« How big is America's debt? | Main | I'll admit to not ever before hearing from or about Niall Ferguson... »

No Guiding Light

Since President Obama took office, there have been three incidents that caught the world's attention. Three nations that we consider very strategically significant in the world had crises that threatened to suddenly change their governments. And in each case, the Obama administration took what I consider to be the wrong approach.

Honduras -- Honduras is a democracy that's pretty much in our back yard. In 2009, President Zelaya pushed for a public referendum that would have allowed him to set himself up as president for life, patterned on how Hugo Chavez did it in Venezuela. He had also been pushing an anti-American agenda, denouncing the US and blaming us for his problems.

He was opposed by the legislature and the Supreme Court, which ordered him removed from office and exiled. The precise legality of the move was questionable -- the Honduran Constitution had no such provisions set up -- but the principle was democratically sound: in nations like Honduras and the United States, the federal power is divided among three branches -- the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. Under the system of checks and balances, any two branches can check the power of the third. In the United States, the legislative can remove the executive -- but the judicial oversees the process. This is pretty much what happened.

The Obama administration's reaction was stunning. They stood firm on Zelaya's side, and rallied international pressure on Honduras to restore Zelaya -- which they did, reluctantly.

Iran -- Iran's history of the last 30-odd years needs no recapping, but just as a refresher, let's hit some of the most recent highlights. They are supporters of terrorism. They are seeking nuclear weapons. They want to be the Mideast's dominant military power. And they are currently actively fighting and killing US forces (using members of their military out of uniform) in Afghanistan and Iran.

In late 2009, after Iran's latest rigged elections, a large number of Iranians tried to rebel against their government and overthrow the mullahs who've held that nation in an iron grasp for decades. Their "Green Revolution" demanded freedom and democratic reform.

And they were crushed by the mullahs.

The Obama administration's response to the whole thing? Exceptionally tepid. It made some vague comments in generalized support of "democracy" and "freedom" and "self-determination" and whatnot, but basically downplayed the whole thing. Plus, he's been on the record for years as favoring reconciling with Iran, apologizing for past wrongdoings and trying to find some magic formula of accomodations and concessions that will end the years of hostility.

-- Egypt, as noted, has been a dictatorship for about as long as Iran has. But unlike Iran, Mubarak's dictatorship has been almost benign. He's oppressed his people, but he's been a good ally of the United States (supporting our interests far more often than not), kept the peace in and around his nation, and in general been a very potent stabilizing force in that tumultuous region. On the scale of dictators, he's been far down the list of "offensive."

Under the second President Bush, we promoted democratic reforms in Egypt. We didn't openly confront Mubarak, but we encouraged dissent and reforms and freedoms.

When President Obama came into office, though, he shifted things around a bit. He cut the funding for promoting reform in Egypt in half, and gave the Mubarak regime control over which groups would be allowed to receive it. In essence, he "sold out" the Egyptian democratic movement.

And then, when the Egyptians started demanding reform now, he pussyfooted around and equivocated and mealy-mouthed the whole thing. Then he finally took a decisive side and had his spokesman announce that Mubarak was stepping down, presumably to take the credit. Mubarak responded with a defiant insistence that he was going nowhere, regardless of what any "foreign" figures had to say -- a stinging rebuke to Obama. And then he stepped down the next day.

There has to be a unifying theme, an underlying principle, a Grand Unified Theory of foreign policy that ties these together into a rational whole. And try as I might, the only one I can find is one I've cynically cited before, but now wonder if my cynicism might be well-grounded.

Obama's foreign policy seems to revolve around two interrelated principles: "do the opposite of what Bush did" and "punish your friends and reward your enemies."

In each of the cases cited above, the side that was more pro-American (or, at least, less anti-American) was the side that he backed. Zelaya was shaping up into another anti-American demogague and tyrant in Honduras, and we backed his return. The Iranian regime has been a resolute foe for decades, and we did virtually nothing to encourage their opponents. And in Egypt, the guy who's had our back for decades in the Middle East (well, certainly more than any other Muslim nation in that region) was thrown to the wolves with barely a second glance -- and the democratic opposition was also left dangling, with each side noticing that the other got token support and neither anything of substance.

In each case,Obama came down on the side that I presume Bush would have taken. In Honduras, Bush would have supported the anti-Zelaya movement that removed a nascent dictator. In Iran, "regime change" was a policy of his. And in Egypt, he'd been supporting Democratic reforms for years.

And then there's the United Kingdom. For nigh on a century, the "special relationship" between our two nations has been one of our greatest assets. And ever since he was elected, it seems like Obama goes out of his way to snub, spurn, and alienate the British.

News flash, President Obama: Bush wasn't 100% wrong on everything. All but the most partisan hacks would have to concede that he got at least a few things right. But apparently, to Obama, being friendly to the US during the Bush administration translates to being friendly to Bush, and that must be punished. He's projecting his domestic politics on to the world stage -- and that just doesn't work.

Obama needs to get over himself and find a coherent theme and philosophy for his foreign policy. Because his stumbling around and sheer ineptitude are causing harm that could take decades to repair.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (18)

Did any of us expect Obama ... (Below threshold)

Did any of us expect Obama to do good regarding foreign policy??? Or anything else for that matter.
If things were good, he'll make them bad. If things were bad, he'll make them worst.
Thank the twits that voted for him.

