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Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

Obama’s Failed Foreign Policies

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 19, 2016

The current political atmosphere is sucking the oxygen out of the news media’s bandwidth.  On the Republican side, the Donald Trump story has created ratings for the media, which they cannot get enough of.  The Democrats are in the midst of a primary battle in which the Party’s chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton, is having challenges defeating a 74-year-old Socialist.  In this atmosphere, President Obama is almost an afterthought by the news media, but this week garnered some news attention nominating Merrick Garlandfor the Supreme Court.

Today, viewing the news is tantamount to watching a reality show that many Americans have become so fond of.  While entertaining, this diversion mask more significant challenges the Country faces, both economically and on the foreign affairs front.

Obama’s foreign policies have resulted in almost universal failure.  He and his former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, once famously announced a reset in America’s relationship with Russia.  Ever since, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has dedicated Russia’s policies that are anti-American and anti-Obama.

In Asia, China has been saber rattling seeking greater control of the Pacific Ocean.  North Korea threatens the use of nukes on its enemies.  The Middle East is in shambles with too many hotspots to mention.

The only foreign policy “victories” claimed by the Obama Administration is the nuclear deal with Iran, which shortly thereafter they began illegally testing ballistic missiles.  In addition, Obama has opened up diplomatic relations with Castro’s Cuba.  With victories like this, who needs defeat.

Robert_GatesLast week one of Obama’s former Defense Secretary’s, Robert Gates, was interviewed by Fox News Bret Baier on one of the failures of Middle East policies occurring under Obama’s watch, the Egyptian revolution of 2013.  During the interview, Gates indicated that President Obama disregarded the advice of all of his senior advisers when he backed the overflow of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak stating:

“Literally, the entire national security team recommended unanimously handling Mubarak differently than we did.  And the president took the advice of three junior backbenchers in terms of how to treat Mubarak.  One of them saying, ‘Mr. President, you gotta be on the right side of the history.’  And I would be sitting there at the table, and I’d say, ‘Yeah, if we could just figure that out, we’d be a long way ahead.’”

Obama’s ill-conceived Egyptian strategy did more than damage that country.  It further lowered America standing with allies who no longer trust the only remaining superpower.

Obama’s ill-advised decision concerning Egypt is just one example of an inept foreign policy that places wishful thinking over reality in decision-making.  It is unfortunate that the current political atmosphere does not allow realistic discussion and assessment of the downward spiral of America’s foreign policies, as well as other strategic issues facing the Country.


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Liberal MSNBC Commentators Criticize Obama’s State of the Union Address

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 23, 2015

MSNBC has been a stalwart liberal proponent and outward supporter of Barack Obama and his policies for most of his first six years in office. However, even this Left-leaning network has become increasingly critical of Obama.

Shortly after the President’s State of the Union address, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell were highly critical of the President’s bravado concerning foreign policy in the exchange included in video posted below:

Chris Matthews: “… even in a solipsistic way. Because I kept thinking tonight, there’s a real world out there that he didn’t really talk about. And perhaps the over-ambitious notions where we stood in the war against ISIL, the Islamic State – he doesn’t want to call It the Islamic State, but that’s what they call themselves – uh, there’s two Japanese people, no guilt on their shoulders, just staring out of the desert, who are going to be, apparently, decapitated… Uh, that reality, what is going on in Nigeria is reality. How close was the President to reality, overall, globally, tonight?”

Andrea Mitchell: “I think that on foreign policy, his projection of success against terrorism and against ISIS in particular, as I said, is not close to reality. It’s just that… they have not come up with a strategy. And they built a global coalition… but again, he talked about Ukraine, he talked about Putin being isolated… yes, Putin is isolated economically, and the falling oil prices have hammered his economy, but at the same time there is renewed fighting in Donetsk, and we haven’t figured out Ukraine, we haven’t figured out how the NATO alliance can push back. The sanctions have not really worked, and Ukraine is going to need more weaponry. They have not reached that point. So, you’re right, Chris. It doesn’t match the reality.”

Perhaps putting an explanation mark on Matthews’ and Mitchell’s criticism of Obama, yesterday the Middle East country of Yemen fell to a radical Shiite-backed militias. It was not long ago that Obama had the extreme naïveté to call Yemen a success story in his administration’s counter attack to Islamic terrorism

It is clear that Western and America’s interests throughout the world are under attack in the most significant ways since World War II. It is not by coincidence that this is occurring six years after the continuation Obama’s feckless foreign policy. The President has shown an inability to understand, let alone manage, foreign affairs in a way that serves America’s interests. It is unreasonable to expect improvement during Obama’s last two years in office. We can only hope that the problems are relatively contained until the next president takes the office. While hope is not a plan, it is unfortunately the only option available given the President’s unwillingness to admit failure and change course.

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America’s Incoherent Foreign Policy

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 9, 2014

It can be argued that George W. Bush made poor foreign policy decisions. Bush made an ill-conceived decision to invade Iraq. While that took down a nasty dictator, there were no weapons of mass destruction, the purpose of the invasion. Bush’s Afghanistan invasion was initially successful and necessary. However, once the Taliban and were taken down the mission morphed into nation building with no chance of success. Obama continues this failed policy six years into his presidency.

It can be said that President Obama has no foreign policy. He jumps from crisis to crisis with slowly developing tactical responses that have failed. In Libya, Obama helped take down Qaddafi and that country has since become a failed state housing terrorists. In Syria, Obama dithered in backing Democratic protesters during the early days of the Arab Spring. Now, the country is in Civil War with radical Islamists dominating the opposition to Assad. Iraq is in the process of disintegrating into three countries with radical Islamists controlling up to a third of it.

George Friedman of strafor.com wrote a piece titled Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy, link supplied below that begins:

“The United States is, at the moment, off balance. It faces challenges in the Syria-Iraq theater as well as challenges in Ukraine. It does not have a clear response to either. It does not know what success in either theater would look like, what resources it is prepared to devote to either, nor whether the consequences of defeat would be manageable.”

Friedman’s call of Obama foreign policy “off-base” is an understatement. The Obama policies are also ill-conceived and naïve. However, this not only falls on the President, but also on the American electorate who voted in a Community Organizer with no foreign policy experience to the most important diplomatic position in the world.

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

Posted in Foreign Policy, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

America’s Standing in World Reaches New Low

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 16, 2013

Jeff Jacoby, a writer for The Boston Globe published a piece titled From the Iraqi pullout to the disaster in Syria, by this past weekend that tells the unfortunate tale of America’s standing in the world since the election of Barack Obama as president.  Jacoby’s words require no clarification with his excerpt posted below.

As Jacoby points out, during his 2008 campaign for the presidency Obama had the audacity to stay: “One of the things I intend to do as president is restore America’s standing in the world.” As the saying goes; with friends like this who needs enemies.

From the Iraqi pullout to the disaster in Syria, by Jeff Jacoby, September 15, 2013 (Excerpt)

DEMOCRATS JEERED when John McCain told a New Hampshire audience during the 2008 presidential campaign that he would be glad to see US troops remain in Iraq for decades, even a century, once the war was over.  “We’ve been in Japan for 60 years [and] in South Korea for 50 years,” he said.  A similar long-term stay in a postwar Iraq, buttressing allies and providing stability in a volatile region, would “be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”

McCain’s political foes had a field day with that.  Though he had plainly been speaking of a friendly peacetime presence, Democrats hammered him as an insatiable warmonger.  Then-Senator Barack Obama claimed the Arizona Republican was “willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq.”  Howard Dean, the Democratic Party chairman, declared: “McCain’s strategy is a war without end.”  In a TV ad aired by MoveOn.org, a new mother, playing with her baby boy, told McCain that if he was counting on using her little Alex as cannon fodder in Iraq, “you can’t have him.”

Yet McCain was right.  Having won a difficult war in Iraq, the United States should have settled in for the long haul, just as we did in Japan, Germany, Italy, and South Korea, where tens of thousands of American troops remain to this day.  Instead President Obama pulled the troops out, as he had always made clear he would.  Iraq’s fragile constitutional democracy, so hard-won, was left to fend for itself.  Al Qaeda in Iraq, all but wiped out, gained a new lease on life.  Now a new generation of Americans, including young Alex, is learning that the loss of US influence makes the world a more menacing place.

“One of the things I intend to do as president is restore America’s standing in the world,” Obama vowed as he pursued the presidency in 2008.  Abandoning Iraq wasn’t the way to do it.  America’s standing in the world has reached a new low.  So low that even Bashar al-Assad can thumb his nose at an explicit presidential “red line” – then laugh as Vladimir Putin effortlessly suckers Washington into doing nothing about it. . . .

Read the complete original version of this item…

Posted in Foreign Policy, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Russia Thumbs its Nose at the US and Obama

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 6, 2013

We are approximately five years post Obama capturing his first nomination as the Democrat Party’s presidential candidate.  It was a remarkable rise to power after a fairly unremarkable career.  Before capturing his party’s nomination, Obama was a Community Organizer, then state senator from Illinois, and finally two years into his first stint in the U.S. Senate before being elected president.  In November 2012 President Obama was elected for a second term in office.

