Foreign Floundering

The Obama administration’s foreign policy seems to be floundering, as reality disconfirms the naive thought that making apologetic, appeasing noises to the world’s dictators will turn them into bunny rabbits. I’m sympathetic with John Hinderaker‘s thought that the floundering is partly by design:

But it is strange to be governed by officials who, as a matter of policy, are deliberately undermining our sovereignty and weakening our nation.

To some extent, however, I think administration officials actually believed their campaign nonsense, thinking that our enemies hated us because they hated George W. Bush’s cowboy demeanor. How they could have thought this—the enemies’ hatred, after all, started long before George W. Bush became President—puzzles me. But now that the administration’s overtures are bearing unexpected fruit, the administration’s got no game.

Consider some Friday posts:

It’s easy to believe the dysfunction is real. Faced by the linked yet separate crises in the Middle East and in Northeast Asia the Obama administration is acting like it was shot through the central nervous system, acting in uncoordinated jerks. The alliances with Korea and Japan and the special relationships with Israel and Britain lie almost forgotten like neglected toys on the floor of a spoiled child distracted by his latest bauble. Gone are the heady prospects of Grand Bargains with the Muslim world kicked off by dramatic speeches in Cairo. Gone is the idea of a swift drawdown from Iraq; or of a comprehensive solution in the Middle East. Gone is the promise of catching Osama Bin Laden. Gone is the notion that Europe, which once hated America because of George Bush, would turn like a blossoming rose to Obama. In their place are half-finished begun threads without closure: a growing Hezbollah menace in Lebanon; a defiant Iran; a belligerent North Korea; a buffoonish but menacing Chavez; a drug war on the southern border; an Eastern Europe with the shadow of the Russian bear growing ever longer across it. (Richard Fernandez)

The real news is that already notorious photo: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world.

That picture — a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam — is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how rising powers, traditional American allies, having watched this administration in action, have decided that there’s no cost in lining up with America’s enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement….

This is not just an America in decline. This is an America in retreat — accepting, ratifying and declaring its decline, and inviting rising powers to fill the vacuum.

Nor is this retreat by inadvertence. This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle. It’s the perfect fulfillment of Obama’s adopted Third World narrative of American misdeeds, disrespect and domination from which he has come to redeem us and the world. Hence his foundational declaration at the U.N. General Assembly last September that “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” (guess who’s been the dominant nation for the last two decades?) and his dismissal of any “world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another.” (NATO? The West?) (Charles Krauthammer)

I have repeatedly criticized our terrorism policy as incoherent, see e.g., here,  here, and here.  I must now confess error.  It’s not so much incoherent as flat-out chaotic….

This Keystone Kops routine would be a farce if it weren’t headed for tragedy, which it is.  Under President Bush, after 9-11, and for more than seven years, there was not a single terrorist attack on American soil.  Some might believe that was because Bush was, among other things, serious about gathering intelligence rather than apologizing for gathering it.

In the 16 months Obama has been President, we have had three terrorist attacks on American soil, one of which resulted in mass murder.  With the Director of National Intelligence in a food fight with the head of the CIA  —  and now headed for the door  —  and with our Attorney General still unable to figure out even where to try terrorist mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, it’s impossible to believe that a major (but preventable) terrorist strike is that far off. (Bill Otis)

Arnold Toynbee said that civilizations die from suicide, not from murder. Barack Obama has, partly by intention and partly by stupidity, has begun the drip of poison, thinking that justice demands that he weaken the United States. Nothing good can come from this.

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