I think Obama's foreign pol... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

I think Obama's foreign policy theme is coherent: when he looks at the United States, or allies and friend, he doesn't like what he sees. He also believes all of our enemies see the same thing when they look at us and our friends and allies. So, he has set out to fundamentally change us, our friends and our allies.

His process seems to be repeated humiliation, from basic social interchange through our looming bankruptcy.

You are wrong on Zelaya. He... (Below threshold)

You are wrong on Zelaya. He was not restored!

"Miss Me Yet?"... (Below threshold)

"Miss Me Yet?"

"There has to be a unify... (Below threshold)

"There has to be a unifying theme, an underlying principle, a Grand Unified Theory of foreign policy that ties these together into a rational whole."

I know it's hard to see the forest with all those damn trees in the way, but the Grand Unified Theory is quite simple. Obama wants a single, world wide, Communist government.

A Muslim caliphate (which also happens to be Marxist/socialist) is part of that plan-- and thus explains Obamas stance on Egypt and Iran. The left assumes the new Caliph will subordinate his Caliphate to the new world government the left wants to create, and they may or may not be right about that.

In cental America, of course the Obama regime is going to support any movement towards more Marxism/Communism/Socialism and oppose liberty and free Capitalism with all the power and influence the regime can muster.

If you keep Obama's single goal in mind, all his actions and statements make perfect sense. I just hope it's not too late to stop him.

JT, spot on. I always appre... (Below threshold)

JT, spot on. I always appreciate and look forward to your posts, but this is one of the better. Thanks. ww

"Obama needs to get over hi... (Below threshold)

"Obama needs to get over himself and find a coherent theme and philosophy for his foreign policy."

But...but...but....Valerie Jarrett says he's "the smartest man in the world". He could solve all the worlds problems but he gets bored too easily.

The old saying: if it walks... (Below threshold)

The old saying: if it walks and quacks like a duct, must be a duct. Given what is written in this article and everything that we know about this president ( ya,I did that on purpose )including everything he has done while in office, does anybody think he has the best interest of our country and it's citizens in his heart ?

Bottom line is, Barry has o... (Below threshold)

Bottom line is, Barry has outdone Cahtah at his worst on all issues foreign and domestic. The Mullahs may even wear new toga's to his next mid-east bow-fest.

Sharon is correct. Although... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

Sharon is correct. Although Obama tried to force Honduras to restore Zelaya, Honduras stood firm. Zelaya is currently living in exile in the Dominican Republic.

To follow up on that....Thi... (Below threshold)

To follow up on that....This means that the Obama administration has been unable to influence events anywhere they have actually put forth a policy. Israel,Honduras,Copenhagen(climate change, not the olympics),Iran,Pakistan,Egypt are all failures. No one listened, no one took the administrations threats seriously. They are just being ignored and that is a good thing as the policies they have promoted would have only made things worse.

I think Obama's strategy is... (Below threshold)

I think Obama's strategy is pretty simple. He's demonstrated it again and again. He ingratiates himself to our enemies and flips off our friends. It's almost as if he's trying to realign our standing with the entire world. The shame is that we will have pissed off every friend we ever had and those that hate us will STILL hate us. Naive doesn't even begin to describe this man.

"Naive doesn't even begin t... (Below threshold)

"Naive doesn't even begin to describe this man."

and yet the MSM continues to cheerlead for him.

As for the topic, good post although I would have titled it "No Clue".

Zelaya was not restored, bu... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Zelaya was not restored, but Obama cut aid to Honduras over the issue - the issue of whether an elected President must leave office according to his Constitution when his term is up!

There is plenty of guiding light in Obama's foreign policy. Look at his background: his grandparents were Marxists, his mother was a Marxist, Barack SR. was a communist, his "mentor" Frank Davis Marshall was a Marxist, Bill Ayers was a radical anti-American terrorist, Rev. Wright is a "liberation theologist" (= Marxist) . . .

He finds much to admire in the Marxist leaders of Cuba and Venezuela, not so much with the capitalists in Columbia, Chile, or Israel.

It's pretty clear that Obama does indeed have a guiding light, and it shines bright red.

Sorry, it should read "...c... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Sorry, it should read "...cut aid ..." and not "cut off" as it was not all shut off.

"Obama needs to get over hi... (Below threshold)
Constitution First:

"Obama needs to get over himself..." When pigs fly.

Øbama: A Post Turtle who believes he belongs there.

Most Freudian slip so far: W.T.F.

I'm not so sure of your ... (Below threshold)
gaius piconius:

I'm not so sure of your point of ineptitude Jay. Being a confirmed Beckite I fear quite the opposite. His course is well considered and he is on target to achieving his actual goals...GB explains the end that Obama seeks and it ain't; America 1 Dirty Dogs 0. At the time he was on the stumps it was quite apparent that a trusting, to the point of gullibity, American public was avoiding, yes avoiding, what his 'fundamental change in America' actually meant. That struck me four square...yet I don't vote. I felt he was getting his own personal knife as close to the American heart as he possibly could, and his success is now beginning to spread wide alarm. Give him this rather obvious, even in your face talent though....the less visible physical appearance of the man possesses the inate skills of the storied Great White Hunter, in spades. Admit it: he bagged Bigoot, shaved it and cohabits with it at a swank address.

"Admit it: he bagged Bigoo... (Below threshold)

"Admit it: he bagged Bigoot, shaved it and cohabits with it at a swank address."

Craven the Hunter?






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy