I weep: our foreign policy has been reduced to hashtags

April 25, 2014
Your Obama foreign policy team

Your Obama foreign policy team

Well, I weep and I mock.

For those not familiar with Twitter, “hashtags” are labels preceded by a number sign, as in “#politics.” They were developed to make it easier for people to search for related messages on the system, though people also use them as asides to provide commentary, humor, or snark.

A few weeks ago, the United States Department of State, faced with the slow-motion dismemberment of Ukraine by Russia, apparently decided that hashtags were also effective tools of superpower diplomacy. Thus we saw this from State’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki:

My reaction, you’ll be surprised to learn, was one of dismay and disgust. This is hardly the serious diplomacy one would expect from a department once headed by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Hay, Dean Acheson, and George Schultz. One would think that, having been roundly mocked here and overseas (You mean you didn’t hear the giggling from Moscow?), the State Department would have given up on managing our foreign affairs like it was a popularity contest, complete with cheerleading. But, no. No, some genius at State decided this was a winning strategy and deployed it again, only this time with an exhortation to Putin:

“Promise of hashtag??” You have got to be kidding me. “Yes, Vlad, be nice to Ukraine. You wouldn’t want to fail the spirit of the hashtag, would you?” Someone last night speculated that an intern forgot to substitute the real hashtag in place of the placeholder word “hashtag,” but that’s immaterial. The whole idea that anyone should think that using catchy social media slogans as a tool of diplomacy would be seen as anything other than self-inflicted humiliation is laughable. That the “strategy” originated at the highest levels of State is infuriating.

And so I couldn’t resist commenting:

And then I offered examples of the promise of hashtag and its power in US foreign affairs:

Others pointed out that the promise of hashtag was global. For example:

Indeed, Lincoln ended the Civil War with it:

But this one, I think, summed up the depth and gravity of State’s strategic thinking in this crisis:

While this baby speaks for me:

But I did offer Ms. Psaki and her co-workers a friendly and much-needed hint:

No, they do not, and it’s in part because people who think they do are in charge of our foreign policy that the world has become a much more dangerous place. It’s a common joke that both sides make to wish for the day “when the adults will be in charge, again,” but, in this case, it’s no longer a joke.  We’re facing foes around the globe who operate via the calculus of power, will, and national interest, while we are represented by community organizers who treat serious matters of state as occasions for virtual rallies.

Argh.

RELATED: More at Twitchy here and here. Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s foreign policy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Bill Whittle: Obama is making us a “turncoat nation”

May 27, 2011

Bill Whittle returns today with a video that absolutely savages the “Smart Diplomacy” of Barack Obama and his administration. Noting that it takes years and decades of efforts to build up trust between nations, Whittle shows with devastating clarity how, one by one, Obama is trashing those relationships and, in the process, harming our national security and turning us into a nation of turncoats:

Two things from the video I’ll point out: first, I had a feeling Bill was a big fan of Victor Davis Hanson. I am, too, and I can’t recommend his books highly enough, whether you’re interested in Military History, Ancient Greece, the decline of California, or current affairs in general. Hanson has a way of using the past to illuminate the present that few can match. Whittle points to one of his books, How The Obama Administration Threatens Our National Security, part of the Encounter Broadsides series. Not only do I second Bill’s recommendation of Hanson’s book, but I’m a fan of the entire series. They’re inexpensive, brief polemical works on important issues that will give you the arguments you need to deal with liberal co-workers and friends.

The other item Bill mentions is the stab-in-the-back betrayal of Poland and the Czech Republic in 2009 after they stuck their necks out for us by agreeing to host missile defense sites over strenuous Russian objections. At the time I was outraged and called it “appeasement and betrayal,” and my opinions haven’t changed. Barack Obama’s, amateurish, ham-handed, and ideologically driven foreign policy is wrecking America’s traditional alliances and gaining nothing —nothing— in return.

At this point, I don’t care if the Republican nominee in 2012 is Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, John Huntsman — or even Alf! We have got to vote him out of office.

RELATED: Two good articles you may want to look at. In the first, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy describes Obama’s Middle East policy as “ObamaCare for Israel.” It’s an apt analogy, and McCarthy uses it as an example of Obama’s Alinskyism as applied to foreign relations. After that, check out Stanley Kurtz’s article on Obama’s hard-Left leanings in foreign policy: “Pro-Palestinian-in-Chief.” Kurtz wrote the brilliant Radical in Chief, a political biography of Obama chronicling his lifelong attachment to Socialism. The book discussed the implications of Obama’s radical Leftist politics for domestic policy; “Pro-Palestinian” can be considered a companion piece for foreign affairs.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sarah Palin: We deserve an explanation about Libya

April 26, 2011

I’m having cognitive dissonance here. On  the one hand, I’m assured by the Left and the major media (but I repeat myself), and by many on the Establishment Right, that Sarah Palin is a chillbilly airhead who has no idea what she is talking about and would be a disaster as president.

But then, after expressing puzzlement over the administration’s conflicting reasons for going to war (kinda-sorta) in Libya,  she goes and writes something like this:

At this point, to avoid further mission creep and involvement in a third war – one we certainly can’t afford – you need to step up and justify our Libyan involvement, or Americans are going to demand you pull out. Simply put, what are we doing there? You’ve put us in a strategic no man’s land. If Gaddafi’s got to go, then tell NATO our continued participation hinges on this: We strike hard and Gaddafi will be gone. If, as you and your spokesmen suggest, we’re not to tell Libya what to do when it comes to that country’s leadership, and if you can’t explain to Americans why we’re willing to protect Libyan resources and civilians but not Syria’s, Yemen’s, Bahrain’s, Egypt’s, Israel’s, etc., then there is no justification for U.S. human and fiscal resources to be spent.

