Worst Foreign Policy Ever; Obama Is Tripping All over the World Stage

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

Worst Foreign Policy Ever; Obama Is Tripping All over the World Stage


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Tomorrow, President Obama will chair a special nuclear-disarmament meeting by the United Nations Security Council. The White House bills this as a historic first, but it is typical of Mr. Obama's emphasis on style over substance. He will appear before the body with the weakest foreign-policy record of any new U.S. president in recent memory. An around-the-world tour of international hot spots shows that for all the president's lofty rhetoric, he can point to precious few accomplishments.

In the Middle East, Mr. Obama's unprecedented obsequiousness in dealing with the Muslim world has generated no tangible returns. The leading Arab states repeatedly have declined to budge toward compromise to push the regional peace process forward, and they show no signs of normalizing relations with Israel. Palestinians refuse to talk to Israelis until they agree to a settlement freeze on the West Bank, and Israel has reportedly responded to Mr. Obama's call for a freeze by saying it will go ahead and build 2,500 new housing units.

Nor has Mr. Obama's outreach effort translated into a general sense of good will. A May 2009 University of Maryland survey of the Middle East showed that those with a very or somewhat favorable view of the United States increased only 3 percent between 2008 and 2009, from an anemic 15 percent to 18 percent.

In Afghanistan, the president has hit turbulence within his own party, and as the going gets tough, he seems ready to repudiate his stronger and smarter strategy after only six months. He is balking at supplying the troops necessary to stave off disaster, and the growing discussion in Washington is now how the administration can minimize the political damage of a defeat in Afghanistan.

North Korea has continued to be openly belligerent, testing a nuclear weapon and long-range missile, withdrawing from the 1953 armistice agreement with South Korea, and declaring it will weaponize its plutonium stocks. In response, the United States unilaterally conceded to long-standing North Korean demands for bilateral talks.

North Korea's success has encouraged Iran to move forward with its own nuclear program. The Islamic regime has agreed to talks Mr. Obama requested, but the mullahs refuse to negotiate the nuclear issue. The United States finds itself to the left of the United Nations and France on the question of acknowledging that Iran even has a nuclear-weapons program, which is quite an achievement.

Wary of Iran, other Middle Eastern states are gearing up for nuclear programs, unconvinced by U.S. promises of extending a defensive umbrella. The Eastern European umbrella was abruptly closed when the Obama administration abandoned the missile-defense deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic last week. This move drew plaudits from Moscow, which had registered strenuous objections and was not asked to make any reciprocal concessions to match the U.

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Worst Foreign Policy Ever; Obama Is Tripping All over the World Stage
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