Obama Foreign Policy: Seriously Sub-Optimal

Pictures of Barack Obama bowing courtesy of today’s Drudge Report.

Overview.

I’m not going to hammer on the president for his choice of words on Jon Stewart. I’m not a fan of the Dems’ insulting attempts at faux outrage over things like “binders” so I’ll not do anything but quote our president. But we can safely say, as President Obama did, when Americans die our president’s foreign policy is obviously “not optimal.” And when you look back at the past four years, really, we can’t say what’s happened are mere “bumps in the road,” either, but the result of having chosen the wrong road altogether. Today in the New York Post Amir Taheri put it more succinctly: the president’s foreign policy has “failed.”

So before tonight’s debate about foreign policy, let’s remind ourselves just how sub-optimal this president’s foreign policy has been, and how bumpy the road was. People may criticize Mitt for not having foreign policy experience, but Obama only has four more years than Mitt has, having had none when he started on the job training. The question is whether Barack Obama learned anything during that time, and perhaps the biggest indictment contained in the mess in Libya is that his record indicates he hasn’t learned what he needs to, and is willing to close his eyes to the obvious in favor of a narrative that supports, if tenuously, his world view. Meanwhile I’m sure someone else with a different philosophy, like peace through American strength, would do a lot better.

His One Argument: bin Laden

Let’s start by giving the president partial credit for his one “achievement.” In a true team effort, American intelligence, after years of searching that culminated during the Obama administration, was able to find Osama bin Laden. The president then sent a team of experts into Pakistan to kill him. Still, a number of things still trouble me about this “success.”

First, the president’s beaming over the mission and “spiking the football.” While it’s a comforting thought bin Laden is no longer a threat, call me old fashioned but it does not seem appropriate to throw a party when anyone is killed, even if a confessed terrorist and murderer. The appropriate attitude seems to be one of quiet gratitude, and confidence we were able to accomplish what we needed to protect American citizens from harm. But not elation.

Second, the president’s taking personal credit for the achievement. What happened was a success due to years of work starting in the Bush administration and involving hundreds if not thousands of people from intelligence gatherers to planners of the raid to those who actually executed it. Let’s not forget the president watched it on TV, and was not on the ground personally in Pakistan. He deserves credit as the person at the head of the team, but to the extent he deserves that credit, he deserves as much blame for what went wrong in Libya. And gracious leaders give credit where due. I agree he should be congratulated for making the decision to move forward. He took a risk and it paid off. But I disagree with President Clinton’s assessment that this decision took any special fortitude. I believe Mitt’s right that any president would have made the same decision. So Obama’s credit is for being in the seat at the head of table when the team succeeded, and for calling for the two-point conversion to win the game. He succeeded, and gets the credit for that strategic decision. But it was the team on the field, not him that deserves any glory, and an end-zone dance seems particularly inappropriate.

Third, in his desire to take personal credit, the president shared sensitive intelligence information. He volunteered the identity of the team that carried it out, putting them and their families in danger. And this was one of many leaks, coming per Dianne Feinstein directly out of the White House, of sensitive US information. The president seems willing to compromise security when it suits his political purposes, which I find difficult to condone.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the success of this one mission does not mean Al Qaeda is really “on the run,” as has been claimed by the Dems. They’re still in Afghanistan and now are in Libya. And whatever the president’s policy in this regard, despite bin Laden’s removal, the date of Al Qaeda’s last successful terrorist attack is no longer 9/11/01. It’s 9/11/12.

Now, to more problematic issues: world hot spots

1. Libya. Four Americans are killed in Libya despite pleas for additional security. Reports out of the State Department, the intelligence community and the White House contradict who knew what when. Immediately after the attack the president made a generically deniable statement about not letting terrorism deter us, but spent the next two weeks allowing the American people to believe it’s somehow the fault of our freedom of speech and an obscure YouTube video, using rhetoric that could suggest we somehow deserve what happened. Why? Again President Obama and the Democrats insisted on “spiking the football” over Osama bin Laden’s death at their convention, such that it’s an inconvenient truth that Al Qaeda is not really “on the run,” especially in Libya where the president is trying to take credit for “leading from behind.” Contrary to his assertions, Libya is not a model for American foreign policy success as it is now the site of the first assassination of an ambassador in 30 years.

Judge Jeanine of Fox lets it out here:

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Romney: More to Gain Than to Lose in Last Debate

Well, the final Presidential debate will be over in less than 24 hours.

I’m sensing a certain level of stress among some Romney supporters in the lead up to this debate. Sure, it’s human nature to feel anxious just before a big event … especially when we are so invested in Mitt’s success. But I’m not nervous one bit, and here’s why ….

