Obama At West Point: America Is Now Part Of A Collective

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President Obama Delivers Commencement Address At West Point
President Obama speaks at West Point

President Barack Obama spoke to the graduating class of cadets at West Point yesterday. He used the opportunity to defend his leadership from behind doctrine.

Fox News _

President Obama, in a commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, signaled a significant shift in U.S. foreign policy — one that pulls back from what he described as “military adventures” while wielding American power in other ways.

The president described the new American foreign policy as one of “collective action” and restraint, deploying unilateral U.S. military force only when the American people are threatened. He outlined the approach a day after announcing his plan for gradually drawing down the U.S. force in Afghanistan once the war formally ends later this year.

“The landscape has changed,” Obama told the graduating class at West Point on Wednesday, citing the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The president took on what he described as “interventionists” from both parties, and said that while “isolationism” is not an option, “U.S. military action cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance.”

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The president advised that crises around the world that don’t directly threaten Americans be met first with non-military options: diplomacy, sanctions and “collective action.” 

This humble observer of the asylum we all have to live in is no neo-con. I am politically a conservative who has become more and more libertarian with age. Frequent visitors to this blog know my position against the war in Iraq and against our extended stay in Afghanistan and against the ordering of Mubarak to step down in Egypt and against the war to take out Gaddafi in Libya and against the stupid red-line in Syria and most recently I took a stand against our helping to over throw the legitimate government of Ukraine.

So, why am I not pleased with the words spoken by President Obama at the West Point Commencement? After all, I agree that we should only use military force when there is an immediate threat to America and I agree that diplomacy should be used before intervention in most cases. (I am conflicted over what we should do about Iran since America should accept  responsibility for there being an Islamic regime in Iran. We helped to overthrow the legitimate government of Iran in 1953 to bring Shah Pahlavi to power, who was conveniently corruptible. We and the world are paying a heavy price for that bit of adventurism.) Yet I find no comfort in Mr. Obama’s words. World leadership is not being a bully; dictating to others, and it is not appeasement either. “Collective Action Leadership” is leadership by committee, which is no leadership at all. How can China not hear Obama’s words as an open invitation to take some islands claimed by the Philipines and some other islands claimed by Japan and who is gong to stop China  from setting up oil drilling rigs in waters claimed by Vietnam?

Obama’s words leave me with a profound sense of sadness and foreboding.

Sadness because it seems to me that our government did not handle its leadership role very well since the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991. I ask you: Is the world a safer place today than it was in January 1992? I think not. The threat of terrorism has not abated. And, thanks to overextended wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and  the inept leadership of Barack Obama, the Middle East has never been more unstable. A nuclear Iran will only make matters worse in this strategically important part of the world.

Foreboding because the future as never looked more dim. I feel very sorry for today’s young people.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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Where’s Obama?

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Obama Waldo

 

Hat/Tip Financial Times.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Obama is not a “foreign policy” president. If the need goes past him having to give a pro-Muslim speech in Cairo, then he’s not the man for the job. But this isn’t anything new that we, here in America don’t already know. Unfortunately our friends and allies across the planet are also wondering where America, under Obama’s leadership is?

As he prewaldo-obama-hipares to give an important address on foreign policy at West Point on Wednesday, the president finds himself under attack over what critics charge is a record of indecisive leadership.

The loudest voices have been Mr Obama’s political opponents at home, but the critique of a rudderless, risk-adverse president has also found strong echoes among some of America’s most important allies. From Saudi Arabia to Japan, officials have been wondering whether the US would still come to their defense.

Even his bumbling Secretary of State, John Kerry has come to realize the need for an American presence in the world.

“We cannot allow a hangover from the excessive interventionism of the last decade to lead now to an excess of isolationism,” he told students at Yale. “Most of the rest of the world doesn’t lie awake at night John Kerry Makes Statement On Ukraine At U.S. State Departmentworrying about America’s presence – they worry about what would happen in our absence.”

So it seems that President Obama is playing it safe when it comes to foreign policy. And it’s no wonder for him to feel this way, as it is easy to tell that when it comes to facing down Putin or trying to quiet the violence during the Arab Spring, he is woefully in over his head.

