Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category
Then-Sen. Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton both railed against President Bush’s confrontation of terrorists where they lived. They both preached the gospel of “smart diplomacy.” Six years later, we now know that “smart diplomacy” is just a euphemism for appeasement and retreat, if not outright isolationim.
Nowhere is the failure of the Obama-Clinton “smart diplomacy” foreign policy more apparent than in Libya. Walter Russell Mead’s article highlights that failure succinctly by quoting a State Department travel advisory:
The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable and unstable. The Libyan government has not been able to adequately build its military and police forces and improve security following the 2011 revolution. Many military-grade weapons remain in the hands of private individuals, including antiaircraft weapons that may be used against civilian aviation. Crime levels remain high in many parts of the country. In addition to the threat of crime, various groups have called for attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests in Libya. Extremist groups in Libya have made several specific threats this year against U.S. government officials, citizens, and interests in Libya. Because of the presumption that foreigners, especially U.S. citizens, in Libya may be associated with the U.S. government or U.S. NGOs, travelers should be aware that they may be targeted for kidnapping, violent attacks, or death. U.S. citizens currently in Libya should exercise extreme caution and depart immediately.
Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have occurred throughout the country and attacks by armed groups can occur in many different areas; hotels frequented by westerners have been caught in the crossfire. Armed clashes have occurred in the areas near Tripoli International Airport, Airport Road, and Swani Road. Checkpoints controlled by militias are common outside of Tripoli, and at times inside the capital. Closures or threats of closures of international airports occur regularly, whether for maintenance, labor, or security-related incidents. Along with airports, seaports and roads can close with little or no warning. U.S. citizens should closely monitor news and check with airlines to try to travel out of Libya as quickly and safely as possible.
The status of the country’s interim government remains uncertain. The newly elected Council of Representatives is scheduled to convene by August 4, but political jockeying continues over where and when to seat the parliament. Heavy clashes between rival factions erupted in May 2014 in Benghazi and other eastern cities. In Tripoli, armed groups have contested territory near Tripoli International Airport since July 13, rendering the airport non-operational. State security institutions lack basic capabilities to prevent conflict, and there remains a possibility of further escalation.
TRANSLATION: Libya is a disaster. Contrary to President Obama’s statement that al-Qa’ida is on the run, terrorist organizations, aka militias, control Libya. In September, 2012, Benghazi was a hot spot. These days, the entire country is a hot spot.
“Smart diplomacy” has become a punch line, and the dream Team Obama had of making Democrats the go-to national security party is as dead as the passenger pigeon.
President Obama is in way over his head. He’s never been interested in learning about the different actors on the world stage. That can’t be said about Hillary. She’s been interested in the different actors on the world stage. She just hasn’t been that bright. She could’ve stood up to President Obama but she didn’t. She acquiesced in the name of political considerations.
Libya isn’t a fight that needed to be fought, though it definitely needed monitoring. Killing militias would’ve been much more advisable than killing Khadaffi.
President Obama’s favorite foreign policy straw man is that there are only 2 options: all out war or isolationism. That’s either proof that he’s a liar or that he doesn’t have a clue. It might be proof of both.
Taking out Khadaffi was stupid. Not confronting Putin is equally foolish. Smart diplomacy isn’t as smart as arming people who would love to fight for their own freedom. Why President Obama prefers giving Putin free run of eastern Europe but insists on killing north African dictators is beyond me.
Most of the doves who’ve spoken out in favor of the Obama administration’s appeasement policy towards the Russian-Ukrainian war frequently cite the fact that there’s no appetite for the United States to get involved in another war. This isn’t surprising since strawman arguments are President Obama’s specialty.
In this instance, though, it’s a non sequitur argument.
The US can and should use its military to change the equation in eastern Ukraine. It’s just that that shouldn’t mean deploying US troops to Ukraine. It should take the form of putting the military’s most lethal weaponry in the hands of Ukrainian troops.