Governor (soon to be “President Elect”) Romney has much more to gain than to lose in this debate. It’s Obama that has the tough job tonight. The non-incumbent challenger generally has a low-bar to clear in these debates. They only have to 1) show that they can credibly be Commander-in-Chief and 2) avoid major gaffes. Mitt has shown that he is more than capable of achieving this based on his first two debate showings.

Much of the “who won the debate?” game is about expectations. Obama was widely expected to be a superior debater/communicator, and it was a race-changing event when he lost the first debate so dramatically. This set up debate number two, where Obama had reset his bar down to the floor. As such, many observers felt that he “won” the second debate (by a much narrower margin than the 1st debate, and more on style than on actual issues according to polls). But the President’s “win” was really more of a “most improved” award … we’ve seen no bounce in the polls for him at all.

Conventional wisdom is that Obama is supposed to trounce Governor Romney tonight, since the topic is Foreign Policy. The problem for Obama, is that his supposed foreign policy superiority is already “baked into the cake” of his poll numbers/support. Obama’s problem arises from the fact that his foreign policy successes begin and end with “Bin Laden is dead.” Sure, that’s a HUGE point, but it’s sort of hard to talk about THAT for 90 minutes straight. And no voter is going to change his mind to vote for Obama on this issue. “Hey yeah, Obama got Bin Laden … I had forgotten that. I guess I’ll vote for him now.”

Even those formerly on Obama’s foreign policy team decidedly do NOT see this as a strength for him (be sure to read that scathing rebuke!).

The debate will give Mitt an opportunity to, once again, unexpectedly impress voters on the depth and breadth of his international experience and knowledge. The media have painted him as a lightweight on foreign policy, someone out of his depth. Mitt can and will highlight his substantial foreign exposure through his public, private, and religious experiences.

The wildcard issue for tonight is Banghazi … and not in a good way for Obama.


Despite the President’s higher foreign policy numbers in general, this recent Ohio poll (that was even a +8% Dem sample) showed Mitt UP 49%-47% on the question: “Do you trust Barack Obama or Mitt Romney more on the issue of Libya?” Mitt did miss an opportunity to fully expose Obama on Libya in debate #2. Don’t expect a replay of that tonight …

Romney’s Foreign Policy Speech (VIDEO, full text): Confidence, Clarity, Resolve

Mitt Romney delivers a foreign policy speech at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA., today, Oct 8, 2012. (Photo – Charles Dharapak/AP)

In a sweeping critique of Obama’s lead-from-behind foreign policy, Governor Mitt Romney today delivered a powerful, robust foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute. Speaking of the recent explosion of violence and upheaval in the Middle East, Romney said it is “time to change course in the Middle East.”

Punctuating his national security positions before his next presidential debate on October 16th with Obama (foreign policy will be the topic), Romney said, “That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them… no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them… and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America’s capability to back up our words.”

Foreign policy expert and columnist, K.T. McFarland, today on television program ‘The Five’ (FOX News) enthusiastically exclaimed, ”I’ve been waiting 20 years for this speech! He [Romney] was channeling Reagan!” She also went on to say Romney’s “speech was actually really phenomenal and I commend him for doing it!” (MccFarland served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs under President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1985 and speech writer for Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.)

‘The Mantel of Leadership’:


Transcript:

I particularly appreciate the introduction from my good friend and tireless campaign companion, Gov. Bob McDonnell. He is showing what conservative leadership can do to build a stronger economy. Thank you also Congressman Goodlatte for joining us today. And particular thanks to Gen. Peay. I appreciate your invitation to be with you today at the Virginia Military Institute. It is a great privilege to be here at an Institution that has done so much for our nation, both in war and in peace.

For more than 170 years, VMI has done more than educate students. It has guided their transformation into citizens, and warriors, and leaders. VMI graduates have served with honor in our nation’s defense, just as many are doing today in Afghanistan and other lands. Since the September 11th attacks, many of VMI’s sons and daughters have defended America, and I mourn with you the 15 brave souls who have been lost. I join you in praying for the many VMI graduates and all Americans who are now serving in harm’s way. May God bless all who serve, and all who have served.

Of all the VMI graduates, none is more distinguished than George Marshall—the Chief of Staff of the Army who became Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, who helped to vanquish fascism and then planned Europe’s rescue from despair. His commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences of war.

General Marshall once said, “The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.” Those words were true in his time—and they still echo in ours.

