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Obama’s “Where’s Waldo” Foreign Policy World

Obama’s “Where’s Waldo” Foreign Policy World

The Obama Administration puts up a forest of shiny objects that can make important developments hard to see.

While  Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney stresses over who-did-what on the cancellation of White House tours, conservative firebrand Tammy Bruce has been sounding the alarm on some developments in Asia that may have far greater impact on Americans.

For example, China and Japan are clashing over islands:

Since 2010, either by mishap or design, Tokyo and Beijing have escalated a confrontation over ownership of the uninhabited Senkaku islands (known in China as the Diaoyu islands). What has largely been forgotten is that the two Asian giants were talking only a few years ago about joint exploration of potential oil wealth in the South China Sea. They played down the issue of sovereignty in favor of common economic goals.

A newly enriched China is building up its military, filled with young men with few distractions in the wake of China’s “one child” policy that has left the country short of young women. Also, the last time Japan clashed with China, it really didn’t end well for either country.

And that is just the tip of the ice-berg, in terms of chilling global news.

San Diego pundit and military expert Barry Jacobsen weighs in on the noticeable absence of the President, in terms of meaningful participation in foreign policy: American Foreign Policy is Rudderless in Age of Obama.

North Korea, at once the most heavily armed and least stable country in the world, tears up the 1953 Armistice with its democratic (American ally) to the south. This, following years of military and political provocations; including the sinking a South Korean naval vessel by a North Korean submarine in March of 2010.

….In Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of 9/11 last year,  militants with links to al Qaeda attacked the American Consulate. During an 8 hour siege, five Americans were killed; including Ambassador Chris Stevens, the first of our Ambassadors to be so murdered in decades.

….China routinely makes cyber attacks upon our military and civilian computers, hacking and stealing information; some of which has deep national security implications (such as our Top Secret military technology).

…In February two Russian bombers, armed with nuclear weapons, flew into American airspace and over the Island of Guam. They withdrew before scrambled American jet fighters could intercept them. This is widely seen as another example of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin reasserting his countries global power and traditional confrontational stance toward the United States.

…It seems that the Obama administration’s answer to difficult foreign policy challenges is to largely ignore them and hope they go unnoticed.  Its an ostrich strategy: burying ones head in the sand, refusing to look at a threat rather than dealing with it.

As the Middle East burns and Asia smolders Americans wonder where is the President. Foreign policy in the Obama Age seems rudderless, as the President spends his time playing golf and politics rather than his job as Commander in Chief and Leader of the Free World. In his second term it is increasingly a “Where’s Waldo” presidency, with Obama nowhere to be seen on foreign policy.

This is a truly staggering list of serious problems.


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sure, China is building its military. So what are you suggesting, that we should invade China and destroy their weapons factories? Since you’ll probably agree that’s not a viable option, then – do you want to be the fodder for China’s “restless young men” ? If we don’t meddle in Japan/China affairs now, this will cause Japan to seek allies around her neighbors and they’ll be forced to build a coalition to defend against China’s potential aggression. If we meddle, it will reduce their reason to worry, and they’ll rely on us instead. Which means we would bear the brunt of that aggression, supported by only weak allies. Not a good strategy!

Well, Obama did state, several times, in fact, that he wanted to “radically transform” the United States. I do suspect that one of Obama’s approaches to his goal was to radically change our foreign policy towards the world. Of course, I doubt if many really expected how Obama’s efforts on foreign policy would be manifested yet the results indicated above might be exactly what he desired. Obama’s goal overseas could be expressed in just one word but I do not wish to so enflame the blogosphere just yet.

OBTW: Yes, please return the up or down indicators for comments if at all possible.

Bitterlyclinging | March 16, 2013 at 11:01 am

Not rudderless, doc, more appropraitely described as a policy that will eventually lead to the surrender of Christianity and Western Civilization to the WorldWide Islamic Caliphate.
If its not intentional, no one alive could be doing a better job of achieving that end result through simple blind stupidity.

I thought the O man was shifting our foreign policy emphasis to the Asian Pacific area? Maybe he’s putting together a SEATO revival Action Arm somewhat as he’s morphing his ongoing permanent campaign into a busybody corps to carry on in bedeviling us all. Foreign Policy? We don’t need no stinking foreign policy! Not when we got Barry the Magnificent !!

nordic_prince | March 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm

The longer Comrade Zero is in office, the more I despise him for all the damage he’s inflicted on us Americans – damage which will ripple out to the rest of the world as it discovers after the fact that a weakened America results in the world becoming a more dangerous place.

Meanwhile, Zero continues to assail us with his $#!+ eating grin and insult us with whopper after whopper. He is a contemptible worm.

1. After Bush kissed the Saudi despot, Obama bowed to him.

Our deteriorating, rudderless foreign policy is another case where Obama inherited a mess from Bush and made it worse.

Though the Democrats and Republicans blunder in different ways, fundamentally the ruling class as a whole is at fault.

2. The linked Jacobsen piece is fundamentally flawed:

In February two Russian bombers, armed with nuclear weapons, flew into American airspace and over the Island of Guam. They withdrew before scrambled American jet fighters could intercept them.

Clicking on the link gives:

The aircraft – Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons – flew over the western Pacific island just hours before Obama’s state of the union address on Tuesday and were intercepted by Air Force F-15 jets.

Officials insisted the surprise training mission ‘stayed professional’ and said it was unclear whether the bombers were equipped with nuclear missiles. The bombers remained in international air space, they said.

That’s the most egregious, but not the only, instance of Jacobsen playing fast and loose. Way below your usual standards, Leslie.

3. There is much to criticize about the administration’s dangerous fecklessness on the world stage, but jingoish propaganda is not the right starting point for a prudent assessment.

    gs: Three points to address your three points —

    1) I think Obama has the goal of undermining this country to “even the playing field”. This now means global instability and our country being targeted in ways undreamed of when Bush was in the White House.

    2)The piece was to list events falling under the radar, as I think several of those are. The piece I quoted comes from a very savvy military expert, and that was his assessment – which I trust. I have asked him to address your concerns — so hopefully he will be on the comments section to do so.

    3) I am going to respectfully disagree with your “jingoish” assessment. It is quite simply a snapshot of why I am concerned about items not being well covered in the American press in any meaningful way.

      1. My bad, Leslie, I meant ‘jingoish’ to apply to Jacobsen’s piece, not to yours. Sorry. I checked the meaning of the word before posting it, with particular attention to this example in Webster’s:

      <a jingo who thought other countries should automatically follow his country’s policies>

      Wlater Russell Mead, your fellow Democrat, frames policy questions in terms of what he calls the Game of Thrones. I endorse that approach, though not necessarily all his conclusions.

      2. While we’re waiting for Jacobsen, I’ll ask a question I’ve been asking for ten years, without getting a response that satisfied me:

      If Islamism is the enemy, why did we attack the secular Baathist regime of Iraq before/instead of the Islamist regime of Iran?

      It’s an obvious question after the Islamist Spring, but I emphasize that I’ve been asking it all along.

gs: I love “Game of Thrones”: I will have to check out what Mead has said. Thanks for the reference.

    You’re welcome.

    While waiting for Jacobsen to respond, I noticed that Mark Steyn, even though no stranger to exaggeration himself, makes similar points much more sensibly. Money quote:

    …there are ever fewer takers for a money-no-object global hegemon that spends 46 percent of the world’s military budget and can’t impress its will on a bunch of inbred goatherds. A broker America needs to learn to do more with less, and to rediscover the cold calculation of national interest rather than waging war as the world’s largest NGO.

    The whole thing is worth reading.

      gs in reply to gs. | March 25, 2013 at 9:39 am

      In Jacobsen’s post, the hyperlink to the Daily Mail which I quoted above has been replaced with a link to the Washington Free Beacon. The headline there reads:

      Bear Bombers Over Guam
      Russian nuclear bombers circle Guam

      The article does not provide any explanation why the headline claims (“Over Guam”) a violation of our airspace.

      Nor, as far as I can tell, does Jacobsen indicate that he changed his post.

      My opinion of the credibility of this “very savvy military expert” is validated.

Foreign policy for Obama is the eighteenth hole – out there and the damage has already been done.