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Obama: From Decline to Dorothy

Obama: From Decline to Dorothy

In October 2009, Charles Krauthammer critiqued President Obama’s foreign policy in a Weekly Standard article Decline is a choice:

Indeed, as he made his hajj from Strasbourg to Prague to Ankara to Istanbul to Cairo and finally to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama drew the picture of an America quite exceptional–exceptional in moral culpability and heavy-handedness, exceptional in guilt for its treatment of other nations and peoples. With varying degrees of directness or obliqueness, Obama indicted his own country for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness (toward Europe), for maltreatment of natives, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantánamo, for unilateralism, and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.

Quite an indictment, the fundamental consequence of which is to effectively undermine any moral claim that America might have to world leadership, as well as the moral confidence that any nation needs to have in order to justify to itself and to others its position of leadership. According to the new dispensation, having forfeited the mandate of heaven–if it ever had one–a newly humbled America now seeks a more modest place among the nations, not above them.

But that leads to the question: How does this new world govern itself? How is the international system to function?

In his column this week, Obama’s Dorothy Doctrine, Krauthammer answers the (nearly) four year old question:

This is John Lennon, bumper-sticker foreign policy — Imagine World Peace. Obama pretends that the tide of war is receding. But it’s demonstrably not. It’s metastasizing to Mali, to the Algerian desert, to the North African states falling under the Muslim Brotherhood, to Yemen, to the savage civil war in Syria, now spilling over into Lebanon and destabilizing Jordan. Even Sinai, tranquil for 35 years, is descending into chaos.

It’s not war that’s receding. It’s America. Under Obama. And it is precisely in the power vacuum left behind that war is rising. Obama declares Assad must go. The same wish-as-policy fecklessness from our bystander president. Two years — and 70,000 dead — later, Obama keeps repeating the wish even as the tide of battle is altered by the new arbiters of Syria’s future — Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. Where does every party to the Syrian conflict go on bended knee? To Moscow, as Washington recedes into irrelevance.

This is a point that Jonathan Spyer recently expanded upon in The Tower magazine:

Following the collapse of pro-U.S. regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, an Assad victory would further be seen by political elites across the Middle East as an object lesson. The lesson will be that allying with the U.S. is an error. The U.S. will not back you in your moment of need, while opposing it and allying with its enemies carries little cost. The U.S. and its regional allies, it will be believed, can be successfully challenged as long as you have determined allies of your own prepared to back you to the hilt. And such determined allies can be easily found in Iran and Russia.

Remember what Krauthammer wrote about President Obama’s view of American exceptionalism? Sacrificing Mubarak and Ben Ali was a way of expiating American arrogance … and hurting American interests.

Should evidence of American weakness become so readily apparent, it would have several practical effects: First, Iran will be encouraged to even more strenuously defy the West over its nuclear program, secure in the knowledge that U.S. and Western threats can be faced down. In the longer term, an Iranian victory in Syria and a general sense that the U.S. and its allies are a spent and declining force will fuel the idea of Iran and its allies as a “resistance bloc” that can effectively defeat a collapsing West. In turn, this could result in a regional shift in favor of Iran, with such states as Qatar and possibly even Muslim Brotherhood-oriented regimes such as Egypt and Gaza cementing a tilt in favor of the Islamic republic. That this is a potential catastrophe for the West should be obvious.

And if Iran is emboldened what are the chances that its clients Syria and Hezbollah will take American tough talk seriously?

Until now, the U.S. and the West have completely failed to meet this challenge. They have neither opposed their enemies nor supported their allies effectively. As of now, the Assad regime is standing firm and even regaining lost ground. Its survival, which means its victory, would be a disaster for the West. It is crucial, then, for the West to take those measures necessary to prevent it and to end the carnage in Syria in the shortest possible time. This is a strategic imperative of the utmost urgency for America, the West and its allies in the Middle East.

The Obama doctrine is if you want peace, retreat from wars. Unfortunately in the real world, wars (and trouble) don’t always retreat just because you do.

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Comments

“It’s not war that’s receding. It’s America. Under Obama.”
I completely agree and this POS owns it too! This is his legacy, EPIC FAILURE.
#ObamaFAIL

Krauthammer needs to learn what the word “peace” means for Islam. It most definitely is not what we, as Jews and Christians believe about the same word!!

Let’s not forget that princess pansy’s lackeys have declared that speaking ill of the camel bumpers is a violation of their civil rights.

If Obama were to intervene against Assad you’d all accuse him of siding with Sunni radicals and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Paul in reply to Andrew. | May 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Why is he damned if he doesn’t? Oh, maybe by his own base. Well, you can’t please everyone all the time, can you?

    But the facts speak loudly, Andrew. Obama is a scandal plagued leader who can’t seem to figure out that he is supposed to work for the country, not transform the country into his (failing) idea of utopia.

      Andrew in reply to Paul. | May 31, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      Lots of conservative commentators have condemned the increasingly Islamic orientation of the Syrian rebellion and some even accuse Obama of bombing Libya to intentionally create a base for al-Qaeda.

      Of course they’re not being consistent anti-interventionists. If they were they would have condemned Bush for overthrowing a secular dictatorship through a brute force and inflaming extremism of both Sunni and Shia varieties.

        Estragon in reply to Andrew. | June 1, 2013 at 2:37 am

        Saddam violated at least a dozen UN Resolutions and the conditions under which his surrender in the Gulf War was accepted. That the post-Saddam reconstruction of Iraq was mismanaged does not alter that fact.

    Estragon in reply to Andrew. | June 1, 2013 at 2:40 am

    It is not conservatives arguing for intervention (of which there are few) that is Obama’s problem. His problem is his own big mouth. He declared Assad as someone who must go just as he did Mubarak and Qaddafi, he publicly set a “red line” for intervention at the use of chemical weapons. That’s his own darned fault and no one else’s.

    He should not let his mouth write a check his ass cannot cash.

Charles Krauthammer is one of the few Fox News contributors that I actually listen to for rational analysis. He also has a way with words. Making light of Obama by calling his travels a “Hajj” is satirical in a sublime fashion.

Obama’s legacy is indeed one of failure. Even the democrats who voted for it, are now calling Obamacare “A Train Wreck.”

    Andrew in reply to Paul. | May 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    “Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.”

    Charles Krauthammer, April 22, 2003

    radiofreeca in reply to Paul. | May 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Paul, the problem with your argument is that (1) Bush did NOT overthrow a secular dictatorship – it was quite clearly a Sunni minority violently oppressing a Shia majority. And (2) while there was a lot of violence between Sunni and Shia post-Saddam, it was completely understandable, as the Shia majority got even with the Sunni minority because of what happend in #1), for a number of years (until Obama got into office) that violence was quite a bit lower than prior to Saddam getting pushed out, and the level of religious oppression quite a bit lower than found in either Iran or Saudi.

    Based on religion-based civil wars and casualty rates, Shia/Sunni violence is dramatially higher under Obama (the “healer”) vs. Bush (who according to you “inflamed” the situation).

The “War on Terror” was a sham from the start and Obama’s not ending it he’s just re-branding it. He just launched another drone strike the other day.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Andrew. | May 31, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    3,000 dead at the WTC, Pennyslvana, the Pentagon. You call it a “sham”. Had the war not been waged and thousands of terrorists and wannabes killed, we would’ve had lots of Bostons by now. The problem is those waging the war went wobbly under Bush. Under Obama, there is more interest in crating an Islamic caliphate. The drone strikes are a distraction to draw or attention away from the caliphate that is developing just like the scans were supposed to distract us from the senate’s amnesty bill.

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