Loose Canons

Losing the World to Win Reelection

That's the secret to Mr. Obama "mastery" of foreign policy.

By 5.21.12

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It's more and more difficult to write about the Islamist war against Western civilization. Not because there is too little to write, or because the fronts in that war are quiet. It's tough to do because fewer people seem to give a damn each week.

Maybe the stark ironies of the war could bestir people to think about it. For those who still care, here are a few of those ironies that would be fodder for late night comedians if they weren't so bloody serious.

As usual, there is Obamaworld and -- on the other side of the looking glass -- there's reality.

The "Arab Spring" broke out in March of last year. Since then, dictators in Egypt and Libya have been replaced by Islamist governments, both of which will prove to be as bad or worse than the dictators they replaced. (NB: I use the term Islamist instead of "radical Islamist" because the word "radical" is a redundancy. There is no form of Islamism -- as opposed to Islam -- that isn't inherently radical, supportive of terrorism and Islamic global hegemony.)

Meanwhile, back in Syria, the Arab Spring revolt is now over a year old. Which brings us to the irony of the week.

Yesterday's Washington Post had a long knuckle-rubbing article about whether Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons might fall into the hands of "militants," WaPo's latest euphemism for jihadis. Trudging through a story that was meant to assure us that our spec ops guys would seize the chemical weapons before the "militants" grabbed them, I came across the following:

While the stockpiles appear secure at the moment, they could be plundered or simply abandoned if Syrian troops are beaten back by increasingly well-armed rebels or by al-Qaeda militants who have been streaming into the country from Iraq in recent weeks, intelligence officials say. 

Setting aside the term "al-Qaeda militants" for the moment, how many al-Q's does it take to make a weeks-long stream of them? Five? Five hundred? And who believes that we'll have good enough intelligence in time for our spec ops guys to seize the chemical weapons before al-Qaeda (or Hizballah) does?

We've been assured time and again that al Qaeda has been defeated in Iraq and reduced to a token force in Afghanistan. On May 1, Obama said that the defeat of al Qaeda is "within our reach" and that we have broken the Taliban's "momentum" in Afghanistan (whatever that means). But why can't the Taliban as rapidly regain its momentum there as al Qaeda has in Iraq?

Taliban leader Mullah Omar is still very much alive (probably in a comfy condo somewhere in Pakistan) and is probably mullahing over the Taliban's slogan: "Americans have the watches, but we have the time." Obama's latest agreement with Afghan President Karzai requires Afghan permission for spec ops raids on suspected Taliban, ending the effectiveness of those raids and putting the lives of our guys at risk due to the near-certainty of leaks to the Taliban of any planned raids.

When he committed American forces to war in Libya, Obama's administration justified it by saying it was authorized by a UN Security Council resolution. Not a constitutional congressional authorization for war, which Obama apparently believes is irrelevant. And the irony was that then-Defense Secretary Bob Gates said that there were no U.S. interests at risk in Libya. Regardless of the UN, our intervention in Libya was a bad idea but removing Assad isn't.

Syria, since 1979, has been a designated state sponsor of terrorism. Damascus has been a virtual terrorist hiring hall, with terror groups using it as an operational base as well as raising and banking funds and gathering and stockpiling arms for their use. Hizballah -- the terrorist group that has more American blood on its hands than any other except al Qaeda -- is a Syrian proxy force also supported by Iran. If ever a regime deserved to be toppled, it is Syria's.

The NATO summit that began yesterday in Chicago is intended to provide political and financial cover for our withdrawal from Afghanistan. The European governments attending the summit with Obama and Hamid Karzai won't be willing to contribute more funding to help pay the $4 billion per year cost of the Afghanistan effort. Given the mess in the Speurozone, they can't afford to.

The greatest irony of the year is that Obama is touted as a master of national security and foreign policy. Yes, an operation he approved killed bin Laden. But the only other evidence of that mastery is the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded in 2009, apparently in anticipation of his great deeds. His record is, simply, appalling.

Remember Honduras? In 2009, after the Honduran supreme court removed dictator wannabe Manuel Zelaya, who was constitutionally precluded from succeeding himself, the Obama administration labeled it a "coup d'état" and refused to stand behind the democratic temporary government. (Zelaya's successor was later chosen in a national election.)

Israel -- and the threat it faces from Iran -- is Obama's greatest failure. Obama has been in office for nearly four years, but he has yet to visit Israel. His enmity toward Prime Minister Netanyahu has led to Israel's isolation. The gap between the two men means that when Israel decides to take military action against Iran, as it must, we will probably not know anything about it until the operation is underway. The distrust between the two leaders is that great.

England, whose Prime Minister reportedly was tucked in bed on Air Force One by Obama on the return flight from an NCAA basketball game, may have thought that the "special relationship" forged by FDR and Churchill was still alive. That thought evaporated after Obama's declaration that America was neutral in the face of Argentina's revival of the Falkland Islands dispute over which it began a war with the UK thirty years ago.

Poland, which was promised a ground-based missile defense system by President Bush, was stunned by Obama's sudden reversal. He promised, instead, a sea-based system that our Navy lacks the numbers of ships to provide, and which has no plan or budget to build them.

As badly as our allies have been treated, Obama has embraced our enemies as much or more. Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Pakistan openly support Islamist terrorism around the globe. Saudi Arabia, hiding under cover of secretive Islamic banking transactions, is still funding terrorist groups. Russian opposition to missile defenses for Europe is likely the principal subject of Obama's sotto voce message for Putin that he'll have "more flexibility" once he's re-elected.

Obama's appeasement of Iran is manifest. Congress passed increased sanctions against Iran last year. In March, Obama exempted Japan and ten European nations from compliance with those sanctions. Iran's nuclear program continues without any effective American action against it.

All told, Obama's actions are succeeding in his one goal: to push all the decisions Americans care about past Election Day. In that, and only in that, is his mastery of foreign policy evident.

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. He is coauthor (with Herbert London) of the new book The BDS War Against Israel. You can follow him on Twitter@jedbabbin.