Following the midterm shellacking, President Obama was going to focus primarily on the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs. But November was full of Obama Administration foreign-policy gaffes, missteps and embarrassments. Here are the Top 10:
1. Korea trade agreement: The centerpiece of the President’s visit to the G-20 meeting in Seoul was going to be a new free-trade pact with South Korea that the White House said would increase U.S. exports by $10 billion and create 70,000 new American jobs. The long-negotiated deal fell through at the last minute over a dispute about U.S. access to Korea’s auto and beef markets. The failure to nail down the agreement, coming at such a high-profile setting, was a major foreign policy blunder that made the President look like an amateur diplomat.
2. Wikileaks: Wikileaks should have been shut down before the latest trove of cables was released. But the documents contain numerous embarrassments about how the U.S. conducts foreign policy, from seeking DNA from foreign diplomats, to creating psychological dossiers on world leaders such as Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The treasonous release also raises the question of how one lowly serviceman could have access to all these secret cables.
3. New START Treaty: Making the new START Treaty the centerpiece of U.S.-Russian relations was a mistake in the first place. As Iran and North Korea’s rogue nuclear programs are advancing, Professor Obama is still fighting the Leftist dream of the 1970s of a nuclear-free Europe. By keeping private the START negotiating record and not addressing Republican concerns early on, Obama compounded his error and now faces a new obstacle in “resetting” relations with Russia.
4. G-20 smackdown: Obama tried to make an issue of China’s currency valuations at the G-20 meeting. But coming right after the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy, the plea was denounced by world leaders who claimed a double standard. Nor could he get world leaders to agree to limit trade deficits. When was the last time that an American President was so impotent on the world stage?
5. North Korea: The idea that President Obama was going to live up to his Nobel Prize by solving long-standing world problems was pretty much blown up when North Korea lobbed missiles onto a South Korean island. Now we have learned via Wikileaks that the dysfunctional Hermit Empire has provided long-range missiles to Iran. Is there a Plan B?
6. Haiti: The latest election debacle highlighted the folly of the Obama Haiti policy following the devastating earthquake last January. Obama’s high-minded talk of a rebuilt Haiti was empty rhetoric. Not that much can be done to fix that hellish country, but why raise hopes without providing resources?
7. Venezuela: Is President Obama losing it? What is a better explanation as to why he would joke on Air Force One that he was going to divert the plane to Caracas so he could pal around with Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. Even the White House press corps characterized the President as “a little punchy.”
8. Ireland: The economic problems headed for Europe after another bailout will only make America’s woes harder to solve. And after two years of Obamanomics, America is starting to look like a bigger version of the debt-burdened PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain).
9. Israel: Obama’s attempt to get talks Mideast peace talks restarted suffered a setback following a squabble with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Jewish settlements in Jerusalem. Back to square one.
10. Climate: Following the Copenhagen fiasco last year, don’t expect that the Cancun climate conference will accomplish anything. But Obama will need to keep his cap-and-trade fiasco on the table to stay chummy with the global warming alarmists.