Does President Obama Deserve A Passing Grade On Foreign Relations?

July 25, 2012 6:16 am 1 comment

Creative Commons - by Dana Beveridge

After gradually beginning to appreciate what seemed to be incisive, thoughtful sometimes seemingly cerebral op-ed items by David Brooks (against all my previous misgivings about ”New York Times” columnists) I was blindsided by Brooks column, “It’s hard to fault Obama on foreign policy front”.  The column seemed totally out of character and a mindless endorsement of Obama’s many foreign policy blunders.

Then – with the 07/24/2012, “Unity ends as candidates spar over foreign affairs” – I realized Brooks’ column was part of a carefully orchestrated scheme to proclaim Obama’s unparalleled wisdom in all affairs – domestic, international and personal.

The most striking aspect of Brooks’ tribute: no mention of what – in December 2010 – Obama proclaimed a foreign policy victory after a new START treaty with Russia that he claimed “didn’t infringe upon U.S. missile defense development and deployment”.

However December 18, 2011, columnist Charles Krauthammer summarized Russian threats to: “target any Europe-based missile defenses; install offensive missiles in Kaliningrad; withdraw from the 2010 START treaty.”

AP and the “Chronicle” reported 02/15/2012 “Obama was considering steep nuclear arms cuts” including two alarming possibilities: “reduction of up to 80% in the number of deployed weapons”; “new round of arms negotiations with Russia”.

On 04/01/2012 the “Chronicle” reported the open microphone conversation in which Obama asked Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev to communicate to incoming president, Putin, the need for more time to give Obama “greater flexibility” after re-election.  At that time I asked – given Russia’s virtual abandonment of the 2010 treaty – how does the U.S. benefit from further START negotiations or reducing our nuclear capability?

I also said an 80% reduction is alarming since the U.S. is viewed as a superpower, in part, because of a sizeable superiority in nuclear arms compared to nations other than Russia.  Reducing our nuclear capability will be seen as sign of weakness not strength. Neither Iran nor North Korea will abandon their nuclear plans even if Obama were to achieve his anti-colonialism, pacifist pledge: “the elimination of nuclear weapons”.

Other Obama failures in foreign policy: he promised “soft diplomacy without pre-existing conditions” would tame Iran and North Korea into abandoning their nuclear arms goals.  Both those nations are as belligerent as when President Bush and Secretary of State Rice engaged them with “hard diplomacy”.

Obama’s foreign policy can best be characterized: for foes and frenemies, apologize, accommodate, appease.  With allies, Obama tends to insult, irritate and, for Israel, isolate.

In his Cairo speech, Obama apologized to Muslims for what he, and they, consider transgressions against them by the U.S.  He, unlike most of his presidential predecessors, denies the U.S. is a Christian nation.  That may say more about the President than the nation.

After the 2011 “Arab Spring” Obama gave de facto recognition, in Egypt and the U.S., to the Muslim Brotherhood whose 21st century objectives include: Goal: “a worldwide caliphate governed by Islamic (Sharia) law”; Motto: “Allah is our objective.  The prophet is our leader.  Jihad is our way.  Dying in the way of Allah is our greatest hope.”

Obama hogged Super Bowl Sunday hype with a speech in which he predicted the Muslim Brotherhood wouldn’t win a majority of votes in upcoming Egyptian elections.  Obama seems to fare better at predicting winners of athletic contests than “free” elections.  Perhaps he should try handicapping horse races.

Brooks said “Romney can’t seem to find issues on which he and the president disagree, and that’s a pretty good sign of Obama’s success.”

Even more laughable, in a July 23 speech Obama said he “was the only one in the race with a record, not just words, on international matters”, that from a 2008 candidate who took a pre-election tour to acquaint himself with the world map and issues.  Visiting Austria, as president, Obama didn’t know Austrian residents speak German not Austrian.

A final note for Mr. Brooks: Mitt Romney will receive a copy of this article to assist him in finding foreign policy issues on which he can disagree with the president.

It will include this observation: since Obama likes sports, perhaps he can understand boxing analogies: (1) at a time when China, Russia and Iran, militarily, are forsaking boxing gloves for bare knuckles, Obama proposes 24 ounce gloves for the U.S. military; (2) as China and Russia move their countries into heavyweight class (over 200 lbs), Obama would reduce U.S. military capabilities to flyweight class (over 130 to 135 lbs).

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