« Gadhafi unbowed | Main | In Praise of George Monbiot »

Barack W. Obama

Back in the 2008 political campaign, I remember having some serious doubts about Barack Obama's foreign policy chops. It seemed to boil down to "you know what George W. Bush is doing? I'll do the opposite."

Bush, for his flaws, had a fairly good grasp of the world. He could see the world as it is, as well as he wished it was. And he had a pretty good idea of what would and wouldn't work.

Further, he was decisive. He knew how to make decisions. He didn't fart around -- once he believed something had to be done, he went ahead and did it.

It's taken a few years, but gradually President Obama has apparently had his eyes opened by reality. He's quietly reversed himself on most of his previous positions, and without comment or acknowledgment taken on many of the positions he so roundly criticized.

For example, the detention facility at Guantanamo. Candidate Obama came into office promising to shut it down on day one. Then, he backed off and issed an order for it to be done within one year. A bit over two years after Obama took office, Guantanamo is still open, there are no plans to close it down any time soon, and they don't like talking about it when you ask them.

Similarly, the trials of those detainees. Candidate Obama said that military tribunals were utterly unacceptable, and they would be brought before civilian courts, with full recognition of their Constitutional rights. While a lot of liberals applauded that, no particular locale was willing to take on the trials. And again, just over Obama's term in office, he's backed off and ordered the resumption of military tribunals.

In December of 2007, Candidate (and Senator) Obama opined in the Boston Globe about the authority of the president when it comes to military action:

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.

Further, Senator Joe Biden, speaking in the same month (and also a candidate for president), told this to an audience:

Ladies and gentlemen, I drafted an outline of what I think the Constitutional limits [garbled] have on the President with the War Clause.  I went to five leading scholars, Constitutional scholars, and they drafted a treatise for me that is being distributed to every Senator.  And I want to make it clear, and I'll make it clear to the President: that if he takes this nation to war in Iran, without Congressional approval, I will make it my business to impeach him.

Fortunately for President Obama and Vice-President Biden, both Senator Obama and Senator Biden are no longer in Congress. Especially since Senator Biden thought that it was the power of the Senate to impeach the president -- the House impeaches, the Senate tries the case.

It's also hard to distinguish President Obama's policies in Iraq and Afghanistan from those promulgated under President Bush.

Now, since I supported most of President Bush's foreign policies, one would think I was glad Obama was following Bush's lead. But I'm not.

Oh, I don't mind that Obama hasn't admitted he was wrong and reversing himself. There's only so much one can hope for. And as the old saying goes, "there's no limit to the good a man can do if he's willing to forgo credit." If Obama needs to protect his ego by not admitting he was utterly wrong on so many elements, I'll give him a pass -- because what's more important is what gets done.

No, what bugs me is that he's doing it so incompetently. Witness his actions in Libya -- he dithered for weeks while the UN, the Arab League, and other nations lined up to back the move, even going so far as going along with the US not taking a leadership role before striking -- long after the rebels had peaked, and were on the verge of utter defeat. Now that alliance is crumbling -- the Arab League is backpedaling on the stikes they had begged for, Turkey is keeping NATO from getting involved as an organization, Germany is pulling out, Italy says we can't use their bases any more, Russia is expressing its disapproval, and there are several other indicators that it's starting to seriously turn pear-shaped. And domestically, quite a few people -- including some Obama supporters -- are asking why Obama had the time to work with the UN, the Arab League, and other nations, but couldn't be bothered to consult with Congress (not even the leadership) first, let alone make his case to the American people.

Finally, while Obama insists that we aren't in charge, there's a serious question about just who is. No one wants to take the responsibility. And France is talking about setting up a "steering committee" to run the show. Good lord, warfare by committee? Are they serious? Or are they just being more French than usual?

Fault Bush all you want, but before we went into Iraq, he had 17 UN resolutions, authorization from Congress, and made quite a few speeches on the subject. Plus he had the entire NATO membership and roughly twice as many nations total backing that move than Obama had for this one. If, in spite of that, Bush was a "cowboy," then Obama is the proverbial lone wolf.

Finally, Obama needs to be reminded of some 18th-century words of wisdom: "if you strike against a king, be sure to kill him." Obama shot his mouth off a couple of weeks ago and proclaimed "K-Daffy" has to go, then launched military attacks against Libya. If Obama fails to get K-Daffy out of power, then he will be perceived as weak and a failure.

But back to the topic at hand: Obama seems to have discovered that as much as he denounced Bush's foreign policy, it's one that works better than his own flailings. And as good news as that is, what is even more important that he learn how to actually carry it out.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (36)

Bush's presidency was a Che... (Below threshold)

Bush's presidency was a Chernobyl, Obama's so far is only a Fukushima as far as ignoring the Constitution and flailing around misusing the military.

Good post. Problem is Obama... (Below threshold)

Good post. Problem is Obama is like an incompetent new head coach. Halfway through the season the assistant coaches finally convince him to do some conditioning, drills, and run the ball sometimes instead of going for the long pass every time. Unfortunately it is not in his character to do those things consistently and to lead.

So he ends up what we use to call “finger drilling” it. He does a little of what needs to be done so he can mark it off the check list but doesn’t do it to the point that it does any good. He does thing half ass and constantly is going back and forth on what he is doing.

But, Jay - ". . . then he w... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

But, Jay - ". . . then he will be perceived as weak and a failure."

Too late!

Say, if Stupid was an Olympic event, Chico could contend for Gold - with Joe Biden.

I feel sorry for the poor s... (Below threshold)

I feel sorry for the poor sap. Reality ALWAYS wins over Ideology. Admittedly, sometimes it can take a while (see the fall of the USSR and the fun they had in Maoist China) - but Reality is patient.

VERY patient.

So Chico (doesn't that mean... (Below threshold)

So Chico (doesn't that mean "boy" in Spanish?),

Are you saying that, in your opinion, President Obama is a criminal. It's just that he's a petty criminal?

The Marines' Prayer is a... (Below threshold)

The Marines' Prayer is a reflection about what its all about to serve. Perhaps our politicians could learn the words. I feel this is an appropriate time to say it once again ( in case you have never heard it before):

Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family.

Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my Country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.

If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.

Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.


That's Barack E. Obama to y... (Below threshold)

That's Barack E. Obama to you (as in Alfred E. Newman).
Not W. Never W. W. was competent.
E. is out there blowing in the wind. Our southern border is wide open. It will be very easy to have Qadafi's troops come across the border and come after Obama.
We are now a laughing stock on the world stage. Obama talks out of both sides of his mouth with a straight face. But neither side is credible.
How do you know he is lying? His teleprompter is blinking.

Don't expect competency fro... (Below threshold)

Don't expect competency from The One any time soon. He's never really had any - except for campaigning and making promises with expiration dated.

As for our new resident troll, Chico; he once again demonstrates that he has his Obama-worshiping head planted firmly up his ass.

Jay, this was well spoken. ... (Below threshold)

Jay, this was well spoken. I can't think of anything to add.


"Are you saying that, in your opinion, President Obama is a criminal. It's just that he's a petty criminal?"

That made me laugh. He's not even good at being second rate.

Further, he was decisive... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Further, he was decisive. He knew how to make decisions. He didn't fart around -- once he believed something had to be done, he went ahead and did it.

Sigh. Seems so long ago, doesn't it?

We need to get back to having a President. Not a mannequin, not a guru, not an imam, but a chief executive.

Now we know why they 'blame... (Below threshold)

Now we know why they 'blame Bush'. They wanna be just like Him.

Bush-lite... (Below threshold)


No, Carter - lite... (Below threshold)

No, Carter - lite

The French have always done... (Below threshold)

The French have always done things by a steering committee. That is has been policy every since the end of World War 1. That same type of committee is what cost the French in World War 2. While Churchill wanted decisive action, the French High Command dithered. The French government had the gall to blame the British and other allies for the mess they created. No wonder Hitler danced for joy at the Eiffel Tower.

"The French high command di... (Below threshold)

"The French high command dithered."

Barry must have French Kenyanesian in him cause he out-dithers all others.

Since the left referred to Booosh as a chimp, doesn't that make Obama a chimpansy?

Bush had conviction and be... (Below threshold)

Bush had conviction and belief in the American People and our men and women in uniform.
BHO is just going through the motions.
We saw this he blew off the commanders in Afghanistan. We saw it when he accused out troops of air raiding villages. We see it in the fact that Military Courts are good enough for American military but not for people who want to kill them.

Sometimes in war you have to loose a battle to win the War.

IT is time to leave Libya alone. We got bigger problems on the Horizon.

War by committee? You have... (Below threshold)
James H:

War by committee? You have got to be kidding me. It's fine for a committee to handle some of the bigger-picture issues: The declaration of war, setting scope of the engagement, defining the objectives, and surrendering if necessary. ("We declare war on the Klingons. We will engage them in the Organian system. We hope to obtain valuable mineral deposits there.") But commanding a battle by committee is a recipe for disaster.

IIRC, Sun Tzu said that setting the terms of the war was the sovereign's responsibility, but waging the war was the general's.

"But commanding a battle by... (Below threshold)

"But commanding a battle by committee is a recipe for disaster."

Maybe Barry should channel LBJ and learn from 1st hand experience.

