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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America’s Trickster-in-Chief? The Obama You DON’T KNOW

Barack Obama


A relevant, but perhaps overlooked, aspect of President Obama’s character was briefly mentioned in the thought-provoking documentary film 2016: Obama’s America. While a young teenager, Obama made an enlightening discovery. He figured out a trick – that he had a “knack”. The trick was, if he smiled, was polite, and “didn’t make any sudden moves”, he could manipulate people. Not only that, he could get people to want to help him. It was a “knack” he carefully perfected through the years. It became a trick that would help put him in the White House…

Does America have a Trickster-in-Chief? Who is the real Barack Obama?

Today, The Washington Examiner published an in-depth article peeling back the layers of the Obama you don’t know. In a four-month research effort, many interviews were conducted with Obama supporters and non-supporters in Chicago and elsewhere. In an effort to separate myth from reality, court transcripts, government reports and other official documents were also referenced. I’ve only highlighted some of what was written and urge you to read the entire article.

Over the years and in two autobiographies, Obama has presented himself to the world as many things, including radical community organizer, idealistic civil rights lawyer, dynamic reformer in the Illinois and U.S. senates, and, finally, the cool presidential voice of postpartisan hope and change.

With his air of reasonableness and moderation, he has projected a remarkably likable persona. Even in the midst of a historically dirty campaign for re-election, his likability numbers remain impressive, as seen in a recent AP-GFK Poll that found 53 percent of adults have a favorable view of him.

But beyond the spin and the polls, a starkly different picture emerges. It is a portrait of a man quite unlike his image, not a visionary reformer but rather a classic Chicago machine pol who thrives on rewarding himself and his friends with the spoils of public office, and who uses his position to punish his enemies.

  • Chapter 1 – A childhood of privilege, not hardship:
  • First lady Michelle Obama told the Democratic National Convention that “Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions.”

    It is a claim the president has repeated in his books, on the speech-making circuit and in countless media interviews. By his account, he grew up in a broken home with a single mom, struggled for years as a child in an impoverished Third World country and then was raised by his grandparents in difficult circumstances.

    Uh, not so fast…

    Obama’s step-father, Lolo Soetoro, had a coveted job in Indonesia as a government relations officer with Union Oil Co. They lived in Menteng, the most exclusive neighborhood of Jakarta, where economic elites resided. Obama would later live with his grandparents in Hawaii where his grandfather was in sales and his grandmother would become one of the first female vice presidents of a Honolulu bank.

    The year Barack joined them, his grandparents moved to a “sleek new 10-story apartment building” close to the prestigious prep school Obama would attend for eight years. The school was one of the most expensive on the island and was a “lush hillside campus overlooking the Waikiki skyline and the Pacific Ocean.”

    All the touting he’s done about his community organizing? Obama has never lived in a black neighborhood. He chose to commute 90 miles each way daily to the housing project where he worked.

  • Chapter 2 – The myth of the ‘rock-star professor’:
  • Time magazine gushed in 2008 about Barack Obama’s 12-year tenure as a law lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, saying, “Within a few years, he had become a rock-star professor with hordes of devoted students.”

    Time magazine put lipstick on a pig. Described by some faculty members as “disengaged” and “doing only what was minimally required”, Obama was the third-lowest ranked lecturer at the law school in 1999. Only 23 percent of his students recommended his classes.

    The pattern of minimal performance at the Chicago campus was not an exception to the rule for Obama. In the state Senate during the same years he was lecturing, Obama voted “present” nearly 130 times, the most of any legislator in the chamber.

    And during his lone term as a U.S. senator, according to Gov Track.us: “From Jan 2005 to Oct 2008, Obama missed 314 of 1300 recorded or roll call votes, which is 24.0%. This is worse than the median of 2.4%.”

  • Chapter 3 – The 1997 speech that launched Obama
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    The Romneys Pay Respects at the Western Wall of Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sacred Day of Mourning

    Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak / AP Photo

    From Israel National News:

    Romney said that “In this sacred spot and on this special day, I have gotten to know more about the history of the Jewish people, and I feel the pain of the destruction undergone by the Jewish people – the special nation as it was in the past – and I pray and hope for peace for the nation of Israel and the entire world.”


    From ABC News:

    Mitt and Ann Romney visited one of the holiest sites in the Jewish faith today, arriving at the Western Wall on a sacred day of mourning in Israel.

