Barack Obama brought to the presidency the foreign policy experience of a community organizer, that is to say, none. And it shows. If there is such a thing as an Obama Doctrine, it might be this: React slowly to a foreign crisis and, in a conflict, pick a side hostile to U.S. interests. Here are the Top 10 Obama Foreign Policy Flubs.
1. Libya: NATO’s Obama-backed Libyan excursion is entering its third month with no end in sight, as Muammar Gaddafi and the ill-trained and ill-equipped rebel forces battle to a stalemate. Without the U.S. taking the dominant military lead, NATO’s feeble effort is exposing a shocking weakness in the military alliance. And Obama still hasn’t explained why Gaddafi’s troops shooting into crowds warrants retribution, while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can do the same with impunity. What an ill-conceived effort, with no real leadership and no clear goals.
2. Iran: In 2009, when Tehran protesters looked to Washington for help, Obama offered little support as he held on to the dream that his magical words could sway Iran’s Islamist leaders. His naive stance snubbed the masses of people hoping for democratic reform while ensuring that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will continue his march to make Iran a nuclear power.
3. Egypt: First, Vice President Joe Biden says longtime U.S. ally Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is not a dictator, then the administration calls for him to step aside. By withdrawing support for Mubarak, Obama sent shock waves to other U.S. allies in the Middle East—including oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Bahrain—and gave an opening for the Muslim Brotherhood to rise to power.
4. The Dollar: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s policy of qualitative easing is eroding the dollar while encouraging inflation. International holders of U.S. dollars are not pleased to see the drop, spurring talk of a different currency to dominate the world’s financial system. Along with the Obama deficits, America’s creditworthiness is in question.
5. Israel: Obama’s speech seeking a return to Israel’s 1967 borders undercut America’s only reliable ally in the region. His attempt to broker any kind of accord between Israel and the Palestinians is in disarray. His special envoy George Mitchell just resigned and Israel is rightfully concerned with Obama’s hard-line on Israeli borders and his fondness for the Arab world. And with the “Arab Spring” possibly sweeping Islamists into power, Israel will be further isolated in the region.
6. Global organizations: By ceding power to the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and other international organizations, Obama is undermining America’s sovereignty. The Libyan military action is a case in point, approved by the UN and not by Congress. And with the IMF funneling billions of U.S. tax dollars to bail out debt-ridden countries, one wonders if the idea of a One World Government is becoming a reality.
7. Brazil oil: It was bad enough when Obama pulled the plug on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. But after oil companies sent their drilling rigs to Brazil, Obama said, “We want to be one of your best customers,” and announced plans to lend billions to the state-owned oil company to drill off the coast of Brazil. Memo to President Obama: There are plenty of oil resources in the United States that, if tapped, could create jobs and lessen dependence on foreign oil.
8. Pakistan: This supposed U.S. ally has consistently undermined U.S. anti-terror efforts, as its intelligence service seemingly is supportive of anti-American jihadists. Pakistan either allowed safe harbor for Osama bin Laden or was totally incompetent despite billions of dollars of U.S. aid. The mixed signals from the Obama administration following the Osama bin Laden raid only further damaged the relationship with Pakistan.
9. Russia: Obama’s clumsy attempt to push the reset button with Russia had the U.S. making concessions on missile defense and nuclear arms without gaining anything in return. Instead of moving closer to the U.S., Russia is aligning with China, Brazil, India and other developing nations on key issues.
10. Apologizing: Obama’s apology tour shortly after taking office sent the message that he didn’t really think all that highly about America. Not only wasn’t America exceptional, but it was guilty of heinous offenses. No thank you, Mr. President, for your apologies. As Memorial Day approaches and we honor those who died for our country, we can be proud of the causes they served.