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’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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Best Friends Forever! Socialist Despot Hugo Chavez: I’d vote for Obama & Vice Versa

Yesterday, Venezuela’s dictatorial oppressor, Hugo Chavez, declared his best-friend-forever status with Barack Obama. (In July, Chavez, endorsed Barack Obama for another four years in the White House; yesterday made it a double ‘thumbs-up’ for Obama.):

With both presidents facing tight re-election fights, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez gave a surprise endorsement to Barack Obama on Sunday – and said the U.S. leader no doubt felt the same. “I hope this doesn’t harm Obama, but if I was from the United States, I’d vote for Obama,” the socialist Chavez said of a man he first reached out to in 2009… Chavez is running for a new six-year term against opposition challenger Henrique Capriles, while Obama seeks re-election in November against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Venezuela’s election is next weekend. “Obama is a good guy … I think that if Obama was from Barlovento or some Caracas neighborhood, he’d vote for Chavez,” the president told state TV, referring to a poor coastal town known for the African roots of its population.

Regarding Hugo’s campaign race next weekend between himself and Henrique Capriles… surprise! Hugo is projecting victories for himself and Obama; plus, he likes the way Obama talks about the El Comandante administration:

But Chavez was back in a conciliatory mood in a TV interview with friend and former vice president Jose Vicente Rangel.

“After our triumph and the supposed, probable triumph of President Obama, with the extreme right defeated here and there, I hope we could start a new period of normal relations with the United States,” he said.

Obama recently said something very rational and fair … that Venezuela is no threat to the interests of the United States,” he added.

Obama’s thinking that Venezuela isn’t a threat to the interests of America sounds like a bit of wishful thinking with a quart of whitewash thrown in – kind of like his earlier statements when he said “the private sector is doing just fine” and the economy can be fixed if people “buy thingamajigs“. Chavez is thick-as-thieves with Ahmadinejad; in recent years, he’s met with the Iranian President at least nine times in Iran and Ahmadinejad has courted Chavez on or around his home turf at least six times. Chavez prides himself for thinking he’s at the head of a world-wide anti-imperialist effort (inspired by and in cahoots with mentor Fidel Castro). Ahmadinejad has called Chavez “a great revolutionary that is resisting against imperialism by defending the rights of his people, Latin America and the peoples of the world.”

Jan 9, 2012 – Bosom buddy oppressors Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, right, and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, joke together at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. (PHOTO – Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty)

Chavez has said he’ll stand by Ahmadinejad “under any circumstances” – that pursuing ties with Iran is a “holy matter” for Venezuela.

Ahmadinejad, in turn, has thanked Chavez for his “brotherly stance” in backing Iran in the face of international sanctions.

Venezuela is making unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, with the help of Iran, Chavez said June 13 [2012] on national television.

The two countries in 2007 also established in Caracas the Banco Internacional de Desarrollo, which together with its main Iranian shareholder, Bank Saderat, is accused by the U.S. of being a vehicle for the Ahmadinejad government’s funding of Middle Eastern terrorist group Hezbollah.

According to Bloomberg’s Charlie Devereux, a bigger concern for our national security is what Chavez and Ahmadinejad are cooking up – which could include possible plans to use Venezuela as a launch pad for attacks against America if diplomatic relations with Iran continue to sour.

Townhall’s Guy Benson:

And what about Obama’s “very rational and fair” assessment of Venezuela’s position on the world stage? The notion that Caracas poses no “serious” threat to US interest might come as news to some:

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Operation Hot Mic – Agent Flexible

Although American Crossroads video is laced with humor, the fact remains frightening! With an agenda contrary to American interests, Obama unchecked in a very dangerous world is frightening. A Foreign Policy of appeasement and accommodation is not a Foreign Policy – it is, however, a road to ruin. Mitt Romney said it on 60 minutes tonight – this is about FREEDOM!

Where are the Trends? Who has the Advantage?

It resonates that truth is reason! The current trends and facts seem to contradict the mainstream media. Hugh Hewitt addresses in his lastest blog (see below), as does Rasmussen in his latest daily tracking poll.

Monday, September 17, 2012
The Threats Are Growing. The Economy Isn’t: Romney 2
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 10:07 AM

Rasmussen’s daily edged up 1 for Romney, for a 2 point overall lead among likely voters, and as Jay Cost notes, the real news avalanche is decisively against the president.

The threat of Islamist terror is growing. The threat from Iran is growing. The threat of increasing joblessness is growing. The threat to the dollar is growing. China and Russia – more growing threats. Now there is rioting in Indonesia.

And the media obsess on inside-the-campaign-baseball whether it is alleged drama about the Romney campaign’s Stuart Stevens or the president’s Svengali Valerie Jarrett.

Only in the increasingly bizarre world of Manhattan-Beltway elite media is the tale of two speeches at the GOP convention big news as the Middle East slides towards war in no small measure brought about by American weakness. (Here is the short form, btw: Romney advisor Stevens ordered up a speech from very smart guy Pete Wehner. Romney, per usual, decided to write his own, demonstrating again a seriousness that POTUS does not have as well as a talent that totally eludes the president.)