    The Romneys arrived via motorcade at the site of prayer and spent about 15 minutes walking to the wall and placing their prayers in the wall and got a warm reception.

    The wall is split in two – one side for men and the other for women – so Ann and her female staffers approached one side, while the candidate approached the other with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz.

    There were hundreds of Jewish worshippers praying at the site on this holy fasting day of Tisha B’Av and cell phones were out snapping photos of Romney. Many chanted at him as he walked slowly toward the wall.
    [...]
    Among those with Romney were son Josh, senior adviser Dan Senor and Spencer Zwick.

    Romney stood for several minutes with a man who had diagrams and looked to be describing the wall and where on the Temple Mount Romney was standing. Romney then took a piece of paper and wrote something on it. He approached the wall, bowed his head and put his right hand on the wall. After about 20 seconds he looked up and stuck his note into a space on the wall.


    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

    Slaughter in Syria: Romney “Work with partners, arm Syrian opposition groups”

    Massacre in Haoula, Syria, May 25, 2012: Men were killed on the streets while women and children were shot and stabbed in their homes. (Photo AFP/Getty Images)


    While Americans are busy with Memorial Day activities, shock and horror at the news of massacre in Haoula, Syria is resounding on news reports today.

    On mid-day Friday, May 26, 2012, Syrian soldiers and pro-government forces burst upon the rebel-controlled village and began slaughtering residents. Video and photos show rows of dead and mutilated small children among the victims. 116 were killed and 100 were wounded.

    The UN Security Council today held an emergency meeting in New York to discuss the attack.

    Calling the Syrian regime’s latest slaughter “horrific”, Governor Mitt Romney released the following statement:

    “The Assad regime’s massacre of civilians in Haoula—many of them young children—is horrific. After nearly a year and a half of slaughter, it is far past time for the United States to begin to lead and put an end to the Assad regime. President Obama can no longer ignore calls from congressional leaders in both parties to take more assertive steps. The Annan ‘peace’ plan—which President Obama still supports—has merely granted the Assad regime more time to execute its military onslaught. The United States should work with partners to organize and arm Syrian opposition groups so they can defend themselves. The bloodshed in Haoula makes clear that our goal must be a new Syrian government, one that contributes to peace and stability in the Middle East and that truly represents the brave Syrian people.”

    (emphasis added)

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    ~ Addendum from Ross:

    Looks like Mitt was right about Iran when he stood up for freedom while President Obama stood silent, and Gov. Romney has again voiced his support for freedom while our President allows tyranny to go unchecked now in Syria.

    If you want to add the Freedom for Syria PicBadge to your Facebook, click here or here for Twitter.

    Who Won the CBS GOP Foreign Policy Debate from South Carolina? Full Debate Video Added

    Republican candidates debated each other tonight on the topics of National Security and Foreign Policy. If the chat box starts moving too fast with all the chatting during the debate, feel free to start or respond to a topic at our forum. As soon as the entire debate is available, we will post the video below.

    Full debate below followed by a compilation of just Mitt’s answers from the debate!

    UPDATE: Looks like Mitt will be participating in the first Election 2012 Fox News Google+ Hangout with Bret Baier on Tuesday. Click here to learn how you could end up being one of the lucky few to “hangout” with Mitt on Tuesday.

    UPDATE 2 by Jayde – Mitt Romney’s Special Adviser on Foreign Policy and former Reagan Administration official, Ambassador Rich Williamson, and S. Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis issued statements following tonight’s debate in Spartanburg, South Carolina:

    Ambassador Williamson:

    “Mitt Romney left tonight’s debate showing that he is the candidate best equipped to secure a more peaceful and prosperous world for the United States and our allies. Mitt Romney deeply understands that the only way to meet the challenges we face abroad is to rest our foreign policy on a strong military, a strong economy, and the strength of our values. For three years, President Obama’s feckless policies have weakened our country’s standing and influence across the globe. Mitt Romney is the candidate who will restore our standing and ensure that America leads the world.”

    SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis:

    “Mitt Romney won tonight’s debate by articulating a strategy to ensure that the 21st century is an American century. Unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney will conduct a foreign policy that acknowledges America’s exceptional role in the world, and he will do so with clarity and resolve. In a Romney administration, our friends will never question where we stand – and neither will our adversaries.”


    FINAL UPDATE: The National Journal conducted a poll of Republican insiders and the results are as follows: