some in Congress to aide the rebels with weapons and logistics. In August, 2012, President Obama warned that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” in the eyes of the United States and would trigger “enormous consequences”. Allegations that chemical weapons have been used in Syria first began to emerge in December 2012, when Al Jazeera released unconfirmed reports that a gas attack killed 7 civilians in the rebel-held neighborhood of Homs. Last month….opposition forces reported two separate chemical attacks that reportedly killed over 1,000 people including hundreds of children. American intelligence sources confirmed these victims tested positive for sarin gas exposure.
Now….apparently trapped by his own “red line” comment (you may remember Obama was caught joking about Benjamin Netanyahu’s “red line” comments on Iran’s nuclear program), the president is struggling to obtain international support for a “limited” strike on Syria targets. Britain’s parliament recently voted down participating in a military strike on Syria. Furthermore, after weeks of insisting he didn’t need congressional approval for military action, Obama surprised the nation when he did an about-face and said he would seek congressional approval for the use of force in Syria.
Such indecision in the face of an international crisis begs the question – Does President Obama even have a foreign policy? I doubt any journalist could accurately articulate it. Other than his campaign promise to end the Iraq War….his other foreign policy objectives were rather ‘fuzzy’. During his campaign, Obama emphasized the importance of diplomacy and development as tools to aid the U.S. in building new and even stronger alliances, re-building broken relationships and repairing the United States image abroad. In addition, he stated that one of his foreign policy objectives was to combat global poverty, generate wealth and build educated and healthy communities as a means to combat extremism. Well….now that he’s been in office almost five years….have these ‘fuzzy’ objectives been achieved? Let’s take a look at his record:
Egyptian Speech, June 2009: Obama delivers “A New Beginning” speech at Cairo University….basically apologizing to all Muslim for the errors of American policy. Even though he is basically next door….he snubs Israel and flies from Cairo to Germany instead.
The Iran Green Revolution: In his first real test as the leader of the free world, President Obama remains silent for days when violent protests erupted in the streets of Tehran following their 2009 elections. It was only after the ‘Death of Neda’ became a Twitter sensation did Obama issue a statement of condemnation. Little else was done by the administration.
The Libyan Crisis: Once again…President Obama remained silent for days while Moammar Gaddafi turned his guns on his own people. After the UN initiated a no-fly zone, US forces took a back seat to other NATO nations in enforcement. Libya today is still struggling with Gaddafi loyalist and disbanded militias who refuse to integrate into the Libyan Military. Islamist extremism is on the rise.
Iraq: While he ended the war, he left little American personnel there to assist with a transition to a democracy. As a result….Iraq is slipping back into sectarian warfare and Al-Queda is once again on the rise.
Egypt: Another example of Obama policy gone wrong. Rather than support Hosni Mubarak until a better replacement could be found….Obama called for his resignation and he was thrown to the wolves (and literally imprisoned)….only to be replaced by the Islamic Brotherhood! In less than a year there was a military coup and more blood in the streets of Cairo. The fighting still continues.
US & Russia Relationship: Russia and US relations are at their lowest levels since the end of the cold war. Obama and Putin clearly do not like each other and the Syria Crisis continues to erode the relationship. Russia recently granted American traitor Edward Snowden political asylum.
US/China Relations: China continues to build out its Military and Space program at accelerated rate. China continues to engage in government sponsored computer hacking on American corporations and possibly government installations.
US/Israel Relations: While trying to put on a happy front, Israel and the Obama Administration continue to butt heads on the issue of a Palestinian state, Israeli settlements and Iran’s nuclear program. Israel has currently deployed its “Iron Shield” missile defense system and citizens are lining up for gas masks in fear of a retaliatory strike from Syria. Many Israelis consider President Obama a coward for how he has dealt with the Syrian crisis.
Terrorism: Despite degrading Al Qaeda leadership ranks with drone strikes, the United States continues to be targeted by Muslim extremist. Four America’s were killed in a staged attack at a US consulate in Libya on September 11, 2012. The Obama Administration is still embroiled in a scandal when they tried to call it spontaneous violence spurred by an anti-Islamic video. Three died and over 260 were injured when two Muslims brothers (formerly from Russia) exploded two bombs during the Boston Marathon. A mass shooting killed nine people at Fort Hood by a Muslim officer who had ties with an extremist cleric. The attack was ridiculously labeled as work place violence and many soldiers and families were denied battlefield benefits and purple hearts.
OK OK….he killed Bin Laden! He didn’t actually pull the trigger but I do give him credit for not capturing him and bringing him to trial. But what about all that jargon about “rebuilding relationships” and “repairing the US image abroad”??? Clearly….President Obama’s foreign policy is a complete and utter failure and that failure continues with his handling of the Syrian Conflict.
I have to feel for Secretary of State Kerry who really delivered an impassioned plea for immediate action in Syria in a national covered speech on Saturday. However…the hypocrisy of his word didn’t escape me. Absolutely everything he said about Bassar Al-Assad could have been said about Saddam Hussein yet I don’t remember Kerry or Obama supporting regime change in Iraq. I guess things are different when it’s your legacy at stake.
President Obama had a real chance to impact the outcome in Syria back when the conflict started in 2011. He should have approached both Turkey and Jordan and offered covert assistance of weapons, logistics and intelligence. But I guess that would have smelled like Bush interventionism. Instead, he waited until Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah moved in and then he opened his big political mouth in an unscripted press conference! Now he has a red line all over his face. Makes you think…will this limited strike actually be about helping the rebels in Syria or is this just a way to save political face?
This is John Galt Speaking!