James,When the sov... (Below threshold)


When the sovereign is a fool, there is only so much the generals can do...

What is the objective and have the proper forces been committed and deployed to achieve it? Since the answer to the first is unknown, how can the answer to the second possibly be yes?

IMO, the biggest problem he... (Below threshold)
James H:

IMO, the biggest problem here is that the sovereigns all want to be generals. The sovereigns need to pick a single general and pass orders to him, rather than manage this by committee.

Actually, I think that in t... (Below threshold)

Actually, I think that in this case the generals are irrelevant to Obama's purpose. The air strikes deflect the criticism he was receiving for not supporting the democracy movement. And if he can get France or someone else to take the lead before it ends in disaster, he can avoid the blame for an adverse outcome. And finally if things go well, he can claim the air strikes he authorized did the trick.

This is a completely feckless and cynical way to look at the situaton, which is why I believe this idea has credence.

Galoob-"Bush's pre... (Below threshold)


"Bush's presidency was a Chernobyl, Obama's thus far is only a Fukushima"

Barry's presidency has been a Fuku something alright, so you are partially correct. Time for a med eval galob, you are way over-medicated.

Jay TeaAmazing how... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jay Tea

Amazing how you act after reality has slapped you in the face a few times isnt it.

Retired Military,I... (Below threshold)

Retired Military,

Isn't it true, that one's behavior can amazingly change after reality has slapped them in the face a few times?

There fixed it for you - no charge.

Semper Fidelis-

"but Reality is patient" an... (Below threshold)

"but Reality is patient" and a bitch.

No do overs, no second chances, NO voting present. Its either lead, follow or get the hell out of the way, except that Obumbles doesn't know how to do any of those things, and he's supposedly the leader of the free world.

God help us all, we're as screwed as the countries that used to look to us for help.

Bush's presidency was a ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Bush's presidency was a Chernobyl, Obama's so far is only a Fukushima as far as ignoring the Constitution and flailing around misusing the military.

Pithy, but until you supply some reasons for your Chernobylesque comparison, we shall ignore your "statement".

<a href="http://www.dailyma... (Below threshold)
Bush will always be remembe... (Below threshold)

Bush will always be remembered as the President who showed the world our military can fight a handful of teenagers in the Middle East to a standstill.

"Now, since I supported mos... (Below threshold)

"Now, since I supported most of President Bush's foreign policies, one would think I was glad Obama was following Bush's lead."
I just googled "President Obama" and there was still a "D" behind his name, so one would be naive to think anything of the sort.

"Bush will always be rememb... (Below threshold)

"Bush will always be remembered as the President who showed the world our military can fight a handful of teenagers in the Middle East to a standstill"

Mind backing that statement up with some facts?

I'd be curious to know where you're getting your information from.

I have to disagree! Obama h... (Below threshold)

I have to disagree! Obama has discovered nothing, and has in fact left the Office of the Presidency in the hands of his handlers...


Like a dear in the headlights, he froze and is now running away.

Jay Tea,Please do ... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

Please do me a favor and watch this episode of Glenn Beck.


He ties in what is happening in Libya and why.

I know mentioning GB's name is a kiss of death but people need to wake up and realize Obama is not incompetent and he knows exactly what his handlers are doing.

People that dismiss ALL of what GB has uncovered with his research team are not fully armed with useful information. There is a reason GB is attacked and vilified by George Soros and the progressives.

I believe that they are setting up NATO to have the authority to strike Israel when they are attacked and try to defend themselves.

Yeah, wake up and listen to... (Below threshold)

Yeah, wake up and listen to Glenn Beck. He has the answers...


The other thing burning my ... (Below threshold)

The other thing burning my butt is all the liberals now claiming what a "Broad Coalition" Obama has with Libya while W went into Iraq all on his own.

The revisionist history is not only wrong it is immoral. If you are too partisan to even acknowledge the FACTS of history you are a waste of space.


The same can be said of anyone who is too LAZY or just doesn't WANT to educate themselves of the facts where they can claim ignorance.

As further proof of how the... (Below threshold)

As further proof of how the liberals dispise the military, Berto stated that the 4K+ soldiers killed and thousands that were maimed were caused by teenagers. You need look no further of how low regarding the left is to our fine soldiers. ww

WOOP SAID:"Yeah, wake up an... (Below threshold)

WOOP SAID:"Yeah, wake up and listen to Glenn Beck. He has the answers...


Typical progressive that attacks and says nothing to refute facts. I'm sure you can watch the video and tell me where he is wrong. Actually GB is the only one who has been right about exactly what the Fed was going to do along with Obama on the economy. But Woop knows it all.

I guess your Huffpost is all the progressive koolaid you need.






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