The Ukrainian military has been asking the US for military support for months now. President Obama has rejected their requests. With there now being no doubt that the Russians are firing on airplanes, it’s time for President Obama to stop being the wimpiest president in my lifetime. It’s time he stopped dithering.
President Reagan took down the Soviet empire. President Obama isn’t doing anything to stand in President Putin’s way to reconstitute the former Soviet empire. What’s most disturbing is that President Obama apparently doesn’t recognize the peril he’s putting our allies in.
Why doesn’t President Obama understand that Russia’s slicing up of Ukraine just emboldens President Putin to attempt to threaten other nations? Doesn’t President Obama care about foreign policy?
President Reagan brought down the Soviet empire by confronting the Soviets whenever they tried meddling in other countries’ affairs. He showed them that he was committed to arming anyone who opposed the Soviets. He forced the Soviets to spend more money on their expansionist goals than they’d anticipated.
Because the Soviet economy was pretty much worthless at the time, he forced them to spend themselves into the dust bin of history. By comparison, President Obama is essentially giving President Putin a free pass with Ukraine, which enables them to spend more money on destabilizing other neighboring countries.
There’s no reason to think that the Russian economy is any stronger today than the Soviet economy was in the 1980s. Similarly, there’s no reason to think that forcing Russia to devote most of its spending on military ventures will endear itself to the Russian people.
While President Reagan was forcing the Soviets to spend tons of money on foreign military interventions, he also undercut the Soviet government in the eyes of its people. President Obama is totally missing that opportunity.
Instead, he’s playing the 98-lb. weakling who gets sand kicked in his face while President Putin plays the part of the menacing bully. That’s why the latest Fox News poll shows people thinking that 75% of people think President Putin is getting the better of things while a pathetic 14% think President Obama is getting the better of Putin.
We need a real president. We don’t need a fundraiser-in-chief. We need a president who rethinks his strategy after it’s shown it’s a disaster.
Unfortunately, instead of having a real president that knows what to do on the world stage, we’ve got President Obama.
It would be wrong to blame the killing of 298 passengers on MH17 on President Obama. That blame should be firmly fixed on the Russian terrorists and the Russian military personnel who fired the surface-to-air missiles. This article, though, shows that President Obama could’ve done something that would’ve prevented that terrorist attack:
As the United States and NATO last month began to publicly acknowledge the sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft systems moving into rebel held areas of eastern Ukraine, the government in Kiev asked for gear that might be used to counter those weapons.
According to a former senior U.S. defense official who has worked closely with Ukraine’s military and a former head of state who has consulted with the government there, Kiev last month requested the radar jamming and detection equipment necessary to evade and counter the anti-aircraft systems Moscow was providing the country’s separatists.
It’s obvious that President Obama is a pacifist on the world stage. He likely said no to Kiev’s request because he didn’t want to do anything that might escalate the tensions between Russia and the Ukraine. That’s foolishness. President Obama keeps urging Putin to rejoin the community of nations. Putin keeps ignoring those pleas because he’s too busy rebuilding the Soviet empire.
It’s time President Obama to start dealing with the world that exists rather than dealing with the world he wishes exists. This isn’t a game of make believe. It’s a situation where Ukraine needs the world’s only true superpower to step up and act like the world’s only true superpower. It’s time for President Obama to stop acting like a naive child. It’s time for him to start acting like the leader of the free world.
Some senior U.S. officials asked about the Ukrainian request by The Daily Beast said they were not aware of it. Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told The Daily Beast, “The Ukrainian government has requested support, but we’re not going to detail the types of support they have requested.”
How convenient. The most transparent administration in history won’t confirm what the Daily Beast has already reported.
President Obama’s pacifism cost those 298 people their lives. Because he wasn’t willing to deal with reality, those people died needlessly. Further, President Obama’s disdain for military action is getting people killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Had President Obama sent the radar jamming and detection equipment to Ukraine, the people flying on MH17 would likely still be alive. Had President Obama listened to his generals in Iraq and kept residual force of 30,000 troops in theater, he would’ve gotten a status-of-forces agreement with Maliki. That would’ve likely prevented ISIS from capturing a major part of Iraq.
I hope President Obama can live with himself knowing that his pacifism cost people their lives. More importantly, I hope President Obama will admit, at some time in the future, that he was wrong on most of his foreign policy decisions.
This article is exceptionally insightful in that it exposes Vladimir Putin for who he really is:
Why do many Western analysts contend that Vladimir Putin is outsmarting everybody like a skillful chess master? Can it be a massive illusion fed by Kremlin propaganda and blindly supported by analysts and policy makers? I agree with Paul Gregory that Putin deserves a failing scorecard and would add that he is erratically moving his country towards disaster. A bully is usually far from intelligent; he can be dangerous and evil, he can possess powerful resources, but that does not make him the forward-looking strategist many in the West pretend he is.
Putin’s economic model prevents him from being the international superpower he’s pretending to be. It isn’t that Russia is a superpower. It’s that it’s acting like it’s a superpower. Thinking that Putin is a chess master because he’s having his way with President Obama is like thinking you’re a tough buy because you can beat up a 5th-grader.
Putin is delusional because he thinks that the former Soviet empire was a great federation of nations. The truth is that it operated as a great federation because liberals like John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter treated it like a great federation.
Only President Reagan understood its fatal flaw. Only President Reagan exploited that fatal flaw. President Reagan out-strategized and outmaneuvered the giant Russian bear. He expanded the use of Radio Free Europe to talk with the citizens. He checked them militarily whenever they thought about fulfilling their expansionist ideology. Most importantly, President Reagan spoke to the dissidents’ hearts by telling them about the virtues of liberty.
Let’s understand something. Vladimir Putin is a thug. He isn’t as despicable as Stalin but he’s still a thug. Calling him a thug doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous to smaller opponents. It just means that he’ll suffer the same fate as Gorbachev if he’s confronted by another Reagan.
The only way to deal with Moscow is to act firmly and decisively, imposing sectorial sanctions and providing serious military help to Ukraine, sharply increasing the economic and political pressure. The faster the West acts, the more lives will be saved and more destruction will be prevented.
President Reagan understood the necesssity of economic and benign military confrontation. Technically, President Reagan didn’t fire a shot to defeat the Soviet empire. That doesn’t mean he didn’t sell military weaponry to the Soviet’s neighbors. He let them know that he’d checkmate them wherever their expansionist goals took them.
There’s no denying that Putin is a major player on the international stage. There’s no denying that his expansionist goals are real. That doesn’t mean he’s the unstoppable superman that President Obama is helping through his inactions.
President Obama’s policies just make a thug look like a superpower. That doesn’t mean President Putin’s Russia is worthy of superpower status. That’s just what happens when he’s matched against a lightweight US president.
While discussing the Russian seperatists shooting down the Malaysian airliner, Charles Krauthammer unloaded both barrels on President Obama:
Here’s a partial transcript of what Charles said:
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: What is the president’s reaction? You said what matters is not where he is. He’s had no reaction. He’s had no reaction to anything that I can tell in the last six months. Look, it isn’t as if we’re going to go to war with Russia, but we’ve denied Ukraine lethal weaponry on the grounds that we don’t want to escalate the conflict. The rebels and the Russians are killing Ukrainians in large numbers, by shooting them out of the sky. The least the president could do is make a damned decision for once in his life and announce that we are now going to supply lethal weapons to assist the Ukrainians to defend themselves and to complete the offensive that is now going on in Eastern Ukraine to actually destroy the rebel insurgents.
President Obama is a pacifist. Thanks to his disdain for conflict, Vladimir Putin is revving up the old expansionist Russian bear. It isn’t that Putin wants to destabilize the countries surrounding Russia. It’s that he wants Russia to return to its glory days of dominating its surrounding nations and telling them what to do.
Simply put, it looks like he wants to resurrect the Soviet Union.
Charles is right. President Obama has voted present on hundreds of major foreign policy/national security decisions since he was elected. It’s his nature to avoid conflict. It’s his history to make the worst possible decisions on the international stage. Killing bin Laden is his only accomplishment.
Meanwhile, Putin is enjoying the free ride he’s getting from President Obama:
Security Services of Ukraine chief Valentyn Nalivaichenko, at a late night news conference, said the government is making all evidence in the investigation public, including intercepted phone calls between two members of the Russian military special services unit, known as the GRU, in which they discussed shooting down the airplane.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any involvement, saying Ukraine is responsible.
Putin knows he’s lying. That’s what KGB agents do. Further, Putin knows that he might get called out. That isn’t what’s important to him. His biggest concern, other than dominating Ukraine, is to prop himself up inside Russia. The more powerful he looks, the more political capital he accumulates.
Russian-backed separatist commander Igor Girkin, also known as Strelkov, initially claimed credit for the downing of a military transport airplane. He revised his statement later. “We did warn you – do not fly in our sky,” he wrote on VK.com, Russia’s version of Facebook.
It’s times like this that make me wish someone like Benjamin Netanyahu was our president. It’s depressing knowing we have a do-nothing president that won’t standd with our allies and who lets our enemies run free while terrorizing their neighbors.
We’d better elect a real president next time. If we get Hillary, we won’t call it “the former Soviet Union.”
There are few political analysts I trust more than Michael Barone. I trust Mr. Barone because, in addition to being one of the best number crunchers in the business, he’s a superb researcher. That’s why I took note of what he wrote in this article:
A new Washington Post story quotes Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke as favoring “greater emphasis on the interests of these children who are refugees from extreme violence” instead of “an acceleration of the deportation process at the expense of these children.” But the Post reporters note that “O’Rourke added that he has been surprised by the anger he has heard toward the immigrants of many of his El Paso constituents, who ?feel like we can’t take care of everyone, and these children and their families are gaming the system.’” O’Rourke’s district, which includes most of El Paso County, is 79 percent Hispanic.
That’s stunning. When Hispanics are upset with the flood of illegal immigrants, that’s a sign that this issue isn’t hurting Republicans or helping Democrats. Here’s Mr. Barone’s observation on that:
Democrats are trying to blame the situation on House Republicans’ refusal to pass comprehensive immigration legislation. That seems pretty lame: There’s nothing in the bill the Senate passed in June 2013 that addressed this particular situation. As this article in the Hill makes plain, perhaps despite the writer’s intention, this is a troublesome situation for Democrats whose names are on the ballot this fall.
In past elections, Democrats did a good job convincing Hispanics that Republicans were anti-immigration. That led to Democrats winning the Hispanic vote by a wide margin. The border crisis exposed Democrats as not caring about securing the border. That’s hurt Democrats with independent and Hispanic voters.
While the American people generally favor immigration reform in the abstract, they demand fairness and the rule of law. In this influx of illegal immigrants, they’re seeing neither fairness or the rule of law. It’ more than that, though.
As these illegal immigrants get sent to cities across the country, a nasty case of NIMBYism is settling in:
In the other, Lovelace quotes the chief of staff of the mayor of Lynn, Mass., about how many Guatemalan “children” were sent there and placed in public schools. “Some of them have had gray hair and they’re telling you that they’re 17 years old and they have no documentation,” the official is quoted as saying.
Part of this is due to these illegal border crossers not being children. Another part of this is that cities are getting stuck with the bill from an unexpected influx of people. Mostly, though, they juts don’t want to have to deal with the problem. It’s one thing when they’re someone else’s problem. It’s another when they’re your problem.
If Democrats, including President Obama, don’t work towards fixing this crisis, it’ll be high profile proof that they’re incapable of governing. That’s the worst accusation to hit an incumbent with during election season. If people think that politicians aren’t interested in or are incapable of governing, the other things don’t matter.
This is a tipping point moment for Democrats, especially if they’re on the ballot this fall. If they don’t provide real leadership on this issue, they’ll be hurt this fall.