The polls have already turned in the wake of the atrocity and disasters last week. MSM remains a good ten days behind any real news curve, but the voters are not behind that curve. That’s the story: A failing, flailing president whose designated spokesperson for the weekend had to declare “We are not impotent.”

Russian Warships used by Democrats as Backdrop at DNC

We’re not making this up! This photograph of Soviet-era combatants used at the DNC is a composite. As such, I find it impossible to believe that the inclusion of not one, not two, not three, but four Russian warships as the central figures of military power was a mistake. Right… Whoever compiled the different images into one photograph had to know the source of the warships photo. This was no mistake! Don’t let them tell you it was.

Retired Admiral John Nathman speaks on stage with military veterans during the final day of the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6 in Charlotte, N.C. Experts say the ships in the background are Russian.

Sam Fellman of Navy Times wrote:

While retired Adm. John Nathman, a former commander of Fleet Forces Command, honored vets as America’s best, the ships from the Russian Federation Navy were arrayed like sentinels on the big screen above.

These were the very Soviet-era combatants that Nathman and Cold Warriors like him had once squared off against.

“The ships are definitely Russian,” said noted naval author Norman Polmar after reviewing hi-resolution photos from the event. “There’s no question of that in my mind.”

Naval experts concluded the background was a photo composite of Russian ships that were overflown by what appear to be U.S. trainer jets.
[...]
“I was kind of in shock,” said Rob Barker, 38, a former electronics warfare technician who left the Navy in 2006. Having learned to visually identify foreign ships by their radars, Barker recognized the closest ship as the Kara-class cruiser Kerch.
[...]
But the fact they are Russian ships is not in doubt. In addition to the ship’s radar arrays and hulls, which are dissimilar from U.S. warships, the photo features one more give-away: a large white flag with a blue ‘X’ at the ships’ sterns.

Polmar, who authored “The Naval Institute Guide to the Soviet Navy,” recognized the blue ‘X’-mark: “The X is the Cross of St. Andrew’s, which is a Russian Navy symbol,” Polmar said. (An anchored U.S. warship, by contrast, flies the American flag on its stern.)

[emphasis added]

There is no way this is a mistake. The joke is on the American people! The photograph of Russian naval ships is obviously a stock image and as with any stock photograph, rights have to be purchased in order to use the image in any public forum. The person that procured the license to the image would have been completely informed of the source of the image. That is a fact. There is no doubt about that. Let’s watch how Obama’s team dances around this one! They are probably laughing about this.


American Values: “In God We Trust” — “Liberty” — “E Pluribus Unum”

Twitter Follow: @VicLundquist – Dedicated to all members of The United States military and their families

Romney: “Obama’s ‘Reset’ Policy Toward Russia Has Clearly Failed”

Kremlin in Moscow, Russia


From Mitt Romney Press:

Mitt Romney today made the following statement on President Obama’s failed Russia policy:

“President Obama’s ‘reset’ policy toward Russia has clearly failed. Russia has openly armed and protected a murderous regime in Syria, frustrated international sanctions on Iran, and opposed American efforts on a range of issues. This is an unfortunate failure of President Obama’s foreign policy.”


Obama met Putin in 2009.




March 25, 2012 - Caught on mic unbeknownst to President Obama at a press conference with then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Seoul:

Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space.”

Medvedev: (then out-going Russian President): “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you …”

Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”


May 18-19, 2012: Vladimir Putin did not attend the G-8 Summit hosted by Obama at Camp David.

Dmitri Medvedev & Vladimir Putin



Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer

Obama to Russia’s Medvedev/Putin: ♫ Let’s Stay Together ♪♫

Artist/cartoonist Sal Velluto doesn’t miss a beat.

♫ Here’s America’s Crooner-in-Chief… ♪♫

*Let’s Stay Together

I’m, I’m so in love with you
Whatever you want to do
It’s alright with me
‘Cause you make me feel so brand new
I want to spend my life with you
Things just ain’t the same, baby, since we’ve been together
Ooh, loving you forever
Is what I need
Let me be the one you come running to
I’ll never be untrue

Ooh, baby, let’s, let’s stay together
Loving you whether, whether times are good or bad, happy or sad
Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad

Why somebody, why people break up?
Oh, turn around and make up
I just can’t see
You’d never do that to me (Would you, baby?)
So to be around you is all I see
Is what I want us to
Let’s, we ought to stay together
Loving you whether, whether times are good or bad, happy or sad

Let’s, let’s stay together
Loving you whether, whether times are good or bad, happy or sad…




*Written by Al Green, Al Jackson Jr., Willie Mitchell

► Jayde Wyatt

Mitt’s Op-Ed at ForeignPolicy.com: Bowing to the Kremlin

From ForeignPolicy.com:

Bowing to the Kremlin

Bowing to the Kremlin

Why Obama’s “hot mic” diplomacy is endangering America.