Last month, our nation was attacked again. A U.S. Ambassador and three of our fellow Americans are dead — murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Among the dead were three veterans. All of them were fine men, on a mission of peace and friendship to a nation that dearly longs for both. President Obama has said that Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues represented the best of America. And he is right. We all mourn their loss.

The attacks against us in Libya were not an isolated incident. They were accompanied by anti-American riots in nearly two dozen other countries, mostly in the Middle East, but also in Africa and Asia. Our embassies have been attacked. Our flag has been burned. Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs, shouting “Death to America.” These mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

As the dust settles, as the murdered are buried, Americans are asking how this happened, how the threats we face have grown so much worse, and what this calls on America to do. These are the right questions. And I have come here today to offer a larger perspective on these tragic recent events—and to share with you, and all Americans, my vision for a freer, more prosperous, and more peaceful world.

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Foreign Policy #ObamaIsntWorking

If President Obama did as bad as he did in the debate on domestic policy, what is going to happen when the debates turn to the topic of foreign policy?

A Campaign About…Nothing (and other thoughts)

Is Obama intentionally, in the words of Reince Priebus, or John Ransom, running a Seinfeld campaign “about nothing,” hoping to win solely on likeability? In listening to XM Sirius’ “POTUS” channel Wednesday in my car I was struck by Julie Mason’s comment that this presidential campaign has lacked serious substance. We did get a brief glimmer of hope when Mitt chose Paul Ryan, as folks seemed encouraged by the boldness of the pick and Mitt’s staking ground in the debate about the size of the Federal budget. Ms. Mason lamented that the campaigns, however, have seemed to retreat from that attempt, and that if she craves something like a debate about the proper size and role of government it must mean there’s a real deficiency in her diet, like when she craves spinach. I agree, and quickly responded with a tweet reminding her that Mitt has a proposal, just one of many not responded to in any way to my knowledge by the Obama campaign (while they focus on attacks on Mitt’s personality), to limit government spending to 20% of GDP. Meanwhile Obama ducks the traditional bi-lateral meetings surrounding the UN General Assembly in New York to be filmed on The View. The administration’s quietly stated reason? Too much room for error. So not having meetings to build international relationships and help avoid little things like war over Iran was a a political calculation. The president is likely to make a gaffe or make a promise he can’t deliver on. So he decided to just keep away from problematic stuff like doing his job so he could cultivate his celebrity image. According to Time:

Of course, meeting with world leaders when you don’t know if you’ll still have your job in the next few weeks, can be potentially awkward. It can lead to unfortunate hot-mic gaffes, of which Obama has not been immune (for example, in Seoul earlier this year he asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to be flexible on missile defense until after the election, when Obama would have more space to maneuver–too much diplomatic candor for the sensitive electoral season). Still, ignoring the opportunity to meet one-on-one with world leaders underlined where Obama’s attention is fixed: the campaign. And it was the election that dominated the taping of The View. That, and the inside skinny of the Obama family’s schedule.

So he seems to want to float above the fray and not engage in the discussion, just repeating the same old lines about Bain Capital and exporting jobs. On that point, if you haven’t seen it yet, read this article in the New York Post pointing out just whose money is at Bain. Hint: unions, retirement funds and academic institutions are who trusted Mitt to make money for them. Turns out corporations he helped succeed are made up of people (their investors) and the left has known it all along! (more…)

Obama Should Adopt Mitt’s Motto: “No Apology”

Reuters reported Thursday that the challenges in the Middle East over the past week represent a “perfect storm” of problems for President Obama.

An eruption of violent unrest across the Middle East is confronting President Barack Obama with the most serious challenge yet to his efforts to keep the Arab Spring from morphing into a new wave of anti-Americanism – and he has few good options to prevent it.

Less than two months before the U.S. presidential election, a spate of attacks on embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen poses a huge dilemma for a U.S. leader who took office promising a “new beginning” with the Muslim world but has struggled to manage the transformation that has swept away many of the region’s long-ruling dictators.