Irrespective of his lack of experience in business, economics or foreign policy, during his run for the presidency Obama pontificated on the subjects as if he had all of the answers.  The economy continues to be mired in the slowest recovery in modern times.  Obama’s answer to this ongoing quagmire; we need more of the same policies that his failed his administration of the country during the past four plus years.  As for the weak recovery, he accepts no responsibility but instead continues to blame his predecessor.

Obama’s record on the international front is no better than it is with the economy.  While he had no experience in international relations or foreign policy prior to becoming president, he confidently indicated he had all the answers.  Blaming his predecessor for unilateral diplomacy, Obama promised that by working with other governments America’s prestige would improve internationally and other governments would cooperate more readily with the United States.  Obama’s approach included a naïve view of the world.  Countries make decisions on policies based on their perceptions as to what is good for their particular country, not because of special relationships with other leaders.

The results of Obama’s approach to foreign policy speak for themselves.  North Korea is as belligerent as ever and has detonated additional nuclear weapons.  Iran continues down the path of seeking nuclear weapons and is not directly communicate with the Obama administration.  Is reported The Middle East is in shambles with the Arab Spring turning into a dark winter. China is reported to be the largest hacker into American computers.

The latest kick in the teeth for the President comes from Russia.  It recently announced that it is giving asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.  Has the President admitted any failings in foreign policy?  Not a chance of this sign of humility from Barack Obama.  Adding insult to injury, Hillary Clinton, Obama’s partner in creating the foreign policy of his first term is likely to be the Democrat candidate for president in 2016 proving once again that competency is not a prerequisite to being President of the United States.

Snowden Granted Asylum

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Hillary Out of Step at G 20 Conference

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 21, 2012

The G 20 economic conference is currently ongoing in Los Cabos, Mexico.  At the conference the 20 represented countries are supposed to be working together towards global economic growth.

The photo below posted by England’s Mail Online indicates that on the dress code at least, all who attended the conference were in lockstep with the exception of Hillary Clinton.  For an Administration that is known for following from behind, Hillary seems to be out of place.

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Syria Exposes Dysfunctional Obama Middle East Policies

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 12, 2012

During his campaign for the presidency, President Obama berated his predecessors’ foreign policies and promised a new era if he were elected.  Soon after becoming president, Obama apologized to the world America’s past policies.  It is hard to comprehend the President’s goal with this apologist approach.  Clearly the world is not a safer place, nor is it any more loved by its adversaries.

The failure of Obama’s foreign policy is apparent in the Middle East and in the greater Muslim world.  Since his election, the Israelis and Palestinians are no closer to peace.  The Iranians continued down the path of developing nuclear weapons and various Arab countries are in turmoil with what is referred to as the “Arab Spring”.  Finally, America’s relationship with Pakistan is at an all-time low.

While the appropriateness of President Obama’s basic foreign policies can be debated, there is no excuse for inconsistencies these policies, especially those relating to the Middle East.  It is reported that in the past year over 5,000 Syrians have been killed by Bashir Assad’s regime for protesting against the brutal dictator.  While the Obama Administration has given lip service complaints concerning these killings, it has taken no concrete steps to stop the massacre.  Contrast this to Obama’s response in other Arab countries.  It is estimated 800 people died in the Egyptian protests last year when America turned on Hosni Mubarak, a friend of the United States.  It is estimated that only about 300 Libyans were killed when Obama intervened with a no-fly zone.  The justification for the intervention was Obama’s contention that without it more Libyans would be killed by Gadhafi.

President Obama’s inconsistent policies have played a role in Syria’s willingness to continue killing its people.  In addition, history shown that inconsistent foreign policies lead to miscalculations by once adversaries.  This increases the likelihood that the Administration’s inconsistent policies will drag the United States into armed conflicts in the future.

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Chinese President Expresses Concerns about the U.S. Dollar

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 18, 2011

In answers to the Wall Street Journal’s written questions, Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed his Country’s concerns about the stability of the U.S. dollar stating that the U.S. dollar-dominated worldwide currency system is a “product of the past“.  Hu also criticized the U.S. Federal Reserve huge bond purchases   the past two years (quantitative easing) as being inflationary.

The Chinese comments should not be taken lightly.  China has a historical habit of acting on comments it makes to the international community.

China holds nearly $3 trillion.  Many economists believe that these huge holdings will stop China from taking action that would hurt the value of the U.S. dollar.  However, that conclusion is based in a vacuum that does not consider China’s larger strategic interests in the world and the Pacific Rim specifically.  Should China see a further weakening of its U.S. dollar holdings as inevitable, it may decide to precipitate that drop for strategic reasons.  That would most certainly bring inflation to the United States.

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Scoring Obama’s Outreach to the Muslim World

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 7, 2011

One narrative created by Barack Obama when running for the presidency and Leftist in general was that was that much of the hostility that some Muslims have towards the United States was rooted in America’s actions.  They specifically pointed to George W. Bush’s straight-talk approach, which the Left found abrasive and one-sided.  Now, over two-years into the Obama Presidency in which a cornerstone to his foreign policy has been a charm-offensive to the Muslim world, this theory is ready to be evaluated.

Last week the Wall Street Journal published and op-ed by Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  Muravchik indicates that Obama has not received any tangible benefits with the governments of Iran, Syria, or the Palestinian Authority.  However, the President is better liked than his predecessor, leading to more favorable ratings within some Islamic countries for America in general.

Muravchik sites to a recent poll from the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project that included the following statistics:

  • 20% of Egyptians, 23% of Indonesians and 34% of Jordanians hold favorable views towards al Qaeda.
  • 19% of Egyptians, 25% of Indonesians and 14% of Jordanians responded positively when asked whether they have confidence that bin Laden will “do the right thing regarding world affairs.”
  • 20% of Egyptians, 20% of Jordanians and 15% of Indonesians said that it is “often” or “sometimes” justified (as opposed to “rarely” or “never”) on the question of suicide bombing.
  • While under President Obama there continues to be decline in support for terrorism with the Muslim countries surveyed, the drop off is smaller than when George W. Bush was president.  The sharpest decrease in terror support in Indonesia, Turkey and Lebanon came between 2003 and 2005; in Jordan, between 2005 and 2006; in Nigeria and Egypt between 2006 and 2007.  Only in Pakistan was the largest drop between 2008 and 2009, but the poll was taken in April 2009 with Bush being in office more of the time than Mr. Obama during that interval.

Muravchik concludes: “The good news is that the proportion of pro-terror opinion continues to decline.  The bad news is that the minority holding such views remains considerable.”  He further states that: “Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama wanted to drive down support for terrorism among Muslims.  Mr. Bush’s approach was to knock heads together and speak bluntly of the need for societal change.  Mr. Obama’s approach has been to curry favor with publics and rulers alike.  Mr. Bush’s approach may have worked better.”  And finally: “The data are too slender to sustain the claim that Mr. Bush’s policies succeeded in turning much of the Muslim world against terrorism.  But they are substantial enough to inform our understanding that Mr. Obama’s approach has achieved little in this regard.”

President Obama’s approach to terrorism from radical Islam matches the naivety of his other major polices.  He views the world through a prism created by the radical Left in the 1960’s and made mainstream by elitists in more recent years.  The good news for these elitists is that they final got a fellow radical elected president.  The bad news for them is that their radical theories have finally been tested in the real world and proved to be fallacious.  This reality will be Barack Obama’s real legacy.


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America – South Korea Relationship Being Tested

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 22, 2010

Stratfor ( www.stratfor.com ) is a well-respected source of information on American foreign policy and international relations.  They recently posted a video report (link provided below) on strains between the United States and South Korea that deserves attention.

On May 26 2010, this Blog included a posting titled: “North Korea Sinks South Korean Ship”. That week North Korea torpedoed a South Korean naval vessel in international waters killing 46 of its sailors.  It was clear by this provocative act that the North was testing President Obama’s “backbone”.  His response has not been promising.

Initially the United States indicated that it would send a naval armada to the Yellow Sea for a joint military exercise with South Korean as a display of power and warning to North Korea.  After the Chinese protested, America blinked, delaying the exercise and moving it to the East Sea.  Now the South Koreans are nervous about America’s commitment to them.

Of more concern is how the North Koreans (and Chinese) will view Obama’s indecisive response.  History demonstrates that indecisiveness often leads one side to miscalculate the other’s resolve and this has led to even more dangerous confrontations.

The Obama Administration has shown a strange tendency in its relations with our strongest allies.  Relations have been strained with our strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel, as well as our strongest ally in Europe, England.  Now South Korea has its concerns.  This is not a pattern that instills confidence in America’s foreign policy.

Stratfor Video – South Korea and the United States

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