Whether he realizes it or not, Sen. Rand Paul sounds frighteningly like President Obama. Sen. Paul’s op-ed sounds exceptionally dovish, starting with this:
President Obama has said he might use airstrikes in the future. I have also been open to the same option if it makes sense.
Notice the qualifier-filled statements from President Obama and Sen. Paul. It’d be surprising if President Obama did anything more than token air strikes. With Sen. Paul, we just don’t know, though his record is fairly isolationist and dovish. That isn’t the worst part, though. Sen. Paul’s intellectual dishonesty is frightening:
Said Perry forthrightly during a Republican presidential primary debate in 2012, “I would send troops back into Iraq.” Obviously, this is something he advocated long before the rise of ISIS. At the time, Perry urged the United States to return troops to Iraq to act as a balance against Iran, a country my colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham says we must work with to help beat back the extremists.
Does Perry now believe that we should send U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight the Iranians—or to help Iran fight ISIS?
Why would Sen. Paul ask that question? First, he notes that Gov. Perry made that statement in 2012, when the situation in Iraq was dramatically different. Why does Sen. Paul automatically assume that Gov. Perry’s policy would be the same today as it was in 2012? As intellectually dishonest as Sen. Paul’s assumption is, that isn’t the part that frightens me most. This question is:
How many Americans should send their sons or daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won’t defend for themselves?
First, it assumes that Gov. Perry would send in troops, which isn’t a safe assumption. Second, it’s the wrong question. Why doesn’t Sen. Paul understand that troops deployed to Iraq wouldn’t be there to “die for a foreign country”? Why doesn’t he understand that they’d only be deployed to obliterate a terrorist training ground in the heart of Iraq?
Isn’t Sen. Paul bright enough to understand that a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East is a huge threat to the United States, not just to our allies?
This statement is frighteningly fictional:
Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union—the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history—through strong diplomacy and moral leadership.
Sen. Paul, it’s time you talked with people in the Reagan national security team. They’d tell you that he didn’t miss an opportunity to talk with dissidents jailed in the Soviet Union’s gulags. They’d tell you that he beefed up Radio Free Europe to tell dissidents that he was fighting for them. They’d tell you that diplomacy didn’t work until Reagan made it clear that he’d counter anything the Soviets would attempt to do.
The negotiations didn’t start until Reagan had frightened the bejesus out of President Gorbachev. Once he’d shown President Gorbachev who was the real superpower, then the negotiations started.
Reagan had no easy options either. But he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.
If Sen. Paul meant that Jimmy Carter left President Reagan with a crappy hand, that’s right. If Sen. Paul means that there was any doubt in President Reagan’s mind that his plan would work and work fairly quickly, the answer to that question is an emphatic no. Reagan knew that the Soviet Union’s economy was on the verge of collapse. He knew that putting pressure on the Soviets would put them on the defensive.
Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn’t really understand the genius of President Reagan’s foreign policy genius. There’s no question whether Reagan was a hawk. It’s just that his foreign policy strategy was multi-faceted.
Sen. Paul’s op-ed is based on supposition, not fact. It’s based on something Gov. Perry said in 2012, not this summer. It’s apparent that Sen. Paul is as accomplished as President Obama in using strawman arguments. I expect that from this president. From now on, I guess I should expect it from Sen. Paul, too.
It’s sounding more and more like Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), is planning on running for president again in 2016. This op-ed sounds like the first shot against Sen. Paul:
This represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind — because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa. It’s particularly chilling when you consider that one American has already carried out a suicide bombing and a terrorist-trained European allegedly killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
Yet Paul still advocates inaction, going so far as to claim in an op-ed last month in the Wall Street Journal that President Ronald Reagan’s own doctrines would lead him to same conclusion.
The thing Sen. Paul’s supporters haven’t paid attention to is the fact that President Reagan was a confrontationalist. Though he didn’t fire a shot at the Soviet Union, he constantly confronted them strategically. He put in Pershing II missiles into western Europe. Doves like Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry howled at the move, saying that this would just provoke the Soviets to become more expansionist.
