September 13, 2012

What once was a strength is now a weakness

The president's foreign policy record, abysmal as it has been, has for over a year, been papered over by the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It has provided him cover for a series of fatal foreign policy flaws that have led to yesterday's embassy stormings and killings.

The simple truth is that killing Bin Laden is not foreign policy nor should it confer foreign policy credentials to the president. And let's not forget that Hillary Clinton should not emerge unscathed by this. This is enough of a clusterfrak that there is plenty of blame to go around here.

It has been an abysmal failure of foreign policy and it's time it gets turned on the president with the searing intensity the truth demands.

Consider the macro view of Obama's foreign policy.

1. He started his presidency with a foreign policy apology tour that was for all intents and purposes a shedding of allies and an embracing of enemies.

2. "He" got Bin Laden built upon the foundations created by the prior administration. Intel does not spring to completion from nowhere. He didn't build that success, someone else did. Many someones - not least of which are the Navy Seals who are now openly disputing his TV movie script version of events.

3. He has been consistently weak on China starting with the incident in the South China Sea. As Biden said, he would be tested early. He failed the test. From there everyone knew there was nothing but weakness.

4. The act continued with abandonment of allies like Israel and allies of convenience like Mubarak in Israel. The flip side of the coin is the non-intervention in Iran and the reluctant leading-from-behind in Libya and the non-action in Syria as people are massacred. It all radiates a powerful aura of weakness and blindness.

5. The lack of vision on foreign affairs has been compounded by other factors. The view that American exceptionalism is not exceptional. The fantastical quest for green energy at the expense of real energy independence has ensured that billions of dollars continue and will continue to flow to the Middle East, much of it ending up in hostile hands. The ambivalence to engage in foreign policy at all - from foot dragging on trade agreements to lack of foresight in protecting embassies in hostile lands and a utopian view of a fanciful Arab Spring that would bring peace, joy and togetherness all speak to the president not understanding world events and not having a plausible framework to work from.

It's a recipe for disaster and no one should be surprised that it's come to this. The specifics events may surprise, but the lack of preparedness should. A killing at an temporary embassy in a part of Libya considered an Al Qaida stronghold on the anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks should have been a little better prepared for. Vowing protection or retribution after the fact is worse than pointless, it's downright stupid. And again, it's political. Ensure the safety of embassy staff and then let people know steps have been taken. In covering his own ass, the president is leaving other uncovered asses as inviting terror targets.

Hillary Clinton, the supposedly solid as a rock Secretary of State missed the signs on this too. She should have been more acutely aware of potential dangers and flashpoints than the president. Yet nothing. Expect her to go into hiding and let Obama take the blame as much as possible.

Obama has failed America on foreign policy. It is as much a failure as his economy. It is as much a reason to boot him from office this fall. The strength of Obama's foreign policy has been exposed as the fraudulent facade that it is. The strength for Obama in the debates was that it was all closing with a foreign policy debate. Obama wanted to end the debates with a strong closing argument. The fact is, he doesn't have one. What was supposed to be Obama's closing argument is capable of being the final argument against him. Romney MUST not let him off the hook.
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