BY MITT ROMNEY

Sometimes it’s the unguarded moments that are the most revealing of all. President Obama just had such a moment at the summit in South Korea. “This is my last election,” Obama told Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, in an exchange that was inadvertently picked up by microphones. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

But flexibility to do what? The president mentioned missile defense to Medvedev as one area where the Kremlin should expect more flexibility. This is alarming.

It is not an accident that Mr. Medvedev is now busy attacking me. The Russians clearly prefer to do business with the current incumbent of the White House.

And it is not hard to understand why. The record shows that President Obama has already been pliant on missile defense and other areas of nuclear security. Without extracting meaningful concessions from Russia, he abandoned our missile defense sites in Poland. He granted Russia new limits on our nuclear arsenal. He capitulated to Russia’s demand that a United Nations resolution on the Iranian nuclear-weapons program exclude crippling sanctions.

Moscow has rewarded these gifts with nothing but obstructionism at the United Nations on a whole raft of issues. It has continued to arm the regime of Syria’s vicious dictator and blocked multilateral efforts to stop the ongoing carnage there. Across the board, it has been a thorn in our side on questions vital to America’s national security. For three years, the sum total of President Obama’s policy toward Russia has been: “We give, Russia gets.”
[CONTINUE READING AT FOREIGNPOLICY.COM]

For complete coverage on the “live mic” story check out Jayde’s post from earlier today.

Romney: Obama’s Comments To Medvedev Are Very Troubling (Video), Open Letter / More Questions

Obama bared his soul in Seoul yesterday.

Except, he didn’t mean to.

It was a flub.

A big one.

Speaking to soon-to-be-booted-out Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a hot mic caught Obama revealing a secret agenda for Russia (after claiming he’ll be re-elected this fall):

Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space.”
Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”
Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”

(Did you catch the body language between the two presidents…?)

Obviously, Obama and Medvedev didn’t know the world would hear their exchange. By the way, Putin (recently elected under dubious procedures) is expected to appoint Medvedev as Russia’s Prime Minister.

Governor Romney addressed Obama’s telling revelation yesterday while speaking to an audience in San Diego, CA and talking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Hugh Hewitt also got The Gov’s take on it. LISTEN TO AUDIO of Hewitt’s interview here.

HH: So the President says, Governor Romney, this is my last election, after my election I have more flexibility. And President Medvedev says I understand, I will transmit this information to Vladimir. Your reaction, Governor Romney?

MR: Well, it is revealing, it is alarming, it’s troubling, it suggests that the President has a very different agenda with the Russians than he’s willing to tell the American people. And for that reason alone, we ought to vote him out of office. This is a very disconcerting development.

HH: What do you think he has in mind, Governor, when he says I will be flexible? Is it missile defense? It is the number of our warheads? Is it Iran? What is he talking about?

MR: Well, he says missile defense, but we’re talking about one of those two issues, either missile defense or warheads. What he’s done on warheads, of course, with the new START Treaty, he took warheads down to 1,500 on strategic nuclear weapons. Of course, the Russians were already at 1,500. They didn’t have to have any reductions. We were at 2,200. So the only reduction in his missile defense treaty was a reduction at the U.S. level. And of course, he ignored the tactical nuclear weapons, which are of course the same nukes. They’re just on smaller rockets. He ignored that, where Russia has an advantage of five or ten to one over us. So this is a president who continues to try and appease and accommodate, and believes that the best interests of America are to bow to the interests of Russia. And it’s very, very troubling, and I mean, I’m very disturbed by this. I hope the American people understand that what we heard from the President is revealing about his character in terms of what he tells the American people, and revealing about his direction and sentiment with regards to Russian, which is after all our number one geopolitical foe. They don’t represent a military threat to us at the present, but they oppose us at every turn in the United Nations, and oppose us in every one of our efforts, whether in Iraq or Iran, North Korea. They’re on the other side. And for him to be cozying up with them with regards to missile defense is simply unacceptable.

HH: How do you expect this aside from the President will be understood in Poland and the Czech Republic, and Ukraine, and Georgia, and other front line states facing a newly-expansive Russia?

MR: Well, I think our friends around the world have been reevaluating their relationship with the United States, in part because of this president’s treatment of friends relative to the treatment of enemies. I’ve heard from more than one foreign leader that it seems to be preferable to be an American foe than an American friend to this president.

HH: Now Governor Romney, the press will of course attempt to dismiss this as not a big issue. Will this remain a front line issue? And do you think that the President has got to spell out with great detail what he has in mind here?

MR: You know, I don’t think he can recover from it, to tell you the truth. I mean, I think he will try and spin something. But I don’t know how you spin from an open mic, where you’re talking about having more flexibility after the election, which means quite clearly that you don’t want the American people to hear what you’re really planning on doing, and that you’re going to be able to do more when you no longer are accountable to the American people. You know, the mainstream media may try and put this to bed, but we’re going to keep it alive and awake. And we’re going to keep hammering him with it all the way through November.

Full transcript may be found here.

Here’s video of Romney discussing Obama’s comments with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (The Situation Room):

Text and UPDATES are included below the fold.

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