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Obama Fiddles While Iraq Burns

The president is focused on leaving Iraq, no matter the cost to freedom and security.

obama_frownby Peter Roff

While Iraq burns to the ground – a major international problem – President Barack Obama has occupied his time fiddling with the fringes of U.S. domestic policy. Of recent note are his courageous decision to issue an executive order allowing domestic partners to be buried together at national military cemeteries and trying to push an immigration reform package through Congress by creating a camera-ready crisis on the U.S. border with Mexico that tugs at the heartstrings of every feeling American.

Iraq is serious business, maybe too serious for this administration to handle. No less than Tony Blair – the former British Prime Minister who was Bush’s ally in the war, but Obama’s ally as far as matters of ideology are concerned – says it would be a mistake to blame what is happening now on the way things were left when the current president came to office on an anti-war platform that included bringing the troops home. [Read more...]

Obama Tenure Marked by Foreign Policy Debacles

Obama Writing Projecting WeaknessWhen President Obama took the oath of office in January 2009, he became the leader of the world’s greatest military power, and the nation that more than any other in history represented a beacon of freedom and opportunity. In June of 2009, he travelled to Cairo to proclaim “a new beginning” in America’s dealings with other nations, including especially those of the Islamic world. Barely nine months later, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize amid immense praise and adulation for his idealism. The chairman of the Nobel judges panel said of Obama’s selection that “we have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year.” [Read more...]

What About Meriam, President Obama?

Sen. Inhofe calls for a Sudanese woman sentenced to death to receive asylum.

meriam ibrahimby Peter Roff

No one knows how much attention the Obama administration is paying to the plight of a Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to renounce her faith, but the lack of pictures of first lady Michelle Obama holding a #FreeMeriamIbrahim sign suggests it’s not very much.

The story of Meriam Ibrahim, whom the Sudanese government has decided was raised in a Muslim environment, meaning she must renounce her belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ or die, has not gotten the same level of attention as the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by a terrorist group that objects to their receiving an education. Nonetheless it is, from an American perspective, just as if not more important because she is the wife of a U.S. citizen, and should, therefore, be a priority for the president and his national security team. [Read more...]

Save Meriam Ibrahim

Obama and the rest of the world need to come to the aid of a Sudanese woman sentenced to death.

cartoon_moderate_taliban_radical_extremist_islamby Peter Roff 

It only took about a month, but now the entire country is following the unfolding story of the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were abducted from their school by an Islamic terrorist group called Boko Haram, which reportedly means “western education is sinful.” News accounts indicate the group’s leader has repeatedly threatened to sell the girls, leading some commentators to upbraid the United States and the Obama administration for its seeming indifference to their plight.

Negotiations between the Nigerian government and the kidnappers have repeatedly broken down, according to news reports, as tensions rise. Though they have now reportedly been located, Nigerian Defense Chief Air Marshal Alex Badeh said Monday there would be no effort to rescue them, lest they all be killed. [Read more...]

Punch and Judy Foreign Policy

Obama Failed Policyby Major Garrett

For President Obama, caution in the defense of liberty is no vice, and militarism in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Obama didn’t come to Asia to paraphrase Barry Goldwater’s acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican National Convention. But he did after growing frustrated with recent editorial criticism portraying his foreign policy as weak and naive.

It started in Seoul, where Obama faced a second day of questions from reporters in Japan and South Korea about his commitment to defend these allies in the face of Chinese and North Korean military muscle-flexing. [Read more...]

Foreign Policy of Denial

obama_frownby Charles Krauthammer

Barack Obama’s 949-word response Monday to a question about foreign policy weakness showed the president at his worst: defensive, irritable, contradictory and at times detached from reality. It began with a complaint about negative coverage on Fox News, when, in fact, it was the New York Times’ front page that featured Obama’s foreign policy failures, most recently the inability to conclude a trade agreement with Japan and the collapse of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Middle East negotiations.

Add to this the collapse of not one but two Geneva conferences on Syria, American helplessness in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine and the Saudi king’s humiliating dismissal of Obama within two hours of talks — no dinner — after Obama made a special 2,300-mile diversion from Europe to see him, and you have an impressive litany of serial embarrassments. [Read more...]

Is Menendez Knuckling Under Foreign Policy Hardball?

Obama IranThe Foreign Relations Committee chairman has been strangely quiescent – is it because of his scandals?

by Peter Roff

We’re not seeing a lot of leadership from the U.S. Senate these days on issues in the foreign relations arena. Perhaps that’s because the chairman of the relevant committee, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, believes his current ethical troubles make him politically vulnerable, making it best to keep a low profile.

This creates a dangerous situation for the country given the Senate’s special role in foreign affairs. The continuing scandal surrounding Menendez means he may no longer be able to lead on issues where his views diverge from those held by the president, Secretary of State John F. Kerry or other senior administration officials for fear that some damaging piece of information about him may be leaked to the major news media like the New York Times – which called in February of 2013 for him to step away from the chairmanship. [Read more...]

Foreign Policy Failures Prove Critics Right

The President once promised to tackle “cynicism” about what could be achieved through diplomacy. But he’s nowhere near close to doing that.

Obama Foreign Policy Failedby Michael Crowley

In a rough month of a rough year of a rough second term for Barack Obama’s foreign policy, Thursday was a particularly rough day.

