"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

VDH on a Foreign Policy in Tatters

Victor Davis Hanson brings a lot of perspective to the question of just how bad Obama's foreign policy is.  

It's really really bad:

Survey the Middle East, and there is nothing about which to be optimistic.
Iran is either fueling violence in Syria or racing toward a bomb, or both.
Syria is past imploding. Take your pick in a now-Manichean standoff between an authoritarian, thuggish Bashar Assad and al-Qaeda franchises that envision a Taliban-like state. There is increasingly not much in between, other than the chaos of something like another Sudan.
Our Libyan “leading from behind” led to Mogadishu-like chaos and Benghazi. Do we even remember the moral urgency of bombing Tripoli as articulated by the ethical triad of Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power?
A day late and a dollar short, we piggybacked on the Arab Spring in Egypt, damning the damnable Mubarak without much thought of who or what would take his place. The result is that a kleptocratic dictatorship gave way to a one-vote/one-time Muslim Brotherhood theocracy — and then full circle back to the familiar strongmen with epaulets and sunglasses. Even in the Middle East, it is hard to get yourself hated all at once by Islamists, the military, the Arab Street, Christian minorities, and secular reformists. In Egypt, the Obama administration has somehow managed all that and more. I wonder about all those supposedly pro-Western Google-using types who toppled Mubarak: Are they still there? Were they ever there? For now, the military is engaged in an existential struggle against the Islamists, who retaliate by going after Christians — a crime of enormous proportions going on throughout the Middle East, which is completely ignored by Western governments
In Iraq, would it have been that hard to leave 5,000 U.S. troops at a fortified air base so that they could monitor Iraq’s air space, hunt down remnants of al-Qaeda, and keep the Maliki government somewhat constitutional — given the toll up to that point in American blood and treasure? In terms of strategic policy and U.S. self-interest, the answer is no; in terms of Obama’s 2012 reelection talking points, certainly it would have been problematic. 
What is left to be said about our twelve years in Afghanistan? Obama’s 2008 “good war” that he was going to “put our eye back on” descended into surges, deadlines, withdrawals, musical-chair commanders, drone proxy wars, and finally inattention. The only remaining mystery is how many Afghan refugees and asylum seekers do we let in once the Taliban replays the North Vietnamese scenario and Kabul becomes a sort of Saigon 1975.

Ask yourself this question... if the truly wing-nutty conspiracy hawks on the right had somehow been correct and Obama really was a mole raised to the Presidency by foreign forces so he could surreptitiously destroy American power and authority and secretly help radical Islam grow around the world... what would be different?   If someone were to write a book about Obama's foreign policy, it might be titled, Accidental Treason or the Treason of Good Intentions or the Treasonous Naivete.  

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