The View From 1776

Obama’s Foreign Policy Fails As Badly As His Domestic Economic Policies

Unemployment in total is worse than in 2008, business is sitting on its hands, and the standing of the United States in the Middle East, the center piece of Obama’s foreign policy, is lower now than in 2008.

Read Charles Krauthammer’s Collapse of the Cairo Doctrine

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/22 at 12:50 AM
  1. The middle east is in turmoil, in the middle of tumultuous societal events. Dictators who held power for decades have been overturned and there is no societal structure to pick up the peaces and guide events. Hundreds of disparate groups are striving to fill the gap and rise to power.

    In this new world, an outside power cannot wave a magic wand (or threaten invasion) to make the middle east "behave." Krauthammer bemoans that Obama is not "Controlling events," but his wish for the US to make the rebelling forces around the world fall into line because we have a big army is outdated, dangerous and stupid.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/22  at  09:01 AM
  2. Mr. Jay:

    Krauthammer isn't bemoaning Obama's inability to control events. He is recounting the abject failure of Obama'a fatuous "make nice" policy, based on the equal fatuity of liberal-progressives' hubristic faith that their intellects can reshape human nature.

    You are quite right that things are in turmoil in the Middle East. That has been true for thousands of years, which only reinforces my earlier point and Mr. Krauthammer's: foreign policy must be based on clearly understood goals and interests that are matched with real-world effective measures to implement it.

    Unilateral or even partial disarmament and dependence upon soothing speeches to mollify and pacify our nation's sworn enemies is infantile stupidity.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/22  at  01:27 PM
  3. Whether a policy or action is a success or failure depends on one's goals.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/23  at  11:42 AM
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    Posted by research paper help  on  09/25  at  09:31 AM
  5. Mr. Brewton,

    I agree you that there has been unending feuds in the Middle East for centuries, and it is exactly that realization that makes the neocon's positions so unrealistic and dangerous. What you describe as "disarmament" is really facing the reality that by force of arms the US cannot suddenly heal all these centuries-old feuds between sects.

    When George Bush invaded Iraq, he was not even aware of the difference between Sunni and Shia and in his hubris believed that with a little "shock and awe," he could whip those Arabs into line and make them appreciate the wonderful benefits of democracy and capitalism.

    Didn't happen then and it won't happen this time.

    Astoundingly, Romney has hired all of George Bush's neocon advisers as his foreign policy wonks (John Bolton, Eliot Cohen, Cofer Black, Walid Phares, Michael Hayden, Dan Senor, Max Boot and Eric Edelman). It is these neocons who are whipping up this baloney that is coming out of Romney's mouth about Obama's supposed "weakness." These neocons believe that a war is the answer to every problem and are never happy unless they can smell cordite in the air.

    Diplomacy is only "infantile stupidity" to those arm-chair chicken hawks who love to advocate war, but themselves have never been shot at. Like Dick Cheney said, when asked why he did not enlist, he had "other priorities." These people would love to start another war in Syria, Iran, you name it.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/26  at  08:20 AM
  6. An unusual review! He greatly expanded my horizons!
    Posted by write my paper  on  09/26  at  08:38 AM
  7. Mr. Jay:

    I'm not advocating war as the primary tool in diplomacy. You will find that, as far back as history goes (certainly to the classical Greek era), political entities not favored with impassible boundaries, such as mountains and open seas, had always to maintain sufficient military strength to make the price of aggression by other states too costly for the benefit to be derived.

    A key element of the containment policy adopted by the United States at the end of World War II was stationing enough troops in Germany to be able to counter immediately a potential invasion by the USSR. Similarly, when the USSR attempted a coup in Greece, our navy moved into the Aegean and we began supplying material and ammunition by sea to the local forces resisting Soviet incursion.

    Obama has done none of this. In fact, he is moving rapidly to reduce our armed forces at exactly the time when China is strengthening its navy and projecting its military power into the Indian Ocean, whence it can disrupt the largest volume of seaborne commerce in Asia, the growth area of the present age. This invites further expansion of Chinese military power and gives support to its war-inclined leaders, thereby increasing the likelihood of future war.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/26  at  12:56 PM
  8. J. Jay,

    Once again, you have treated us to a series of faux caricatures devoid of substance and uncorroborated. You are obsessed with stereotypes that only match a tiny minority of conservatives (if any); but come closest to describing some high-profile liberal-socialist we could name, describe none of those you slander, and sound an awful lot like you are deflecting criticisms of a personal-nature onto others (e.g., hubris, infantile, unrealistic, inability to guide events, &c). You fancy conservatives are nothing but knuckle-dragging, peace-loathing xenophobes, and from that launch blithely into tarring all conservatives with the same brush as though no conservative ever held a liberal-like opinion, never once preferred diplomacy to war, and never began from naïve constructs (common to liberals) before adopting more sober insights and rejecting, modifying or augmenting immature fancies (i.e., grew up). The difference between liberal-socialists (e.g., you) and conservatives isn’t that we distain diplomacy, it is that you reject war under almost any circumstance (some of you even reject it as self-defense; which assumes we are to bare our necks to the thugs you encourage). Unless and until, of course, some liberal-socialist paragon calls for war; then you are all for it and salivate at the chance to show conservatives how it is done.

    How do you show Bush had no concept of the differences between Shia and Sunni? Once again, I charge you with making up stuff as you go along, and challenge you to prove otherwise. There is no evidence and no circumstantial case made for it (either now or by informed detractors). Moreover, there is no relevance to making such an accusation other than as a distraction. In point fact, Bush and his aides spent months researching Islam, Muslim history, and Muslim culture before launching the invasion of Iraq. They held conferences and briefings on the subject from scholars, foreign policy wonks, Muslim organizations (CAIR, ISNA, &c), and Muslim apologists; and, in the long run, the difference between Shia and Sunni did not matter squat to how the war should be fought or to its political aftermath. Bush had no illusions he could transform Iraq into a second America or eliminate Iraq as a potential threat, but he could and did neutralize Iraq (and others) as a factor for six critical years, put forces on the ground close to the terrorists’ logistical and spiritual epicenter, effectively disrupted terrorism, and got the Iraqi people out from under Saddam’s brutal heel. Have you already forgotten the joy expressed by (both Shia and Sunni) Iraqis upon their liberation from Saddam. Have you forgotten the toppling of statues and the ripping of his many portraits? Clearly, it is you who does not know Shia from Sunni, what divides them or brings them together. Do you know the difference between Shia and Sunni (without looking them up)? I seriously doubt it, so we can safely ignore this slander of yours as merely that – the flailing, demonizing and rationalizing of an weak debater.

    With “baloney that is coming out of Romney's mouth”, you falsely tar Romney much the same as you did Bush. Exactly what is it you call ‘baloney’? An accusation without specifics is just so much rant. As to “Obama's supposed weakness”, you are in serious denial. It is not just conservatives, Tea-Partiers, and neo-cons who are calling him weak, it is our declared enemies who are declaring it and proving in their day to day reactions. For seven years, Al Qaeda has been in hiding. Now, thanks to Obama, they are not only in the open, they are part of the coalition toppling our more vulnerable allies. They are thumbing their collective noses at America. And, they aren’t just doing it in gestures; North African and ME Muslims are vocal in their contempt for Obama and support of terrorists. Read the Muslim press and you will see they boast of it openly, mock Obama as a fool, and are back to openly declaring war against us. Already they are hatching plots of spectacular strikes comparable to 9/11, or worse. The choice of that date for their attack on our embassy, the targeting of our ambassador, plus the statements of Morsi and others, say as much. Add to that, Obama’s apologizing for unprovoked (by any reasonable standard) attacks, and there can be no question Obama not only appears weak, he is weak and clueless how to respond appropriately.

    Regarding “Diplomacy is only "infantile stupidity" to those arm-chair chicken hawks who love to advocate war”, Republicans employ both diplomacy and war as tools, and when they practice diplomacy it is with far greater efficacy than the bumbling, needless insults, and grotesque posturing typical of Democrats fantasizing they do the better job of it. Republicans use and prefer diplomacy every bit as much as Democrats, the difference being Republicans don’t waste breath braying to the world what a wonderful job they’ve done (nor have media operatives willing to bray for them). They just get the job done and move onto the next thing. The typical Democrat romanticizes all it takes to ‘beat swords into plowshares’ is a little fawning and self-effacement; that that is all that is wanting from our diplomacy. The reality is most of our enemies are enemies precisely because it is they (not we) who are the xenophobes, are naturally distrustful of any power greater than themselves, have factions and constituencies to whom they must answer for any change of belligerent heart, and have ancient feuds with neighbors that compromise a priori any overtures we can make with either party to their feuds. These are men who have reached power over the broken bodies of opposition, and are inclined to see weakness only as openings to be exploited. The effect of fawning and self-recrimination on such men is to convince them we are weak; and, therefore, prey. Thus, the narcissistic razzle-dazzle of an Obama with his unrealistic expectations of a quick turn-around only excites; whereas, the tough yet patient negotiations of his predecessor bore repeated, steady, and reliable fruit amongst these very same thugs. No doubt Obama’s sophistry plays well to the kind of parlor-academics and community-organizer charlatans he’s used to, but doesn’t work half so well with the steely despots he’s dealing with now.

    You conveniently forget Bush tried diplomacy before giving Saddam an ultimatum, and gave the ultimatum well before invading. He also used diplomacy to weld together a defense coalition while simultaneously getting most of the Muslim world (plus Russia and China) to sit out our invasion of Iraq; and he mostly held this combination together for six long years of combat and pacification (no small feat). Bush even got cooperation (in support of our war on terrorists) from Libya’s renegade ruler (Kaddafi) for the first time in decades. You crassly ignore the Bush-Chaney formulary enjoyed spectacular success (militarily, strategically & diplomatically) before getting bogged down in nation-building pushed on them primarily to assuage liberal demagogues (you among them) and egos that we weren’t attacking Iraq solely (or even remotely) as an oil grab. You overlook that, even after conquering Iraq, Bush used nothing but diplomacy to encourage (not force) Iraq into reforming its government into something more inherently peaceful and stable before pulling out, or that it would have remained stable had not Obama and a Democrat supermajority not pulled the plug before the job of conciliation was complete, or that it was the Iraqis, themselves, who chose American-style “democracy and capitalism” over an autocrat (not USA pushing them to it). In fact, Iraqi reformers have been demanding American action to oust Saddam and democratic reforms since the Soviets pulled out (circa 1987).

    Where you wrote “makes the neocon's positions so unrealistic and dangerous” with respect to converting Middle-eastern countries to Western-style democracies, this is an about face from what you liberals argued in past; i.e., that we conservatives do too little to democratize such backward nations. Neo-cons are, indeed, sometimes guilty of this, but only because they so hard trying to appease liberals who are hopelessly inconsistent as to policy. If neo-cons are guilty of nation-building, then Democrats are the grand masters of that delusion. What do think FDR was attempting with Russia, North Africa, Italy, China, and throughout Asia, Truman was attempting in Japan and Korea, and Kennedy/Johnson in Vietnam (Hearts & Minds). And, lest we forget that Democrat without equal, Woodrow Wilson who sought to tame the entire world in one grand stroke, his vision of a one-world government was intended to bring down monarchs and force feed democracy globally. We, here, have long argued that 'democratization, while desirable, is unnecessary to this war and its strategic aims. The goal has always been to defang the enemy. If that can be done most safely, efficiently and cheaply by democratizing Iraq then well and good, but if not then the Iraqis are free to follow any course that does not repeat or materially support terrorism. So, you who lectured us incessantly on the need to teach democracy to savages rather than pacify (by the sword), now presume to lecture us on how “unrealistic and dangerous” that was. We have a couple of terms for folks who do that: ‘unprincipled’ and ‘chutzpah-dik’.

    As to “dangerous”, staying in Iraq was no more dangerous than leaving; and as subsequent events prove may have been a good deal safer. Yes, our troops were at greater risk there, but the enemy, unopposed, will soon be among us, and it will be American innocents who will suffer from that. Or did you imagine Muslim fanatics have given up their objective of global conquest and of ‘crushing the Great Satan (aka, us)? It is also proving more dangerous to Iraqis that we are gone, because the death toll in Iraq has increased since we pulled out. Is it more dangerous there only because we liberated the place? No, because while murder by fanatics are up, deaths attributable to Iraqi security forces is still small and the overall toll (compared to Saddam’s) is still far less.

    Do I agree transforming Iraq and Iraqis was somewhat unrealistic? Yes, I do, but strongly disagree it is as hopeless as you portray, nor that this was primarily the fault of conservatives or even Republicans. That is because this was something worked into the policies of every administration of the last one-hundred and twenty years by (you guessed it!) progressives, liberals and socialists. I also note it is something that occasionally succeeds beyond expectations. The things that make democratization ‘unrealistic’ are: a) the liberated people are equally wedded to some incompatible ideology (e.g., Islam, socialism), b) liberal-reformers deliberately overburden the effort with irrelevancies (e.g., feminism, gaying the military, environmental restrictions, &c), or c) the liberated imperfectly grasp the demands of personal-freedom coupled with an irresolution among its citizens to stay the course until ingrained (as happened in Russia). You forget it was our revolution of 1776 that sparked French imaginations and their revolution of 1798, the Mexican War of Independence (1810), numerous South American revolts, and even spurred dozens of socialist revolutions in countries that fancy themselves ‘democratic’ even when we don’t. Americans like Thomas Paine, Jefferson and a host of others played active roles in spurring those democratization efforts. Were they being ‘unrealistic’ too? Indeed, there is not an oppressive country remaining that does not look to America as the model for how countries should operate, nor any oppressive regime that does not worry its people will rise against them demanding ‘Americanization’. You also conveniently forget MacArthur successfully transformed Japanese society after their crushing defeat at our hands. What separates Japan’s success from Iraq’s failure is MacArthur did not have socialists back home attacking his efforts (and those of the Japanese). Why should Iraqis believe in their own liberation given we don’t, when Western media and the Western liberal blogosphere condemn it out of hand and unremittingly label it a failure? If we can fault neo-cons enamored with democratization, then, it is not because they stuck stubbornly to it; but only because they caught some of the liberal ‘enthusiasm’ for it knowing full well Democrats would deliberately and spitefully spike it at every opportunity, and that they would do this entirely out of a hate-filled partisanship. Even I had hopes Bush might pull it off, despite we (conservatives and libertarians) cautioned against it. I cautioned against it not because it couldn’t work, but because I knew you Democrats would never allow it. The fatal flaw, therefore, was never in the design or in the hopes for democratization (ours and the Iraqis’), but from Democrat sabotage. I witnessed socialists and Democrats shoot us in our collective foot during the Vietnam War; and some of that same mental-illness operates here. History repeats.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/05  at  05:03 AM
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