Mr. Obama viewed George W. Bush as a menace and was determined to show the world he is the anti-Bush. Whatever one may think of Mr. Bush, he was a man of action and his sins were those of commission. Mr. Obama’s sins, however, have been ones of omission. His fear of doing anything stupid has paralyzed his foreign policy for much of his presidency.
Paradoxically, his first foray into foreign policy was did little to inspire confidence. He decided to put Israelis in their place in the naïve belief that sympathizing with the Palestinians would somehow bring about peace. Instead, he succeeded in creating distrust among Israelis, which has only grown worse during his tenure, and the Palestinians made a fool of him by refusing to engage in negotiations and rejecting his envoys’ peace initiatives. Worse, the Palestinian Authority openly defied the president, demonstrating from his first year in office that he was weak.
About the same time, he did something equally misguided by going to Cairo and appealing to the Muslim world to accept his promise that America did not see Islam as the enemy and promised his friendship. In addition to looking weak by reversing his predecessor’s policy and appearing fawning, he made the mistake of speaking in a country run by a dictator known for abusing human rights and muzzling his Muslim opponents. The message he unintentionally sent was that he would be no different than his predecessors when it came to allying with Arab autocrats so long as they were pro-American.
While many Americans applauded his evacuation of troops from Iraq, President Obama failed to see the bigger picture in the region. Yes, lives of soldiers were saved in the short-run, but the absence of U.S. forces left a vacuum that is now being filled by Iran, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Kurds, Turks and others. So long as our troops were in Iraq, Iran had to worry about the possibility that they would turn toward Tehran and use force to stop its nuclear program. Once that threat was gone, and Obama’s seeming desperation for a nuclear agreement on any terms became clear, the Iranians knew they had nothing to fear from this president.
The Iranians, the Russians, and the radical Muslims also were quick to fill the vacuum created by the dissolution of Syria. They were emboldened by another demonstration of Obama’s weakness when he announced that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime was a red line that would trigger a military response and then did nothing when the evidence of their use was presented to him.
Vladimir Putin took the measure of Mr. Obama, and demonstrated the absurdity of Hillary Clinton’s notion of resetting our relations, when he convinced Mr. Obama to abandon Bush’s plan to build a missile defense system in Europe. Like a grandmaster playing a novice in chess, Mr. Putin checkmated Obama in Eastern Europe and, seeing his naiveté, invaded Ukraine, defended Iran, and is now wreaking havoc in Syria.
Mr. Obama’s most glaring omission was on display in the carnage in Paris. His stubborn refusal to acknowledge that a war is being fought between radical Muslims engaged in a holy war against non-Muslims has allowed this cancer to metastasize around the world. Does he really believe that ISIS won’t come to our shores?
Full article: Paris Attacks and the World Obama Wrought (NY Observer)