Gov. Perry understands what President Reagan understood then. Gov. Perry understands that a vibrant, growing economy, coupled with the right strategic vigilance and interventionism, will thwart Putin’s expansionism and ISIS’ attempt to build a caliphate where terrorists can train for their next terrorist attack.
Here’s another shot frm Gov. Perry across Sen. Paul’s bow:
Reagan identified Soviet communism as an existential threat to our national security and Western values, and he confronted this threat in every theater. Today, we count his many actions as critical to the ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union and the freeing of hundreds of millions from tyranny.
At the time, though, there were those who said that Reagan’s policies would push the Soviets to war. These voices instead promoted accommodation and timidity in the face of Soviet advancement as the surest path to peace. This, sadly, is the same policy of inaction that Paul advocates today.
It isn’t that Gov. Perry is pushing war. It’s that he isn’t pushing for America to stick its head in the sand. Like I said earlier, Reagan brought the Soviet empire to its knees without firing a shot.
The Soviet Union had a terrible economy. Today, Russia’s economy isn’t much better. Putin is flexing his country’s muscles because he thinks he can get away with it. That’ll end the minute the US economy starts hitting on all cylinders and the right president starts inserting itself in the world.
Again, this doesn’t require going to war, though it’ll require beefed up intel operations in the world’s nastiest corners. That won’t matter to Paul’s most paranoid supporters. Paul’s most paranoid supporters will still hear the drumbeats of war.
Sane people, however, will hear things clearly. Far more people will agree with Gov. Perry than will agree with Sen. Paul. Let the jockeying begin.
Even before Jonathan Last’s newsletter, people knew that Hillary wasn’t helping herself. Last’s newsletter just highlights Hillary’s missteps:
By just about every account, her book is uninteresting and unreflective, a carefully contrived piece of positioning. Yet instead of owning that, she insisted at an event that she was “done with being really careful about what to say.” And that was before uttering inanities about how “the American political system is the most difficult, even brutal, in the world.” (She might look at Egypt, for instance. Or Venezuela. Or China. Or Greece. Or Russia. Or any country where instability and chaos is the norm and the children of former presidents aren’t given $600,000 sinecures from independent_”independent”?_media conglomerates.)
I wrote this article last night to highlight Hillary’s unforced mistakes from her interview with Bret Baier and Greta van Susteren. Here’s the first of Hillary’s unforced errors:
Ms. van Susteren asked Hillary if she would’ve traded the Taliban 5 for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Secretary Clinton replied that she had worked on a different deal to free Sgt. Bergdahl. When Ms. van Susteren said that people were shocked that Hillary said the Taliban 5 didn’t pose a threat to Americans, Hillary replied that “As long as they’re in Qatar, they don’t post a threat to Americans.” Van Susteren replied, saying “Well, bin Laden was never in the United States.”
Hillary knew this question was coming. What’s interesting is that Hillary used the Obama administration’s chanting points rather than distance herself from that disaster. It’s one thing to be loyal. It’s another to walk the plank for the Obama administration on one of their biggest, and most recent, foreign policy disasters.
If there’s anything we’ve learned about the Clintons throughout the years, it’s that they’re loyal to themselves. They aren’t even loyal to each other. Hillary isn’t stupid. That begs this question: Why would Hillary stay loyal to the Democrats’ chanting points? The only explanation that makes sense is that she’s buttering up Obama’s base supporters.
The anti-war doves are President Obama’s political base love the thought of closing Gitmo. Was Hillary making a play for President Obama’s base?
Whatever the reason, the truth is that she’s helping the Biden campaign through her book tour. If she wants to be president, she needs to stop granting interviews to serious news organizations because she’s doing terribly in those interviews.
Much as Jane Harman tried defending President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq essentially defenseless, the truth is that losing the Iraq War is President Obama’s fault. Appearing on Fox News Sunday’s All Star Panel, Harman tried telling the panel that it’s Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki’s fault:
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, as we discussed with Mike Rogers, this is our worst nightmare. We’re not talking about a terrorist group, organization. We’re talking about a terrorist army and possible state. How big a threat is ISIS? How much does it go to the Middle East and potentially to the U.S. homeland? And I have to ask, how did President Obama let it get to this point?
JANE HARMAN, D-CALIF., FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: This started a long time with a guy named Zarqawi in Iraq, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq.
WALLACE: Who we killed.
HARMAN: Who we killed, and we thought that we had quieted down that particular group. A guy named Jobi York (ph) is now a scholar at the Wilson Center and is writing about this on the front page of “The Washington Post”. We thought we killed them but they’re back.
I wouldn’t lay this at Obama’s feet. Remember that the Iraqis refused to agree to a status of forces agreement to keep us in Iraq. And it’s one of the reasons –
WALLACE: There are arguments about how hard President Obama pushed.
HARMAN: Well, OK, mistakes were made and supporting Maliki, who is a feckless leader, Tom Friedman called him a jerk today, that’s a little harsh. But hey, and unable to control his country is a bad thing.
Had President Obama gotten serious about negotiating a status of forces agreement, we would’ve had a military in Iraq to stabilize Iraq. Had the US kept 15,000-20,000 troops in Iraq, ISIS wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to establish this caliphate. It isn’t that the US military would’ve continued military operations.
The mere presence would’ve been a major deterrent against the militaristic operations of an ISIS.
As is often the case, George Will summarized things beautifully:
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, one does wonder, we can hear from Jane on this, what we’re getting if we’re getting the value from the $50 billion we spend on our intelligence service, but General Douglas MacArthur said every military disaster can be explained by two words, too late.
It certainly is too late to think we’re going to condition aid on vast political reforms in Iraq, which are going to mollify these factions that have been at each other’s throats for centuries.
And Julie says, you put heavy weapons in there, when they got the Mosul, the ISIS people, they didn’t just empty the jails and the banks, they emptied the arsenals. Seventy-two tanks they came away with, 700 Humvees, thousands of tons of ammunition that will now be fired at the government of Iraq.
And just to get a sense of the humanitarian disaster that’s engulfing the region, there are today more Syrian children of school age in Lebanon than there are Lebanese children of school age, as the Syrian population scatters to neighboring countries.
President Obama was opposed to keeping a residual force in Iraq. It was always his political goal to campaign on ending the war in Iraq. It isn’t that he wanted Iraq to fail. It’s that that consideration wasn’t important to him. Ending the war in Iraq was everything to his political base going into 2012.
Predicating an administration’s national security policy on purely political considerations is a recipe for disaster. Predictably, that’s what we got.
Brit Hume added these observations:
So, the situation in Iraq that the president described in the sound bite that you played before we started here is now gone, forfeited, in my view, by this administration, and by Iraqi President Maliki, who is, you know, a very ineffective and I think weak leader who has made a multitude of mistakes. However, there’s been no sign that this president has been deeply engaged with him, trying to prevent him from doing so, and I think that the leverage that we would have had, had we been able to keep a residual force there, would have helped him do that, if he’d been interested. He seems not to have been.
Maliki was always an ineffective leader. Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador to Iraq during the Bush administration, was Maliki’s babysitter. His job, essentially, was to prevent Maliki from doing the things Iran wanted him to do.
The Obama administration pulled the military out of Iraq, then ignored the political situation in Iraq. President Obama didn’t pay attention to Iraq. That’s why they didn’t see ISIS coming until it was too late. Within 5 years, they will have plotted a new wave of terrorist attacks against the US, western Europe and Israel.
That isn’t a bold prediction. It’s trusting these terrorists at their word. They said that’s their goal. There’s no reason not to believe them because they’ve consistently followed through on their threats.
President Obama forfeited the war that President Bush had won. Now he owns that disaster.