Loose Canons

Things Obama Just Won’t Do

Keeping America superpower strong is the last thing he wants.

By 7.28.14

WhiteHouse.gov
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Watching Fox News on Friday morning, I saw my friend retired Navy Capt. Chuck Nash talking about what we need to do to help resolve the crisis in the Ukraine. What he said made a lot of sense, but it struck me that we all know that President Obama will do absolutely nothing he recommended.

There are so many crises like that around the world and here at home that could be solved entirely or at least ameliorated by the president. The long list of actions President Obama should take to resolve many crises around the world describes many that are — or at least were before Obama — in America’s interests and within America’s grasp. We can take it to the bank that Obama will do none of these things. It takes only a few examples to illustrate the point.

After about ten days of public outrage, Europe has reverted to its Cold War default position, the appeasement of neo-Soviet Russia. For all the harrumphing about new sanctions, François Hollande has said that the sale of two warships to Russia will proceed on schedule. Yesterday’s Washington Post op-ed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for serious sanctions against Russia to demonstrate the world’s seriousness about stopping the Russian insurgents (and that’s what they are, not “separatists” but a Russian proxy force) from taking over his country. He wrote that the U.S. could help with shipments of natural gas to strengthen the Ukrainian economy against Russian blackmail. He wants the U.S. to organize a coalition of nations to stop Russian aggression. It won’t happen.

Obama could send military aid to Ukraine to reverse the gains the Russian-backed insurgents have made. But he won’t do that either.

We know that the Israelis keep declaring cease-fires in Gaza but the Hamas terrorist government there keeps violating them. Secretary of State Kerry, negotiating with whomever will talk to him (a shrinking cohort), wants to blame Israel for the continued killing. The Israelis are ignoring Kerry and Obama because their prescriptions for peace place all of the burdens and all of the risk on Israel, not the terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who fire rockets aimed at Israeli civilians. All Obama was willing to do was to effectively blockade Israel by banning civilian flights to its principal airport for forty-eight hours. He takes no notice of Palestinian rockets, or their using concrete not to build schools but to construct tunnels into Israel to mount terrorist attacks.

We also know that the president wants about $3 billion in added funding to help “process” the flood of illegal aliens coming across our borders. Senate Democrats don’t want to interfere with the flow of illegals across the border, so they’re combining unrelated issues — such as the Pentagon’s request for $225 million to help Israel fund the construction of its Iron Dome anti-rocket system that protects its citizens from Hamas and IJ rockets fired from Gaza — with the border funding and aid to states for problems such as wildfires.

He could demand that the Iron Dome aid be passed separately and immediately because our only ally in the Middle East needs it. He could tell Harry Reid to pass an amendment to the Bush-era law that essentially blocks the immediate deportation of Central American children. And he could cut foreign aid to the nations who are propelling the illegal immigration. But he won’t do any of those things.

Some pundits are proclaiming that Obama has just given up, that he’s more interested in raising funds for Democrats and playing golf than in working with international leaders and Senate Dems to solve the problems. That’s wrong, because it overlooks the primary political strategy that propelled Obama to the presidency and which he has stuck with through more than five years of his presidency.

Obama’s principal strategy, from the beginning of his 2008 campaign (which began the moment he was elected to the Senate in 2004) has been to create divisive issues and blame the Republican Party for failing to solve them.

When first in office, Obama offered his “economic stimulus” plan. Hundreds of billions of dollars would be funneled into “shovel ready” projects after first being taxed away from the American people. A vastly better alternative was offered by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) in the form of a tax holiday that would have actually stimulated the economy by leaving tax money in the hands of businesses — large and small — that could have used it to invest in jobs, plants, and equipment. But Obama had an issue that he and the press ran with. His program didn’t stimulate the economy. Large parts of the money were spent on Obama’s pals and pet issues. Remember Solyndra, which had over $500 million in federally guaranteed loans supposedly going to “invest” in alternatives to global warming? It didn’t stimulate anything. It just filled the pockets of some of the president’s pals before the company went bankrupt.

Obama wanted an issue, not a solution. He got it.

You will remember the Obamacare debate. It consumed the entire nation’s political energy for almost eighteen months. Obama campaigned for it relentlessly. Not only did his lie about “if you like your insurance plan you can keep your insurance plan” dominate the headlines, but his equally important lie was that Republicans had no alternatives to it. The media, the ideological bit in its teeth, ran with the lie despite the fact that Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), himself a medical doctor, had a vastly better alternative introduced in a bill that would have left medical decisions to doctors and patients and not the government.

Again, Obama wanted an issue, not a solution. Now, when the opportunity presents itself, Obama is doing almost the same thing on foreign policy.

I say almost, not exactly, because there’s a difference in Obama’s approach to accommodate the difference in how most Americans regard foreign policy issues. Frustrating as it may be for those of us who focus our energies on foreign policy and defense, most Americans don’t regard those issues important unless there’s a crisis and even then, unless America is involved in a war, people don’t think much about them.

Obama’s foreign policy has two goals. First, Obama disdains the use of American power. Not just military power but diplomatic and international power as well. His policy is dedicated to eliminating any action that is undertaken because America’s interests demand it. His aim is to reduce America from a superpower to something less. He’s succeeding.

Second, Obama’s policy is aimed at creating issues — not solutions — among our allies, dividing them from us and among themselves just as he divides Americans by blaming Republicans for lacking solutions to problems. He has divorced Israel and gone along with France when it wanted military action against Libya and again when it sells warships to Russia while Russia is using a proxy force to conquer Ukraine. Any foreign policy divisions he can create among Americans is a collateral benefit, nothing more. They can be considerable, as the border crisis proves.

Obama doesn’t want to solve the border crisis. He wants to use executive power to grant illegal aliens legal status without congressional action. He’s content to go without congressional funding of his multi-billion dollar ploy to aid illegal immigrant “processing” if he can also ignore funding for Iron Dome. He has no problem with Harry Reid coupling the two and demanding more on amnesty as a price for passing a bill containing all of those items.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey compared Russia’s action in the Ukraine to Stalin’s invasion of Poland in 1939 when the Soviet Union was Hitler’s ally. He said, “You’ve got a Russian government that has made a conscious decision to use its military force inside another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives. It’s the first time since 1939 or so that that’s been the case.… They clearly are on a path to assert themselves differently not just in Eastern Europe, but Europe in the main, and towards the United States.”

If Dempsey and Poroshenko mistake Obama for someone who actually wants a solution to the Russian invasion of Ukraine that would leave it free and democratic, they mistake Obama for someone he is not.

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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.