I would also ask you to better explain your thinking on Libya. We can’t afford any actions that don’t take care of crucial U.S. needs and meet our own interests at this point. You are the Commander in Chief, so please explain what you believe is our “interest” there and not elsewhere.

Mr. President, your hesitation and vacillation in the Middle East breed uncertainty. It’s symptomatic of the puzzling way you govern. See, uncertainty is one of the factors over which you have control, and I would think you’d want to eliminate that additional element that helps breed problems like higher oil prices. Higher oil means exorbitant gas prices weighing down our economy.  Consistency and strength – and greater domestic energy production – will help fix higher gas prices and help heal the economy. But only with leadership. These sorts of problems don’t fix themselves.

Uncertainty breeds higher prices because those who thought themselves our allies suddenly find that may not be true(1), they may not be as secure as they thought and their oil supplies may not be as safe, all of which leads more risk being associated with Mideast oil, and contributes to higher costs passed on to us at the pump. Basic economics and common sense, both of which are alien to our president.

It seems to me the woman dismissed as a “Caribou Barbie” and a quitter(2) has a better grip on our national interests than the Smartest President in History ever will.

Darn her for confusing me by being right when our Cultural Elites (all bow) insist she’s wrong.

Go, ‘Cuda!

TANGENTS:

(1) Hey, if we unceremoniously dumped Mubarak, who, while a bloated dictator, at least often served our interests and wasn’t as bad as a lot of them, then who’s next? You can bet a lot are worried.

(2) An argument I no longer treat as serious, unless it can be made in the context of the Alaskan ethics law as it existed at the time of her resignation.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Good news! Blogger unretires!

March 20, 2011

One of my favorites from the early days of my blog reading is back: The DiploMad 2.0. He (or she) is an anonymous former Foreign Service officer who’s come out of blogging “retirement” because the current administration is so inept, he can’t take it anymore. Here he is on the Obama and Clinton’s casual approach to going to war:

Does Obama consult with the US Congress?  Bush did that, remember?  Does he ask Congress for an expression of support for the use of military power?   Bush, did that, and we still hear from the left that he got insufficient authorization.  No.  Obama and Clinton get permission from the UN, the EU, and the Arab League instead.  I guess when you’re a liberal, that’s all that counts. No need to bother with the Congress or in making a case to the American people.

So, now we are in a war with no clear objective: Is it to establish a “No Fly Zone,” or get Qaddafi out? What if we get a NFZ, which our military will establish quickly, but Qaddafi doesn’t go or continues his war without aircraft? What then? Are we on the hook to protect Libyans from Libyans? How long before the pictures of dead and dying Libyans, supposedly killed by our missiles and bombs, have the UN, the Euros, and the Arab League backing out? Guess who will get left holding the bag of sand?

Code Pink, where are you?

Welcome back, DiploMad. You’ve been missed.

(Now, if I could only get Arthur Chrenkoff blogging again…)


Bill Whittle: “Obama’s friends and enemies”

February 20, 2011

I’ve said many times over the past couple of years that the guiding principle of the Obama administration’s foreign policy can be summed up by “Hug your enemies, pimp-slap your allies.” The studied insults toward and downright betrayals of allies such as Poland, Israel, and Great Britain, and the almost fawning treatment given toward those who despise us speaks to the truth of that.

Bill Whittle has noticed the same pattern and, in this latest video looks at events both great and minor over Obama’s term so far and concludes that this is not incompetence, but deliberate, ideologically-driven policy.

Fair warning, the video contains some horrific images in one segment:

I’ll disagree with Bill on one point: while I’m certain Obama’s foreign policy is driven by the same Socialist ideology that informs his domestic policies, it is also incompetent. Just look at its execution. The latest example in Egypt is a case study in blundering. “Ideology” and “incompetence” are not mutually exclusive, and in Barack Obama they’ve come together in a particularly dangerous mix.

Dangerous for us, that is.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Allen West at CPAC: Burnin’ down the house!

February 13, 2011

Congressman and retired Lt. Colonel Allen West (R-FL) gave the closing address to the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, and it’s safe to say they liked him… a lot. Like Bolton, Representative West “gets it;” he recognizes America as an exceptional place and a force for good in the world, and is not shy or diffident about his willingness to defend our nation’s interests and allies.

Thirty-six minutes long. Get yourself a cup of coffee or a bowl of popcorn, sit back, and enjoy, my friends:

Somehow, I don’t think Congressman West would be taking a reset button to negotiations in Moscow.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bolton: the ‘Stache rocks CPAC

February 12, 2011

Foreign affairs and national security issues are my primary interest*, so I was glad to see they got some extended attention at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference in DC, which has mostly (and understandably) focused on domestic policy issues. I was even happier that the speaker was John Bolton (and his mustache), who is not shy about insisting that the primary duty of the federal government in foreign affairs is to defend American interests, not to be a team player in the Club for Transnational Statists. He is a very, very sharp observer of foreign affairs and what they mean for the United States. Click on the image below to watch his speech, courtesy of The Right Scoop. At 25 minutes, it’s worth every second:

Let’s just say I’m in 99% agreement with The ‘Stache.

John Bolton is considering running for president in the next election, in order to make sure national security issues are brought before the public. To be honest, I don’t think he’ll get out of Iowa, but I do think he’d make a fine National Security Adviser for President Palin.

*Though I often get distracted. I really need to get back to covering them more.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)