Obama’s foreign policy: Abandon allies, appease enemies

Obama bows to China president Xi JinpingObama bows to China’s president Xi Jinping (not a photoshop)

Michael Barone writes for National Review, Dec. 10, 2013:

[…] Barack Obama brought to the presidency a different approach than the post–Cold War stances of his two predecessors.

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, in different ways, maintained support for America’s longstanding allies while gingerly seeking rapprochement with former enemies Russia and China.

With China they established strong trade and financial ties, while discouraging Chinese military aggressiveness. When China shelled the waters off Taiwan in 1996, Clinton sent in the Sixth Fleet.

Clinton cooperated with Boris Yeltsin until the Russian president flamed out in 1999. Bush found that his initial faith in Vladimir Putin was ill-founded.

Barack Obama has put a radically different stamp on American foreign policy. Conservative critics perhaps exaggerate, but are on to something, when they characterize him as disrespecting America’s traditional friends and truckling to longtime enemies.

The pattern has become more pronounced in Obama’s second term. He is making good on his promise to Putin to have “more flexibility.”

In his first term, he blindsided allies by canceling missile-defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic to appease Putin. In this term, he didn’t lift a finger when Putin successfully blocked Ukraine from establishing closer economic ties with the European Union.

In his first term, he one-upped the Palestinians by demanding that Israel stop building settlements (including additions on houses) in East Jerusalem. More recently, he supported the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt as a step toward democracy until it was toppled by the military.

In his first term, he called for the ouster of Syria’s Assad regime and said that its use of chemical weapons would be crossing a “red line.” In his second term, he let the red line be crossed and allowed Putin to stage-manage Syria’s agreement to relinquish the weapons.

In the process, the United States has abandoned attempts to depose Assad and now depends on his good faith to locate the weapons — a victory for Putin and Assad’s allies in Iran.

Obama’s sharp reversals on Syria have been echoed by contradictory responses to China’s declaration of an expanded Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea, covering the Senkaku Islands owned by Japan but claimed by China.

Obama promptly ordered B-52s to fly through the ADIZ without notifying China. But the Federal Aviation Administration also told U.S. airlines to inform China when flying through this airspace. Japan and South Korea took a contrary stance.

Vice President Joe Biden, visiting China last week, expressed deep concern about the ADIZ and warned against armed clashes that could result. But he did not demand it be scrapped.

The November agreement with Iran, concluded after months of undisclosed U.S.–Iran negotiations, suspended sanctions for six months, but did not require the dismemberment of centrifuges demanded in previous United Nations resolutions.

America’s traditional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, have made no secret of their opposition to this agreement. They fear a nuclear Iran dominating their region.

The American Interest’s Walter Russell Mead sees the emergence of an unlikely Israeli–Saudi alliance against Iran, Russia, and China, which he calls the “Central Powers” — the term used for Germany and its allies in World War I.

Today’s Central Powers, he writes, are seeking to diminish U.S. power in the Middle East and East Asia, with some success. The U.S. is abandoning friends in the hope of reducing hostility from enemies.

Sudden reversals of policy, shifting alliances, secret negotiations — these are reminiscent of Christopher Clark’s statesmen who sleepwalked into World War I. Let’s hope that clashes over Asian islets or Iranian centrifuges don’t have the kind of consequences as that terrorist murder in Sarajevo did 99 years ago.

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10 responses to “Obama’s foreign policy: Abandon allies, appease enemies

  1. Reblogged this on Brittius.com and commented:
    When somebody builds a statue to Obama, it should always be in a bowing position, with its ass facing the People/Flag/America, and bowing to enemies.

    Like

  2. Other than being totally incompetent to be President, he wants the Muslim Brotherhood to rule. HE has betrayed us and our allies. The American people didn’t. Obama and his Administration did.

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  3. Concur. The Obama administration is so maladroit in its foreign policy that it is difficult to determine where ineptitude leaves off and malice begins. Defense and State departments are continually on the verge of mutiny, a level of non-cooperation which has not existed since the Carter administration. Obama himself (like Carter) does not understand foreign policy, his focus from college days has been on domestic civil rights and anti-poverty issues.

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    • “Obama himself (like Carter) does not understand foreign policy”

      But that’s why presidents have ADVISORS!

      “his focus from college days has been on domestic civil rights and anti-poverty issues.”

      Not that he’s that great on civil rights and anti-poverty either. Americans are more racially divided than ever before; more Americans are on food stamps than ever in U.S. history.

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      • I said he was focused on it, not that he was good at it. He has probabaly set civil rights progress back 10 years in his 5 years in office by demanding unrealistic goals and refusing to compromise. Same for the economy.

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  4. A. James Gregor, Ph.D. & Professor

    When these policies are coupled with planned reduction of allocations for the military, the future looks particularly threatening — both the policies and the potential that have secured our defense and our prevalence for over half a century. are being dissipated.

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  5. Thank you StMA for this amazing post. I do not call Obama my president. I call him a “king”. He is untruthful and participates in evil actions constantly. He wars with our U.S. military commanders and has a definite agenda to weaken our country. In fact, everything he does substantiates my latter statement.

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  6. Obama wanted to avoid a conflict in the far east and the middle east at the expense of the traditional allies of the US. During times like this, the United States requires a Reagan-like president.

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