A liberal friend recently asked me about Iraq’s implosion, as well as comments by Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski about America: 2014’s “worthless” ally.
My response via gmail June 24:
Poland knows that it does not have a reliable ally in the United States these days. It is under no illusion. They’re still smarting from president Obama’s NEW Start Treaty. He threw them under the bus pretty darn quick, so it’s no surprise they’re annoyed. Then our Polish friends had to watch as Crimea was gobbled up by Putin…and now eastern Ukraine while the U.S. just sort of mumbles “diplomacy…durrrm…durrrm..Putin…consequences…durrrm.” If I were Polish I’d be pretty livid with America right about now. They’ve been great friends to us and they’ve been dumped on quite handily since 2008.
While it is sad that Iraq didn’t have a George Washington to step up to the plate when the nation needed it, and much of the blame for losing the gains made during the surge does fall on them, the president also bears a huge chunk of responsibility. My most recent blog entries cover the reasons why and I’d be happy to talk about them at length in the comments section. We left troops in Germany, Japan, South Korea … but then yanked the rug out from Iraq. We gave them a bunch of weapons (that ISIL is now running around with) and said, “Good luck!” Probably not the best move.
Here is the key takeaway from his response June 26:
Your tantric screed is nothing less than misbegotten hindsight and nothing more than some failed pundit’s speculation. How disappointing. I cite here one of Santayana’s lesser remembered utterances: “Only the dead have seen the end of the war.”
As I’ve said before, the liberal obsession with playing Professor X with me never ends. Deep down I feel “powerless,” so I write an incendiary blog geared towards “career advancement,” which is really just a Hail Mary pass to make up for being a “failed pundit.” Genius!
As chance would have it, a new piece by Foreign Policy magazine showed up in my Facebook feed today.
Kori Schake (no doubt another “failed pundit”) writes:
The Obama administration has achieved a landmark heretofore considered impossible: they are making America’s allies homesick for the administration of George W. Bush. This week, news broke that Poland’s foreign minister was caught on tape earlier this year disparaging the United States. Radek Sikorski bitterly said Warsaw’s ties to Washington were “worthless,” … The indiscretion will probably cost Sikorski his prospects for the job of EU foreign policy chief. But he’s not wrong about America. The United States has become an exasperating ally, and even countries that are inclined to support us are hedging against because of the Obama administration’s conduct. Neither our threats nor our assurances are believed. …
The president’s supreme indifference is among the foremost complaints of our friends; they no longer believe we care enough to help solve their problems. That was the heart of Sikorski’s complaint: that the United States was doing nothing about Russia’s growing threat, was in thrall to the idea of a pivot to Asia at the expense of long-time allies in Europe, and was leaving those countries that support American policies the most exposed. …
President Obama fundamentally misunderstands the nature of alliance relationships. He believes that weak, poor, war-torn societies emerging from repressive governments should be judged by the same standard as we are — that they should make brave choices and expansive political compromises. But that is not the nature of frightened people in dire circumstances: they go small, not big. Their societies are characterized by a lack of social trust and institutional constraint. If we want outcomes of brave choices and expansive political compromises, we need to stand by and steady the people making these decisions. We need to strengthen them with our involvement and help build a leadership capable of making tough choices. The administration instead threatens allies with abandonment: choose fast, because we are leaving. And the Obama White House completely misses the irony of this brittle president who can’t broker congressional deals but proselytizes about inclusive government.
Boom. Read the entire piece if you get a chance. It’s excellent.
The Obama administration has had no coherent foreign policy, unless by “foreign policy” you mean telling West Pointers they’ll be officers in the fight against Global Warming.
The U.S. supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt — except when it doesn’t. The U.S. will bomb Libya under Muammar Gaddafi for “humanitarian” reasons (a few thousand people died), but generally sit on its hands as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad oversees the death of over 150,000 individuals (just kill them with bullets, bombs and chlorine gas and no one will mind, Bashar).
I’ll let Ms. Schake take it away on Afghanistan:
So when the president says “Afghanistan is a sovereign country that is going to have to deal with its own security,” countries around the world hear the limits of our interest. All the more so when the White House hinted that another mangled election in Afghanistan would be cause for America to pull its troops from the country; then, when the election was held with a minimum of violence and fraud, he used it as the reason we could draw troops down further and faster than military commanders recommended. Countries reliant on U.S. power understand that they’re being played. It is a luxury of the strong to be ignorant — but weak states can’t afford to trust us when we’re this unreliable.
President Obama isn’t a statesmen — he’s a run-of-the-mill politician who was great at selling himself as the guy who would reverse the rise of the oceans. “Leading from behind” was supposed to garner us respect and yield diplomatic dividends. The verdict: Our allies call us “worthless,” and the the world has Islamic radicals calling a giant region of the Middle East under its control a new caliphate.