As then first-term US Senator Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency, one of the pledges he made to the American public – and the world – was that an Obama presidency would repair the reputation of the United States with the nations of the world. Mr. Obama vowed to “reject the counsel that says the American people would rather have someone who is strong and wrong than someone who is weak and right,” as he outlined a list of actions he would take to mend what he perceived to be America’s deprecated stature in the international community. Today, as we approach the end of President Obama’s term, it can be argued, that not only has America’s credibility with those who quest for freedom been tarnished but our stature in the world has been diminished.
In situation after situation on issue after issue, be it with friend and ally or foe, Mr. Obama has left the world community disappointed in his administration’s failure to live up to his campaign rhetoric. Indeed, it is as if Mr. Obama was advancing assurances for the purpose of marketing his candidacy rather than outlining an Obama Administration foreign policy.
One of the predominant issues for Mr. Obama, regarding foreign policy, was the relationship between the United States and Iran. During his inauguration, Mr. Obama said his administration would “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” referring to the ruling Islamists who lord over the Iranian people. But as the Iranian mullahs’ “clenched fist” came thundering down on the pro-freedom Green movement, complete with public beatings, mass imprisonments and killings, it was as if Mr. Obama’s bluff had been called. As President Obama declared his administration’s unwillingness to ally with the freedom fighters, saying the United States would not “meddle in Iranian elections,” Iranian freedom fighters, through every avenue available, literally begged for US assistance in overthrowing a torturously oppressive regime that illegitimately came to power through violence.
To say that the pro-freedom movement of Iran was betrayed by the Obama Administration would be to state the obvious. To say that America’s credibility with the still oppressed and terrorized freedom loving people of Iran has been diminished would be an understatement.
Today, as the Iranian mullahs move ever closer to attaining an arsenal of nuclear weapons, their tyrannical influence is expanding throughout the Middle East, most evidently in Syria where, today, Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers and Hezbollah foreign agents have “boots on the ground,” their calling card being scores of dead civilians – including women, children and entire families – who dared to quest for freedom; who dared to oppose the puppet regime of Bashar Assad.
With regard to Pakistan, who existed as a reluctant but declared ally in the military action against the Taliban and al Qaeda during the Bush Administration, Mr. Obama pledged to:
“…make the hundreds of millions of dollars in US military aid to Pakistan conditional…[and to] make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.”
But, to date, the only official action to affect any aid to Pakistan comes from Congress. In fact, today, the Obama Administration continues to expound on the importance of Pakistan’s alliance with the United States even as Pakistan allows the Taliban – and by extension al Qaeda – free reign in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and even as Pakistan imprisons and tortures Dr. Shakil Afridi, the CIA operative who made it possible for US Navy SEAL Team VI to end Osama bin Laden.
Today, the United States’ relationship with Pakistan is so strained it is impossible to know whether Pakistan is friend or foe.
Candidate Obama eagerly courted the American Jewish vote, as is evidenced by these two campaign statements:
“Let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel.”
“As president, I will implement a memorandum of understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade, investments to Israel’s security that will not be tied to any other nation.”
Additionally, Mr. Obama’s “Blueprint for Change” states:
“He will make a sustained push — working with Israelis and Palestinians — to achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security.”
And yet, Mr. Obama has routinely sided with the Palestinian faction, inviting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas through the front door of the White House, while making Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enter the White House through a side entrance. During the latter visit, Mr. Obama wouldn’t even share dinner with Mr. Netanyahu and his team, instead serving them a meal they could not consume for religious reasons.
As reported at JihadWatch.org,
“For a head of state to visit the White House and not pose for photographers is rare. For a key ally to be left to his own devices while the President withdraws to have dinner in private was, until this week, unheard of.
“Yet that is how Binyamin Netanyahu was treated by President Obama on Tuesday night, according to Israeli reports on a trip seen in Jerusalem tonight as a disastrous humiliation.
“After failing to extract a written promise of concessions on Jewish settlements, Mr. Obama walked out of his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu but invited him to stay at the White House, consult with advisors and ‘let me know if there is anything new,’ a US congressman who spoke to the Prime Minister said today.
“’It was awful,’ the congressman said. One Israeli newspaper called the meeting ‘a hazing in stages,’ poisoned by such mistrust that the Israeli delegation eventually left rather than risk being eavesdropped on a White House phone line. Another said that the Prime Minister had received ‘the treatment reserved for the President of Equatorial Guinea’…”
To say that there is no love lost between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu, well…
Mr. Obama, who just a scant four years ago took to stages in Europe to cheering crowds who believed his declaration of being a “citizen of the world,” took to lecturing the leaders and people of the European Union over the financial crisis gripping that Continent saying,
“So they are going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world, and they are trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven’t been quite as quick as they need to be.”
Europeans, and especially the financially level-headed Germans, took the offensive rhetoric as a chance to verbalize their disappointment with Mr. Obama and his Administration:
“Obama’s lecture on the euro crisis…is overbearing, arrogant and absurd…In a nutshell, he is claiming that Europe is to blame for the current financial crisis, which is ‘scaring the world.’ Excuse me?
“The American president seems to have forgotten a few details. The most important trigger of the financial and economic crisis was US banks and their insane real-estate dealings. The US is still piling up debt…The American Congress is crippled by a battle between the Right and the Left. The banks are gambling just as recklessly as they did before the crisis. The President’s scolding is a pathetic attempt to distract attention from his own failures. How embarrassing.”
Of course, now with a Socialist in control of the French government, there is always hope for good relations with France.
Even on targeted issues like the genocide in Darfur, of specific concern to Obama rainmaker George Clooney, Mr. Obama has been pathetically ineffective. Where Mr. Obama said he would take immediate steps to end the genocide in Darfur, today Sharia Law, a judicial system where women are stoned to death for perceived acts of adultery, has been imposed across Sudan, as Islamist fundamentalists and jihadists wreck havoc across the country.
On issue after issue, whether it is US relations with China, who owns such a gigantic portion of US foreign debt that they can routinely shrug off US State Department condemnations on human rights atrocities and politically motivated oppression, or Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opulent demonization of the United States in a bid to cast himself relevant with the Russian voters, Mr. Obama has proven to be not only ineffective on foreign policy he has proven to be weak, thus denigrating American influence around the world and dimming the light of liberty for the oppressed globally.
So, as we head into the November elections, we should all look to the facts of the matter – the policy failures, inaction where action were warranted and action where inaction should have prevailed, the mistreatment and alienation of allies, etc. – when we hear the mainstream media parrot the propaganda of David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Valerie Jarrett, that Mr. Obama has been a blessing to US foreign policy and America’s stature around the world.
This isn’t a political statement; it is simply a statement of fact: Mr. Obama has been a miserable failure on foreign policy. Whether this was intentional or the product of incompetence remains to be discovered.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director for BasicsProject.org a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy and the threats of Islamic jihadism and Progressive neo-Marxism. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network and has been a featured guest on al Jazeera’s Listening Post and on Russia Today. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and was featured in the documentary, “Ezekiel and the MidEast ‘Piece’ Process: Israel’s Neighbor States.” He is the author of the series Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam, an educational pamphlet series. Mr. Salvato is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain’s America Radio Show, nationally syndicated by the Phoenix Broadcasting and ABC Starguide Satellite Networks, catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. He is also heard weekly on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the IRN-USA Radio Network. Mr. Salvato has been interviewed on Radio Belgrade One. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, and are syndicated nationally. He is a featured political writer for EducationNews.org, BigGovernment.com and Examiner.com and is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected].