Monday, November 23, 2015

President Obama's brave new world failure

Too many people understate the disaster that is the Obama administration’s stewardship (if you can call it that) of American foreign policy, mischaracterizes its “grand strategy” as “well-intentioned, carefully crafted, and consistently pursued”, and is irrationally optimistic about the capacity to correct the current situation as to both their capabilities and ideology.

More than likely, the Obama presidency will go down as the most destructive in American history, both domestically and in matters of foreign affairs.

The main problem was emblematic from the very beginning with the Obama administration’s treatment of the Honduran constitutional crisis where then President Zelaya tried to illegally implement revisions to the constitution to further the dictatorial inclinations of his ally, Hugo Chavez. The Obama State Department sided with the Chavista’s against the Honduran People and the Supreme Court.

Since then, the fundamental trademark of Obama’s system of government has been to treat allies and fellow countrymen as enemies and adversaries, and enemies and adversaries as comrades. Hence his delusional and destructive outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood, negotiations with the Taliban, reset with Russia, abandonment of hard-won strategic gains in Iraq, abrogating missile defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic, the unprecedented display of contempt of unilaterally declaring the 1967 Armistice lines to be the starting point for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian’s regarding any future state, fecklessness in the face of hostile actions by China and North Korea, and the subrogation of American interests to the hapless and pathetic “international community” and the United Nations.

Don’t expect things to get any better. The problem isn’t the misapplication of good intentions, but Obama’s and the modern Democratic Party’s embrace of policies, and a general ideology that is anathema to traditional American way’s of foreign policy (and domestic governance) that has been constructed and generally practiced since George Washington’s farewell address all the way to the Monroe Doctrine, and from containment to the counter-terror policies constructed by George W. Bush.

The result is that international security without American leadership is at its most precarious as at anytime since the 1960’s, and resembles the appeasement of Hitler by the British and French in the 1930s.

Think things are looking bad now in the Middle East? Wait until Iran has a nuclear weapon.

Obama did not formulate any real foreign policy, reflexively doing the opposite of what George W. Bush had done, until 2010 when he formulated his goals of getting out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan, and out of all military engagement in the Middle East.

The decision was to side neither with allies nor opponents, and play the neutral pacifist game of the UN. Aggression by Iran was to be countered with economic sanctions only, and military engagement avoided, despite pledges to Israeli security.

The drift resulting from the withdrawal of American leadership was called ‘leading from behind’ about the time that the EU through NATO insisted on limited engagement in Libya, wherein Obama set even more stringent limitation on American participation and joined our trans-Atlantic partners.

In the absence of the strong opposition of George W. Bush, the radical Islamist jihadists have metastasized and appear stronger, however have alienated the majority of the demos in many Arab countries. This is most evident in the recent June 30th upwelling in Egypt calling for intervention of the military.

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the Gulf States have strongly sided with the Egyptian secular-military side and opposed the Muslim Brotherhood. King Abdullah II of Jordan even calling for a designation of ‘takfir’ to apostate the belligerent Islamists.

Syria is a morass, a proxy war between the Shiite flavored Islamist aggression of Iran, with Russia and proxy Hezbollah in tow, and the unholy combination of the opposition, the FSA (largely defectors from the Syrian military) and the magnate attraction of Islamist jihad fighters from throughout the Sunni Muslim world for a battlefield. The opposition is supported by Turkey and the Arab Gulf, with a reluctant NATO and America in tow. This sectarian slaughter seems likely to continue until Iran and Russia are confronted, a change for both the EU and the US.

Perhaps more chance than strategy is credited in this supposition. However, in the vacuum of Western and particularly American leadership, the Arab League does appear to be making a definitive separation between the violent Islamic jihadists and the more tolerant demos.

Like any good law professor, Obama has a ready set of excuses for why something can’t be done, and none for why something should be done. He’s lost this engagement, Obama has very effectively told us that he’s washed his hands of it.

Indeed, the one common thread running through his foreign policy is the unwinding of involvement in foreign military commitments of any kind. Hence Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

This is not to say that Obama will not engage in foreign posturing or the positioning of naval assets in a theatre. That Obama will do with a will, but he will not follow through or take the next step.

And now that everyone knows it, the West needs to reassess its role in world affairs with this in mind. Reliance on the U.S. military for the enforcement of civilized behaviour in the conduct of nations going forward is a fool’s gambit under the leadership of President Obama.

It might be unwise to intervene in conflicts such as the one in Syria in the face of U.S. policy ambivalence. No NATO country is in a position to exert influence in world affairs without U.S. approval. And U.S. approval will not be forthcoming except in very limited circumstances relating entirely and solely to U.S. commercial and national security interests, narrowly defined.

As the U.S. retreats, it opens up opportunity for Russia, China, and Iran to mold events on the margins.

When a U.S. President comes along whose first instinct, training, political orientation is to domestic policies and whose abhorrence of foreign commitments was strongly cemented during his years in the Senate, it should be no surprise that the West is facing a decline in its ability to control world events in the Middle East, in Asia, and elsewhere outside its own territories.

Bottom line, while Barack Obama occupies the Oval Office, there will be a continual and inexorable retreat from effective engagement in world events.

President Obama and his fellow travelers like to call themselves post modernist progressives. If you have any understanding of post modernist thought, you know that post modernists believe that there is no single truth, that everything is relative. So, how can there be any credibility to administration that believes that everything that we thought we knew is false because history, culture and even language is relative?

It all depends on what the definition of “is” is. Most recently, Obama has had some trouble defining who the enemy is and whether the enemy is here in the U.S. or abroad.

When Barack Obama was elected, the nation was at a crossroads and in need of a wise leader–someone who could heal our wounds and bring us together–someone who would not provide excuses for the cultural rot but instead who would accept no excuses and raise the level of the national conscience about personal responsibility.

Such a President would need to find ways to bring up our educational standards and clean up the welfare state, modernize the tax system and reform the entitlement system. That President would also need to pick the best minds in the country and focus on objectives, forcing both political parties to work together and would use the bully pulpit to clean up the swamp of Washington DC.

Who we got instead was President Obama, who:

1. Wanted to become an expert on how to use all of those things to fundamentally change what our forefathers had intended.

2. Set one group of Americans against another.

3. Squandered the strength that our troops had sacrificed for in Iraq to turn tail and run to make a nasty point about his predecessor.

4. Took a look at all the crumbling infrastructure and decided to use our tax money as a giveaway, leaving the country worse off.

5. Spent all his time campaigning for his own reelection rather than sit down and work out the country’s problems.

6. Played bait and switch with the opposing party in Congress in order to make them look like fools so he could take further advantage.

The sad thing is that Obama must believe that there really are no great men or women, since he doesn’t play ball in that arena, and that to act as a President should is just a fool’s errand. If there are no great Americans, then why should he aspire to be one of them?

I have news for President Obama, such people do exist. Sometimes they are in leadership roles, and sometimes they are the ordinary folks raising their kids, or working the night shift in the ER, or checking groceries at the local market. However, Barack Obama is not one of them.

It should not be surprising that a country with 20% of its working age population not working, half its population not paying taxes, and an overlapping three-quarters of its population with their individual noses out of joint about this or that single-social-issue, is a nation that’s too busy watching the Kardashians and thinking about its feelings to worry about what its role in the world is.

The country’s culture is going down the tubes.

Our newest immigrants and our youngest homegrown voters may actually be incapable of understanding what re-electing an anti-business, populist amateur for a second term actually means to the future of this country.

The liberal left has finally gotten their way, and our country has become soft. Plainly put, our presidential leadership sucks.

Make no mistake, I have no doubt that if America were directly attacked that the country would rally and bomb a mountain range upside down in Waziristan, or hunt the next Osama bin Laden for 10 years and kill him while he’s in his underwear watching TV.

But what is absolutely clear to me, right at this moment, is that our country’s President has no clue what is right or wrong.

The problem with our current foreign policy is that we really have none, not that we “try to make things better, and somehow make it worse despite your best efforts”. Obama has no vision of America within it as anything other than a primer inter pares, relativistic agglomeration of people who need to look more like Europeans than they do presently.

President Obama has absolutely no geopolitical sense whatsoever, and every mess out there can be traced to necessary action, and not necessarily military action, not taken by him when it was needful.

The world won’t go on vacation while we get our act together, which I’m afraid requires that we elect a different President, with presidential skills as they relate to international affairs. The world will become far dicier in the next three-plus years, and that new President will somehow need to re-establish our credibility, our presence and our historical value as the world’s only real stabilizer.

The people who actually have the fortitude and moral compass to lead certainly are not the Obama administration. Too many in this administration right now are incompetent, misdirected, and getting played for fools.

President Obama is too busy being pleased with himself–demagoging Republicans, taking pictures with Jay Z and touting his poorly conceived, wrong-headed, proven-failure policies–to worry about what his actions are doing to this country and what he really should be doing instead of what he is doing.

America will survive, but we are worse for the wear, and we have much work to do to demonstrate that we still have not only the military, but also the resolve and metal to maintain our global leadership in the 21st century.

I think what people are finding out about our President is that sadly, he seems to be the last to know when he’s out of his league. Obama’s economic speech was so poorly crafted yesterday as to be embarrassing. The President was essentially called a liar in the WaPo after his misleading statements about the coming budget tactics.

On Syria, it wasn’t just about air strikes, it was very much about steps along the way that were mishandled, especially his inability to grasp what a “red line” comment means when the President says it. It was painful to watch Putin manhandle him in front of the world.

Obama is definitely not a chess player because he was so far behind the power curve as not able to see the implications of what Putin was offering.

Our credibility will be fine if we can move away from the empty suit leader who is quickly out of his league.

They say underachievers always think of themselves as performing much better than they actually do, while high achieves mostly think they aren’t measuring up. Obama is definitely in the former category, which goes right back to why he is always the last to know.

It wasn’t that the United States was a great nation because of its military power and force projection, it was a great power because of its culture: a culture ravaged because it has forgotten the values that made it great and adopted those that have undermined all great nations and empires.

And the culmination of all this is the election of an affable, well spoken man who happened along at the right time and place. A man who seized a place in history, not because of any proven talent or ability, but because the election of Barack Obama allowed our nation to publicly prove that racial animus was a thing of the past.

However, Obama was the wrong man and elected for the wrong reasons, and he has shown little talent for the role other than being well suited for treatment like a celebrity.

No, what we got was a closet narcissus whose psychological profile and behavior looked very much like that of a strong, confident, intelligent leader. But that was a false facade. In truth there is no substance behind Obama or in him.

Quite simply we made a huge error in judgment, and while we can lay fault at the feet of media for not doing more to vet his qualifications, ultimately we were self-deluded because we wanted Obama to be capable.

And that is how we come to this spot in history, a nation weakened by excess lead by a President who doesn’t want to be troubled with the hard work of the office. Who, because of his narcissism, irrationally thinks that we, and the world at large, should merely take his direction. That it is impudent of us to require that Obama provide a basis to embrace his commands.

When Syria failed to abide Obama’s command, his coping and reasoning capabilities were exposed for everyone to see. And because Obama’s style had so alienated the opposition, and many within his own party as well, he found little support for his course of action.

The rest is history.

Fortunately, Obama will leave in Oval Office in 2 years. The larger problem is the cultural corruption that has compromised the fabric of our nation.

Let’s use the remaining days Obama is in office to start repairing the damage, because without virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality being restored to their place of importance it really doesn’t matter who gets elected next. The decay and rot will continue unabated.

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