Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Horrendous Foreign Policy

It's a shame:

Within twenty-four hours of the terrorist trying to blow up the plane, the White House was giving briefings by a "Senior Administration Official" who mostly like was Obama, Axelrod, or Jarrett, pointing out that the terrorist watch list was created by the Bush administration.

Then the White House Counsel's Office sent out a memo demanding any and all documentation to show that the Bush administration had done worse.

Then the White House decided it needed to look into the "systemic failures" of the operation that George Bush had put in place.

234 days into George W. Bush's first contentious year in office, four planes were hijacked and used as missiles to strike the United States. Shortly thereafter, Richard Reid tried to blow up another jet.

George Bush never tried to disown 9/11 or Richard Reid. He never tried to say, "hey, it was Clinton's problem." Sure, in fact, a lot of what led to 9/11 happened on Bill Clinton's watch and he failed in most every measure to shut down Al Qaeda.

But after 9/11, George Bush didn't spend his first day, second day, or third day blaming Clinton. He set out to destroy Al Qaeda. After Richard Reid, we've been pretty darn safe flying.

In fact, under George Bush leading scholars and pundits declared Al Qaeda marginalized. By 2003, the pontiffs of miasmatic beltway wisdom were near unanimous that Al Qaeda was near dismantled.

You really need to read this editorial in the London Telegraph by Toby Harnden. It really hits this point where it needs hitting.

For a man who campaigned denouncing the politicisation of national security under President George W Bush, it is worth noting how intensely political Obama's treatment of what might henceforth be known as Underpantsgate has been.

His White House recognised its political vulnerability more readily than it comprehended the level of danger faced by Americans.

That last bit is the most troubling part of this.

At the end of the first year of Barack Obama's administration, there's something moving in the shadows of Mount Doom. It wasn't there while George Bush was in charge. But Barack Obama is no George Bush. And the strategy of blaming Bush for being weak on terror will not work after eight years of blaming Bush for being too bloodthirsty.

But they're sure going to give it a good hard try.

This is probably one of the most dangerous aspects of Barack Obama's inexperience and naivete - he is completely, utterly in over his head.  He has no will whatsoever to defend America or Americans, and our enemies know it.  That's why we have seen one foreign policy blunder and failure after another, and that's why our enemies are preparing to strike despite Obama's protests and 'tough' rhetoric.  Ultimately, anything the Obama administration does is more likely to hinder America than our enemies.

For example, the U.K. knew about the undie bomber and this particular scenario 3 years ago, and the Obama administration knew about it back in October (I heard on the radio today that the U.K. passed along his name specifically to the U.S. because they suspected he would attempt this precise attack).  And due to unthinking knee-jerk reactions to things like this, we will now be subjected to a complete invasion of privacy through full-body scans, despite the fact that they have already been proven ineffective against explosives packed into body cavities (and yes, that has already been done in an attempted assassination of a Saudi official).  God forbid we do something that would actually cut down on terrorism, like profiling in airports!  Now that would be terrible!

Perhaps even more dangerous is the bigger strategic failure that Obama is perpetrating.  For example, now Iran is giving the U.S. deadlines with which to comply to their demands!  My, what a reversal a new administration makes!  I shudder to think about what happens when Obama complies...

And, by the way, Democrats are now saying it is 'taking pot-shots' at a President to point out failures in 'the system'.  This is from the same person -- Claire-Bear McCaskill -- who accused Bush of 'killing black people on rooftops' after Hurricane Katrina.  Mm-hmmm.  The really interesting part of this particular whine is that this is the same system that George W. Bush put in place, and that successfully stopped more than one attack while Bush was in office, including a 2006 London-based attempt to hijack multiple planes (but none of the terrorists even got near a plane).  What's the difference between 2006 and 2009?  As far as I can tell, just the administration running 'the system'.

Obama's weakness has even had a detrimental effect on conflicts that were previously well in hand - since Barack Obama took over the leadership of the U.S. military, deaths in Afghanistan have nearly doubled.  And this was the war that Obama said was the 'real' war, remember?  The one that he promised to win rather than be 'distracted' by Iraq?  Nicely done.  It's really something when you can steal defeat from the jaws of victory.

And what about the threat posed by Russia?  Remember how Obama backed away from our allies in Eastern Europe who were begging for our missile shield to protect themselves from Russian aggression?  At the time, the Right speculated that for the cave-in we got zippo in return.  Now we know that is the case since Russia has announced that they're going to go ahead with weapons development.  Nice tough diplomacy.  Well done.

And what happens when one of our foreign CIA posts gets taken out?  Barack Obama blames the CIA and hands our enemies -- the same terrorists who killed those American CIA operatives -- a major PR victory.  That kind of thing will only end in more death and attacks against Americans.

Maybe it's not so much incompetence or weakness so much as it is a permanent vacation:

An interesting piece from Politico's Ben Smith and Carol Lee examines the mentality inside the Hawaiian White House that led to the administration's inept response to the Christmas Day attack, but there's one line in particular that jumped out at me:

Aides also say Obama wouldn't necessarily be working more on the issue if he were back in Washington.

Obama has probably played some 30+ rounds of golf at this point (he'd played 24 rounds just 9 months into his first term; it took Bush nearly three years to play that many), he exercises religiously; he plays basketball, he has time to pick up awards in Oslo, make Olympic pitches in Copenhagen, and hold beer summits at the White House. It's getting hard to tell whether this administration is in permanent campaign mode or on a permanent vacation. Either way, Obama's aides can do better than telling the press that Obama is working just as hard on the golf courses of Hawaii as he would be in Washington.

Still, there are emergencies that interrupt a vacation, even for Obama:

But the listlessness of an initial response remains a puzzle, coming as it did during the same week Obama rushed off of the golf course in the middle of a game, his presidential motorcade screaming down a Hawaii highway at top speed to deliver one of his golf partners to the house where the friend's son had cut his chin on a surfboard.

Is the problem an immense weakness, general obliviousness, or is it just a steadfast refusal to take responsibility?  Is it complete naivete, or perhaps the ultimate revealing of the radical Leftist inability to govern in a real world with real threats?

It seems to me that, just as Barack Obama views taxpayer dollars as Monopoly money to be played with, he views dangerous tyrants and suicidal maniacs as simple children throwing tantrums who can be soothed with his sonorous voice.

Whatever it is, it is horrendous foreign policy, and that makes it truly dangerous.  As long as Barack Obama is dictating U.S. foreign policy, the world will be more dangerous to Americans, wherever they may be.

There's my two cents.

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