Perhaps a “new beginning” wasn’t what was needed in the region after all. Perhaps instead an unequivocal message of America’s willingness to protect itself is what’s needed. We’ll talk, sure, but we’ll also stand up for ourselves. Warning: naked cartoon Obama below the fold. (more…)

Main Stream Media & Middle East: Irrationally Vilify Romney to Protect Obama

Protesters rip an American flag pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo as they hoist a black flag similar to an Al Qaeda banner on Sept. 11, 2012. (PHOTO – Mohammed Abu Zaid/AP)

Four Americans, including our Libyan ambassador, have been murdered by radical Islamists. Additional embassy employees have been injured. (No Marines to protect our embassy on the 11th anniversary of 9/11… Huh?) Chaos and violence continues to spread throughout the middle east; angry crowds in Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, Oman, along with demonstrators in Egypt, continue to fill the streets. The Muslim Mafiahood Brotherhood is calling for DEATH TO AMERICA and a massive protest after prayers on Friday. Our sovereign property, American embassies, have been breached, our fences covered in graffiti, items stolen, vehicles torched, emblems torn down, and our flags are burning. Along with our Egyptian embassy, U.S. embassies in at least nine other countries are warning of further attacks and urge Americans to curtail activities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Burundi, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Sudan, Tunisia and Zambia.

In the midst of this mayhem, pandemonium, and visceral display of hatred for America, guess what bothers the mainstream media the most?

Mitt Romney.

He responded to the chaos.

Headlines, commentary, tweets, etc shout “How dare he?!”

Yes, it’s driving them nuts – more than the attacks themselves.

Thanks to new media, we’ve learned a nasty little secret about the traveling press corp following Romney. They coordinated ‘GOTCHA’ questions to demonize Mitt Romney for having the audacity to issue a statement on Obama’s unguarded reaction to these events. Listen to the voices of CBS reporter Jan Crawford and Ari Shapiro from NPR:

CBS REPORTER: Yeah that’s the question. I would just say do you regret your question.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Your question? Your statement?

CBS REPORTER: I mean your statement. Not even the tone, because then he can go off on…

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And then if he does, if we can just follow up and say ‘but this morning your answer is continuing to sound…’ – *becomes unintelligble*

CBS REPORTER: You can’t say that..

The transcript also noted this exchange, with a man Graham said is not Shapiro:

CBS REPORTER: I’m just trying to make sure that we’re just talking about, no matter who he calls on we’re covered on the one question.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you stand by your statement or regret your statement?

There is more information here.

Here’s just one example of the relentless mainstream media assault on Romney (from Obama-loving CNN): Richard Williamson, Romney’s Senior Foreign Policy Adviser was interviewed by Chris Lemon yesterday (Hat tip to Matt Hadro on Newsbusters; see transcript and more here.):

Headline from the Wall Street Journal yesterday: Romney Offends the Pundits

Tuesday’s assaults on the U.S. Embassies in Benghazi and Cairo have injected foreign policy into the Presidential campaign, but suddenly the parsons of the press corps are offended by the debate. They’re upset that Mitt Romney had the gall to criticize the State Department for a statement that the White House itself disavowed.

We’re referring to the statement issued Tuesday under the headline “U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement.”

Mr. Romney reacted late Tuesday with his own statement: “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

The Obama Presidential campaign jumped on the remarks Wednesday as inappropriate, yet a “senior Administration official” had told the website Politico later on Tuesday night that “The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government.” So the White House can walk away from its own diplomats, but Mr. Romney can’t criticize them?

As Tuesday’s events showed, pandering to Islamists who would use the video to inflame anti-American sentiment isn’t going to stop the protests.

His political faux pax was to offend a pundit class that wants to cede the foreign policy debate to Mr. Obama without thinking seriously about the trouble for America that is building in the world.

It’s appalling how the mainstream media is tripping over themselves to condemn Romney – especially BEFORE uttering a word of condemnation for the terrorists. We continue to see a shameful lock-step march to shield our call-the-shots-from-behind President. The way they’ve portrayed Romney’s words as far more important than the actual events is insane!

Yesterday, while speaking to CBS News’ 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, (an institution where Obama walks on water), Obama attempted to minimize Romney for his reaction to the Cairo embassy attack: “Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.” Tripe! Then, with sickening photos of our battered, fallen ambassador racing across the internet and middle east foreign policy unraveling, Obama skipped out on the daily security briefing (he’s missed half of them since being elected) and sashayed off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas.

Crass – just crass.

Here’s a VIDEO timeline of events:

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Romney Notes G.I. Bill Anniversary: Day One, Will Work to Create Jobs for Vets

It’s a battle they shouldn’t have to fight…

Commander-in-Chief Obama has bequeathed an onerous economy upon Iraq and Afghanistan U.S. veterans. According to last month’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, vets face a 12.7% unemployment rate (the actual number is higher than reported due to many having stopped searching for work). Here’s a punch-in-the-gut story of IAVA Member Carlos Pena of Jamaica, Queens:

… Carlos has served 12 years in the National Guard and three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. On his last deployment in 2011, he helped run security for the US Army Corps of Engineers on construction projects throughout Afghanistan. The number of combat patrols he went on might not mean much in the civilian world, but the fact that he had worked on multiple infrastructure projects that totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars certainly does. While Carlos’ peers were practicing economic hypotheticals in the classroom, he was conducting real world scenarios in a warzone under the most stressful conditions. Yet, he’s struggling to find a full-time job to support his family now that he’s back home. And unfortunately, his story is all too familiar to those in the military and veterans community.

