Remember when the incoming administration promised us a new era of “smart power,” of foreign policy done right? President Obama, inexperienced but with superior judgment. Vice-President Joe Biden, the wise sage of the Senate with a firm grip on reality. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who braved danger while accumulating vast experience in foreign affairs as First Lady. Enemies would become friends, our friends would respect us again, and all the world’s ills would be solved by engagement without preconditions. It was a foreign policy straight out of the Hundred Acre Wood.
(I think Tigger is played by Joe Biden…)
We’ve now had nearly a year of enlightened direction of our foreign relations. What have we to show for it? Plenty, if you’re into farce. Nile Gardiner of the Telegraph reviews the last year and presents a list of the Team Obama’s biggest foreign policy follies:
This has hardly been a stellar year for the projection of American global power. Weakness, rather than strength, has been the hallmark of US foreign policy under Barack Obama, from the Iranian nuclear crisis to dithering over the war in Afghanistan. Instead of strong American leadership, the White House has all too often offered humiliating apologies for America’s past and embarrassing gaffes.
Here is a list of the ten biggest foreign policy follies of Barack Obama’s first year in office. I’ve tried to make the list inclusive of all corners of the world, ranging from Tehran to Tokyo to Khartoum, and frankly could easily have expanded it to a top 20 or even top 30 list. There are plenty to choose from, including some of the most cringe worthy moments in modern American history.
I’ve talked about some of Obama’s notable gaffes before: for example stabbing Poland and the Czech Republic in the back over missile defense; backing a stooge of Venezuelan dictator Chavez against the constitutional government of Honduras; and a general policy based on appeasement. Gardiner’s list includes some I’ve overlooked, notably:
9. Embracing Genocidal Killers in Sudan
I’ve included this in the list because it illustrates the extraordinary lengths to which the Obama administration will go to appease the most evil tyrannies on the face of the earth. In October Obama extended the hand of friendship to the brutal regime in Khartoum led by Omar Hassan al-Bashir, responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands in Darfur, offering to lift sanctions if there were “concrete steps in a new direction”. The moral bankruptcy of this approach was summed up by Obama’s hugely controversial special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force Major General J. Scott Gration:
“We’ve got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”
Read the whole thing, while I go find a brick wall to bang my head against. In just his first year, President Barack Obama has succeeded in something I thought impossible: making Jimmy Carter look like a tower of strength.
Is it 2012 yet?
(hat tip: Power Line)