In his West Point speech, Mr Obama will lay out how the US intends to “lead the international community but without getting overextended”, as a White House official puts it. But the persistent attacks have left Mr Obama in a defensive crouch, tetchily defending his cautious approach.

“That may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention, and it doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows,” he said during a recent Asia trip. “But it avoids errors.”

However, America’s place in the world is paramount for more peaceful times. All of our allies are wondering where they stand when it comes to counting on America’s assistance.

The rap sheet on Mr Obama has two basic charges: that he is too timid in his approach to foreign affairs; and that the US has begun a process of retreating from its place in the world during his presidency.

“On all these issues, our response has been to do the minimum and no more,” says Bob Corker, the leading Republican on the Senate foreign relations committee. “Every allied government I talk to, I get the same questions about whether we will be there.”

Read the full story here.

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Amber Alert Issued For Missing US Foreign Policy

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Your LOL for the day, courtesy of The DuffelBlog

Persons of Interest in search for missing US Foreign Policy
Persons of Interest in search for missing US Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Washington-area police have issued an Amber Alert and are seeking the public’s help in locating a missing 238-year old foreign policy for the United States.

The foreign policy was described as wholly consistent with our national security interests, while also balancing the needs for human rights, labor, business and the environment. It answers to the Obama Doctrine, the Bush Doctrine, the Clinton Doctrine, the Powell Doctrine, the Weinberger Doctrine, and the Domino Theory.

When last seen it was speaking softly and carrying a big stick.

Police are looking for a suspect, described by witnesses as a well-dressed middle-aged bald man who spoke with a Russian accent. The man was seen getting into a stretch limousine in downtown Washington with the foreign policy early on Monday.

Some law enforcement officials were confused on how to proceed.

“We can’t get it back because we don’t negotiate with kidnappers and terrorists,” said FBI Director James Comey, before correcting himself. “Wait, maybe we do … or do we? Dammit!  We need it back right now!”

“We believe with high confidence that the kidnappers of the foreign policy will demand a hefty ransom,” said D.C. Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, who has taken the lead on the investigation. “This will likely include demands of overseas military bases, nuclear missile silos, and even possible Tomahawk missile launches against random countries in the Middle East.”

Lanier has dismissed suggestions by the Department of Homeland Security that the foreign policy may have kidnapped itself, although she couldn’t completely rule it out. She mentioned that the foreign policy did seem to regularly go missing in times of personal crisis, such as an unexplained eight-year disappearance from 2001 to 2009 which it later blamed on “terrorists.”

Longtime friend Australia admitted that the foreign policy had been acting erratic lately, flip-flopping and dithering on Syria, Iran, China, and Afghanistan. Australia suggested this might be due to its recent breakup with steady girlfriend Angela Merkel after it was caught stalking her over the phone.

David Eisenhower, a research analyst at the Rand Corporation, believes the foreign policy may have been kidnapped by something called the “military-industrial complex,” although his group is struggling to pinpoint exactly what that is.

Washington officials are hoping to recover the foreign policy before this weekend’s Mideast conference, in which the U.S. will either support or oppose Israel in its diplomatic negotiations with Egypt, a longtime friend or enemy of the United States.

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America In the Eyes of Others: America In Decline

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Since 2002, Pew Research has carried an opinion survey they call their Global Attitudes Project, where by, they interviewed people in  twenty countries about their opinions on a number of questions having to do with America. On a few questions, Americans were also surveyed. The results for 2012 have just been published and I thought it might interesting to share and comment on some of the results. I was surprised by some of the results and disturbed by others. Below is a list of the questions asked. You can click on any question to see the complete results, but first let me share my reactions to some of the results and then we will talk about US foreign policy an America’s decline in the World..