It began with dour news from the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he won’t negotiate with a unified Palestinian government that includes both moderate Fatah and radical Gaza-based Hamas. Shorter version: the already-gasping Middle East peace process is likely dead for the remainder of Obama’s presidency. [Read more...]

Vlad the Prevaricator

putin russiaTalks in Geneva on the unrest in eastern Ukraine have concluded with an agreement by the foreign ministers of the European Union, Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. for all sides to “de-escalate tensions and restore security.”

Measured by the hour, the talks were a success: They went on much longer than expected. Measured by results? Not so good. While the EU and the U.S. wait to see if the terms of the agreement are put into effect, the chances of any further sanctions on Russia are slim. [Read more...]

Hungary’s Moribund Democracy

Budapest Hungaryby Dr. Miklos Radvanyi & Dr. Istvan Molnar

The results of the latest national elections in Hungary on April 6, 2014, proved that history in this ancient land of the Magyars only moves in one direction, namely, backwards. Nowhere in central and eastern Europe are the legacies of the painful defeats of two world wars, the idiotic governance of Miklos Horthy, the catastrophic alliance with Nazi Germany, and the destructive communist dictatorship so unresolved as in this country. For this reason, Hungary unites the three sicknesses that obstruct the future; confused submersion under the nation’s bloody history, desperation about the perceived individual and collective hopelessness, and an all-consuming hatred that is being released spontaneously as well as systematically, in the form of chauvinism, xenophobia, and sheer materialistic envy. [Read more...]

Americans Disapprove of Obama’s Foreign Policy

ObamaCare-ObamaPresident Barack Obama’s foreign policy approval rating continues to drop as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains unresolved, CBS News reports.

Just 36 percent of Americans polled approve of Obama’s foreign policy overall. This compares to the 39 percent approval rating he received just last month.

Forty-six percent of those polled disapprove of how Obama is handling the situation between Russia and Ukraine. Thirty-eight percent approve. [Read more...]

How Obama Should Have Handled the Crimea Crisis

crimea_russiaHere are the steps a strong leader would have taken.

by Peter Roff

If America had a robust foreign policy, “the crisis in the Crimea” might never have come to pass. If America had a strong president, someone the world regarded as capable and decisive, Russian President Vladimir Putin might have thought twice about sending troops into the region with orders to make it officially a part of the Russian Federation once again.

Unfortunately, America at the moment has neither. Instead, a weak and feckless president who has chosen to surround himself with an ideological and inexperienced national security team is standing by, hands in pockets, because there is likely nothing the United States can do to change the outcome.

A strong president, a Jack Kennedy or a Ronald Reagan — someone who had command of the nation’s policymaking machine and a clear worldview that involved America as the guardian of world freedom against a dark, evil, expansionist regime in Moscow — would have already committed to a series of steps designed to demonstrate the seriousness of America, speaking on behalf of the western world, to recent events. [Read more...]

Fantasy-Based Foreign Policy

Putin Obama Russiaby Stephen F. Hayes

On February 23, five days before Russia invaded Ukraine, National Security Adviser Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press and shrugged off suggestions that Russia was preparing any kind of military intervention: “It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence returned and the situation escalate.” A return to a “Cold War construct” isn’t necessary, Rice insisted, because such thinking “is long out of date” and “doesn’t reflect the realities of the 21st century.” Even if Vladimir Putin sees the world this way, Rice argued, it is “not in the United States’ interests” to do so.

It was a remarkably transparent case of pretending the world is what we wish it to be, rather than seeing it as it is.

On February 28, Russian troops poured into Ukraine. As they did, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart. Kerry briefed reporters after their talk, plainly unaware of the developments on the ground. Kerry said that Russia wants to help Ukraine with its economic problems. Lavrov had told him “that they are prepared to be engaged and be involved in helping to deal with the economic transition that needs to take place at this point.” [Read more...]

Obama’s mistaken belief that others see the world as he sees it

Obama Lazyby Michael Barone

Solipsism. It’s a fancy word that means that the self is the only existing reality and that the external world, including other people, are representations of one’s own self and can have no independent existence. A person who follows this philosophy may believe that others see the world as he does and will behave as he would.

It’s a quality often found in narcissists, people who greatly admire themselves — such as a presidential candidate confident that he is a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, knows more about policy than his policy directors and is a better political director than his political director.

If that sounds familiar, it’s a paraphrase of what President Obama told top political aide Patrick Gaspard in 2008, according to the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. [Read more...]

Obama’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Iran_nuclearIt isn’t surprising that the US and the other five powers signed a deal with Iran on Saturday. Over the past few weeks, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear that they were committed to signing a deal with Iran as quickly as possible.

And it isn’t surprising that the deal these overeager leaders signed with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism makes the world a much more dangerous place than it was before the agreement was concluded.

With the US and its allies far more eager to reach an accord with Iran on its illicit nuclear weapons program than Iran was, it was obvious from the outset that any deal ultimately reached, at least as long as these negotiating conditions remained in force, would facilitate rather than inhibit Iran’s quest to build a nuclear arsenal. And indeed, the sanctions relief that Iran has gained simply by signing on the dotted line will be sufficient to buffet the Iranian economy through a successful nuclear weapons test. [Read more...]