A look at one of a number of job fairs held yesterday for vets:

Governor Romney is keenly aware of the struggles our U.S. vets have been handed by the Obama administration as they seek to find civilian work. He’s committed to strengthening veterans’ employment opportunities by solving our economic crisis and ensuring this century is an American century for them and all of us.

In honor of our vets and in commemoration today of the 68th anniversary of the G.I. Bill, Governor Mitt Romney made the following statement:

“Sixty-eight years ago today, the G.I. Bill became law. It was an exemplary act that gave unparalleled opportunities to America’s Greatest Generation, the millions of veterans who answered our country’s call in the supreme emergency of World War II. Today, we have a new Greatest Generation that has answered our country’s call in the aftermath of 9/11. They have stood for us through many hard trials, and we must stand by them. That obligation begins with restoring our economy to health. Those returning from the front lines should not be coming home to unemployment lines. As president, I will work from day one to turn around America’s economy and create good jobs for veterans and for all Americans.”

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Presidential Command in Leadership and Debate . . . . . . . A Request to Take Nothing for Granted or Let Up

Note: See my short debate analysis at the end of this post (below the fold). Hint: One word in the title above says it all for me.

Voters in New Hampshire will make their mark in two and half days. If you have been following the news in the mainstream media (MSM) and in the “new media”, much of it is positive for Governor Romney.

Please don’t allow yourself and others to be lulled by any positive news about Governor Romney.

Governor Romney


This site, MittRomneyCentral.com is a grassroots website promoting the candidacy of Mitt Romney for President of the United States. Those of us that write for MRC, and many of our readers, are working very hard behind the scenes to help Governor Romney succeed in every caucus and primary state until he garners at least 1,150 delegates. We cannot let up until that is accomplished.

In recent days, including this morning, and throughout the day, Governor Romney has been asking volunteers and voters who wish to help out, to not let up. He specifically referred to survey results and polls that have emerged showing him leading in NH, SC, or nationally. The one audio clip I actually heard today from Governor Romney was his almost pleading not to let up. He asked his supporters to more or less ignore the polls and do whatever they can to help him get voters to the booths in New Hampshire next Tuesday. He said he has seen polls change dramatically, even the day of the vote. We have all witnessed voting results that disappointed because voters had presumed their candidate had a comfortable lead. We simply cannot let that happen in any primary state, including New Hampshire.

Please do whatever you can to encourage and motivate all volunteers and voters — within your influence — in New Hampshire to get as many people out Tuesday to vote for Governor Romney. I guarantee that Ron Paul supporters will never let up and they are determined to win. We must outperform them and all other candidates’ supporters by a factor of 10! Governor Romney is not taking anything for granted and we must follow his lead with even greater intensity.

Bush Library, College Station, TX


Now, to my second favorite subject at MRC: Mr. Newt Gingrich. How can I say it best? At the risk of sounding entirely cliche, Gingrich is the gift that just keeps on giving! I can honestly say here publicly that I sincerely hope Gingrich never drops out of the race. He is a truly amazing human being. I don’t think he is a short man, but he seems to exhibit the Napoleon Syndrome. He continues to say things that simply defy all logic and he cannot see it. It is fascinating how he so easily allows his intelligence to be completely overridden by his ego. Fascinating!

You may wonder why I keep focus on Mr. Gingrich. The reason is that I think he is dangerous (much like a cornered Doberman Pinscher), though he seems quite determined to marginalize himself at warp speed. Bar none, the very best candidate declaration of the 2011 political year was this one by Mr. Gingrich. Does it get any better than that? In the same breath he says he doesn’t mind if people attack him and then he spends the next several weeks throwing tantrums about the attacks by several candidates, but blaming them all on Governor Romney.

Here’s great analysis in this note for example from HotAir:

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Obama Shame — Results of a Novice Leader: Not Learning on the Job

To this day, I continue to be stunned that any significant number of Americans would choose a man as President of the United States that not only had no executive leadership experience but who had virtually no leadership training or skill-set.

Political Cartoonist, Michael Ramirez (Investors.com)

Then, to even consider reelecting such a person after his incredible failure of trial and error completely defies rational thinking.

“Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.” — John Adams

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