  1. Opinion of the United States
  2. Opinion of Americans
  3. U.S. Consideration of Other Countries’ Interests
  4. Confidence in the U.S. President
  5. U.S. Anti-Terrorism Efforts
  6. American Ideas and Customs
  7. American Democracy
  8. American Business
  9. American Music, Movies and Television
  10. American Technological and Scientific Advances

Opinion of the United States

Americans were included on this question and not surprising they had the most favorable opinion of the US at 80%. Sadly, that means  20% of Americans surveyed had an unfavorable opinion of the US. Considering the recent election results, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Italians and Japanese had the next most favorable opinion at over 70%. I was surprised that Germans were barely favorable on this question at 52%; the same as the Russians. Among the countries whose people have an unfavorable opinion of the US are: China (43%), India (41%), and Greece (35%). The people who like the US the least are, as you might expect, all from Muslim countries: Egypt (19%), Turkey (15%), and (12%) for both Jordan and Pakistan. We are mot exactly making many friends in Pakistan with our war in Afghanistan, are we? I’m not sure I’d like to be an American soldier in a NATO conflict and be depending on the Turks to have my back. In fact, the Turks were the only nationality that was unfavorable on all ten questions. Another NATO ally  where the people don’t care much for the United States is Greece (35%).

Opinion of Americans

This question is personal. Who loves ya, baby? Next to Americans liking themselves, the Japanese like us best with a 80% favorable response to the question. At 44% favorable, the Greeks don’t like us much. Nearly 70% of Jordanians and Egyptians don;t like us. I guess getting rid of Hosni Mubarak didn’t change many Egyptian minds, did it? And, Pakistanis and Turks hate us the most, nearly 85% of them gave an unfavorable response to the question. It seems that President Obama’s efforts toreach out to the Mulim countries aren’t having much success.

U.S. Consideration of Other Countries’ Interest

This question should tell us something about how US foreign policy is perceived. Americans think we treat other contries pretty good (77%). However, only two other countries agree and then just barely. 55% of Brazilians and 51% of the Chinese think we treat others good. On this issue Greeks (19%) and Spaniards (17%) joined the Pakistanis (13%) and the  Turks (17%) in thinking the US is not a good friend. It seems that US foreign policy is not making us a lot of friends.

Confidence in the U. S. President

This shouldn’t surprise you, but seven other countries have more confidence in President Obama than Americans (61%). There are, of course, no Muslim countries in that group. The seven countries include Japan and Brazil and five democratic socialist countries of Europe led by Germany (87%). And, our significant other in the war in Afghanistan, the people of Pakistan have almost no confidence in our President (7%).

America In Decline

I’ve only touched on a small part of this Pew survey on what other countries think about the United States. I hope you will spend some time reviewing the survey results in more detail because there is much we can learn about the effects of America’s past and current foreign policies. It is a shame that America has such dire domestic problems because this nation needs to have a serious national discussion about what our foreign policy should be in the future. For many decades, America has focused on two things: being the world’s policeman and becoming a socialist country. The latter effort has destroyed our economy and we are no longer competetive in world markets. Our foreign policy, if we have had a foreign policy, has been focused only on Europe and the Middle East. This narrow world focu seemed to intensify after the fall of the Soviet Union. In the last two decades, as we have focused on becoming a socialist country and ruining our economy, other countries have moved toward capitalism and growing their economies. The US may be able to maintain its dominant military position in the world for quite some time, but our position as the preeminent economic power is seeing its last days.

While we have been busy destroying our economy, other countries like China, India. Brazil, and Russia have been busy building strong economies. If you go through the Pew reports, you would have to say we have not done much to make friends with these countries. President Obama has announced that we will be ending our military presence in Afghanistan and the we are going to be making a “pivot” to Asia. That means the US will have a lessor presence in the Middle East. Guess who is going to fill that vacuum? China, Russia, and India will quickly  fill the vacuum. Why? Think oil and especially  natural gas .   The world’s greatest supplies of oil and gas are in the area from Russia, the countries around the Caspian Sea the Middle East, and North Africa. And, because of our past and present foreign policies, the US has no friends in that region. China and India need oil and gas and countries like Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan and Iraq will be glad to work with them. Pakistan. Turkey and Syria will play an important role in the transportation of the oil and gas to deep sea ports.

While the US has ignored everywhere south of its borders and Africa, China has been busy doing business and building relationships in those parts of the world. If you travel from Mexico to Argentina, you can’t help but trip over Chinese. They are everywhere. The same is true for much of Africa in the last ten years. China is going to become the most important economic power in the world and there is little or nothing the US can do about it.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

Original Post: Conservatives on Fire

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