WASHINGTON — If anyone needs further evidence the White House is out of touch with reality, it came in an official statement this week that President Obama has made the world a more tranquil place.
This was the White House’s exaggerated response to a well-documented, front-page Wall Street Journal story that concluded “the breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn’t been seen since the late 1970s.”
The article also charged that under this administration, “U.S. global power seems increasingly tenuous.”
This should be obvious to anyone who’s been following foreign events — make that crises — since Barack Obama, a freshman senator with little, if any, real world experience, was sworn into office in 2009.
The Journal’s list of bungled foreign policy challenges is Exhibit A:
Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and its latest threats to take over more territory; the rise of a more lethal and expansive terrorist offensive in Iraq and Syria and across North Africa; the failed negotiations with Iran over its plans to become a nuclear military power in the region; the explosion of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza; the electoral crisis in Afghanistan; and China’s expansionist efforts to claim territory beyond its borders.
Throw in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s stepped-up military threats against South Korea, including the firing of more than 100 rockets into the Sea of Japan, a few hundred yards from the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas.
Thugs and despots, drunk with power and with visions of military conquests, will test their adversaries’ resolve if they sense weakness that makes them think they can get away with murder.
Russian president Vladimir Putin tested Obama in the Ukraine and got away with nothing more than a tap on the wrist. Now Putin makes a trumped-up charge that Kiev sent a missile into Russia as he builds an excuse to send in his troops.
Obama is being tested as never before by people who are plotting to attack us. The latest threat comes from a new explosive developed by terrorists in Yemen and Syria that’s undetectable, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
“In some ways, it’s more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” Eric Holder told ABC News in London Sunday.
All of this unleashed a battery of testy questions from reporters at White House press secretary Josh Earnest’s Monday news briefing. Ed Henry of Fox News, noting the Journal’s article, asked him to respond to “the notion that the president is a bystander in all of these crises.”
Earnest defensively pointed to the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons and mediation of Afghanistan’s ballot dispute, among other things. “There have been a number of situations in which you’ve seen this administration intervene in a meaningful way that has … substantially improved the — you know, the tranquility of the global community,” he said.
The once-compliant White House reporters were aghast at that remark. Jonathan Karl of ABC News asked, “Did you really believe that this president’s foreign policy has contributed to what you called the ‘tranquility of the global community’?”
Earnest struggled to hold to his claim, but did not use the word “tranquility” again for the remainder of the news conference. There were plenty of other holes in his earlier responses, too.
The move to dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons was of doubtful success. International inspectors are finding it difficult to locate its remaining weapons, as Bashar Assad continues to bomb civilian centers, without much, if any, complaint from the Obama White House.
As for the White House’s claims of “important progress” in the continuing nuclear talks with Iran, Julie Pace of The Associated Press pointed out there has not been “much of a breakthrough” in those negotiations.
Indeed, a U.S. official at the talks recently branded Iran’s positions thus far as “unworkable and inadequate.”
Critical questions from the news media, heavily laced with obvious doubts about the administration’s slippery answers, are coming with increasing frequency in the sixth year of Obama’s troubled presidency. That means the media are finally growing tired of being fed a steady diet of political pablum that nobody believes is true.
On the domestic side of things, Obama is getting hit by one executive branch scandal after another, making the president and the people he’s put in charge of the federal government’s departments and agencies look weak and embarrassingly incompetent.
The rank politicization of the Internal Revenue Service to punish the president’s foes; the mismanagement and cover-up in the Veterans Affairs’ medical centers; the bungled rollout of Obamacare that’s still beset by a sea of financial troubles, dubious data and pending lawsuits; and the increasing waves of young illegals who have been flowing across Texas’ border have exposed long-ignored wrongdoing and political chicanery.
Obama thinks he can float above all of this as he goes about the country making bombastic claims about the U.S. economy — saying that it is the best in many years.
But a majority of Americans don’t believe him, and with good reason. Twenty states still suffer from unemployment rates from 6.4 percent to 8.2 percent, including some of the most populous: California, New York and New Jersey.
“The Obama recovery has delivered 2.1 percent annual” economic growth. “That’s about the same as the Bush expansion, but half the pace of the Reagan-Clinton era,” says business economist Peter Morici.
The “Bush-Obama economy has created 6 million jobs, whereas it would need 40 million to match the Reagan-Clinton era,” Morici points out in a recent analysis.
Obama has a difficult time acknowledging, let alone telling, the truth. He certainly hasn’t ushered in an era of global tranquility, and he definitely hasn’t given us a strong and healthy economy.