OBAMA, SON OF CARTER - AT 11:36 A.M. ET: The great John Bolton warns about Obama's dithering, and its dangers to America. Apparently, when Obama got the job description, he didn't notice "decisiveness preferred." From The Los Angeles Times:
Weakness in American foreign policy in one region often invites challenges elsewhere, because our adversaries carefully follow diminished American resolve. Similarly, presidential indecisiveness, whether because of uncertainty or internal political struggles, signals that the United States may not respond to international challenges in clear and coherent ways.
Taken together, weakness and indecisiveness have proved historically to be a toxic combination for America's global interests. That is exactly the combination we now see under President Obama.
Nothing like telling it like it is.
Obama is no Harry Truman. At best, he is reprising Jimmy Carter.
The unkindest cut. No, wait. This will be read in Los Angeles, in Hollywood. That's probably a compliment.
Beyond the disquiet (or outrage for some) prompted by the president's propensity to apologize for his country's pre-Obama history, Americans increasingly sense that his administration is drifting from one foreign policy mistake to another. Worse, the current is growing swifter, and the threats more pronounced, even as the administration tries to turn its face away from the world and toward its domestic priorities. Foreign observers, friend and foe alike, sense the same aimlessness and drift. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had to remind Obama at a Sept. 24 U.N. Security Council meeting that "we live in the real world, not a virtual one."
When the French lecture us for being too soft, we're in trouble.
Canceling the Polish and Czech missile defense bases is understood in Moscow and Eastern European capitals as backing down in the face of Russian bluster and belligerence. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened the day after our 2008 election to deploy missiles targeting these assets unless they were canceled, a threat duly noted by the Russian media when Obama canceled the sites.
On nuclear nonproliferation, North Korea responded to the "open hand" of engagement by testing its second nuclear device, continuing an aggressive ballistic missile testing program, cooperating with other rogue states and kidnapping and holding hostage two American reporters. Obama's reaction is to press for more negotiations, which simply encourages Pyongyang to up the ante.
But we're engaging, we're engaging. It's a dialogue - just like college!
Finally, Obama's agonizing, very public reappraisal of his own 7-month-old Afghanistan policy epitomizes indecisiveness. While there is no virtue in sustaining policy merely for continuity's sake, neither is credit due for too-quickly adopting policies without appreciating the risks entailed and then fleeing precipitously when the risks become manifest.
Our international adversaries undoubtedly welcome all of these "resets" in U.S. foreign policy, but Americans should be appalled at how much of our posture in the world has already been given away. If Obama's first nine months indicate the direction of the next 39, we still have a long way to fall.
COMMENT: Bolton's comments will be dismissed by the usual suspects as the "old belligerence," but they're on the money. Obama's policies cannot lead to peace. Surrender, maybe. But not peace.
It is surrender, though, that many of the intellectual leaders of the left crave.
October 18, 2009