Obama’s fantasy foreign policy
Coming from the Ivory Tower of academia with limited legislative experience in the Illinois state legislature and the U.S. Senate and no foreign policy experience, President Obama has approached foreign policy with a blame America attitude and rose colored glasses. According to his world view, America has done everything wrong in the past and he with his amazing charisma will be able to set things right. He may have sincerely believed that all he needed to do was read an inspirational speech off the teleprompter and everyone would be so charmed that old antagonisms would be resolved, peace would break out, and the world would embrace a penitent, less powerful U.S. That accomplished we could stop wasting all that money on defense and waste it on green energy.
We shouldn’t blame Obama for thinking that this strategy would work; after all without any significant foreign policy successes he had won the Nobel Prize for just being Obama.
Unfortunately, in the unforgiving world of foreign policy such fantasies don’t work. Obama may have hoped that kind words, concessions, and promise of flexibility would reset the relations with Russia. He ignored the reality that Russia under Putin longs to regain its super power status. They don’t want to be our friend, they want to be our equal – at least in influence abroad — and believe they can best achieve that end by thwarting U.S. interests wherever possible. It may not be a replay of the depths of the cold war, but with Putin in charge in Moscow, relations with Russia are going to be chilly for a long time.
Obama’s kind words and concessions don’t extend to the poorer countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, where the State Department has used American power and the threat of withholding aid to try to force Christian countries to abandon their traditional values. knuckle under to a left wing sexual agenda, and change their laws (and in some cases their constitutions) to allow abortion and gay marriage. Bullying is not the way to make friends.
The Obama administration appears to believe that Iran can be talked into giving up their nuclear ambitions. Did they really think that weak economic sanctions will work against a regime whose leaders believe that martyrdom in the war against the infidel is an automatic ticket to paradise and that a cataclysmic battle will bring about the triumph of the universal Islamic caliphate?
The Obama administration policy for encouraging democratic reform in the Middle East has been to put distance between us and Israel, our best ally and the only functioning democracy in the region.
These failed policies can be remedied by a new president, but nothing can bring back the four Americans killed in Benghazi. Obama administration wanted to protect its campaign claim that Osama Bin Laden is dead and Al-Qaeda is on the run, therefore they chose to ignore the growing power of radical Islamic militants. They deluded themselves into thinking that in Libya, after the overthrow of Gadhafi (thanks in part to our intervention), the situation had been normalized. Libya was touted a U.S. foreign policy success and there was no need for extra security, no need for strong walls, no need for an American security force. This in spite of pleas from U.S. Ambassador Stevens that the situation was deteriorating. The administration was so caught up in protecting its fantasy that the situation in Libya had normalized that they pulled out the security team. The disastrous results were predicted by the leader of that team and by the Ambassador himself.
The simple fact is that foreign policy must be based on a steely eyed anlysis of the facts on the ground. You have to be prepared for the worse case scenario. Indulging in the fantasy that rhetoric will solve intractable problems will lead to foreign policy failures and a more dangerous world.