Center for World Conflict and Peace

Center for World Conflict and Peace

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rebuttal: On Obama's Foreign Policy

I need to stress several things in response to Brad's post.

First, let me ask you, what is a "right" foreign policy? As far as I know, all conservatives (including me) are not in agreement with each other.  As you noted in the fifth paragraph, the hawks and the fiscal conservatives disagree with each other. Monday's Republican debate showed that even Romney seemed to question the America's commitment in Afghanistan (the horror!). So let us just dispense with the labels and go straight to each others' arguments.

Second, I think you oversimplified my arguments. I argue that there has been no active U.S. engagement in the region. Obama hardly tried to solve the Israel-Palestinian problem before the Arab Spring erupted, only sending George Mitchell to the region with little involvement from himself. Aside of some flowery speeches praising the Muslim community, such as the Cairo Speech in 2009, there has been no significant breakthrough in the region. There is no personal rapport between him and the regional leaders, and thus when personal connections are needed during times of crisis, they just don't trust him.

Please re-read my entire posts from the beginning, and you will find that I am pretty consistent in my criticism of Obama's foreign policy. On leadership: what I blasted Obama on was on his lack of coherence in policy-making in the region. A few days before Mubarak resigned, I criticized Obama for giving a mixed signals that caused elements in Egyptian army to be pissed off. In fact, I proposed quiet diplomacy and stated on March 4:

"I think the best role that the United States can do at this point is quietly, behind the scenes, pressure the military leaders to honor their promise to reform and start telling the truth that transition to democracy is always an ugly process."

The problem was that you have Hillary who said that Mubarak was indispensable and Obama who said that transition should start "right now." I don't know, but I think I'd call that disorganization.

Of course, then you have Libya. I criticized him before on his decision to go there without Congressional approval, predicting that things would go hairy. Guess what happened? So now we are going to engage in a debate whether the U.S. is engaged in a "hostile act" in Libya. Wow. Talk about leadership.

Then, finally, the post that sparked this debate, about Obama's giving up his "Osama Mojo." Well, I don't know, but I think that combining both the Arab Spring and Israel-Palestinian problem in a speech is simply a sign of bad political judgment.

So you see, maybe it is all good in the big picture, but the devil is always in the details. I think I have shown that I am pretty much consistent here, not just spouting another "right wing partisan nonsense." Besides, I can't see the Soviet Union from my backyard anyway.

Anyway, my point is that Obama's lack of interest in the region and thus his lack of leadership is clear here. Mind you, I will give him credit when I see that he is doing the right things. I agree that there are times when the United States should do nothing to intervene lest it will cause backlashes. Unfortunately, though, all I see here is Obama blundering ahead while things fortunately fall in his favor, so far.

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