Letter: Obama’s foreign policy record is abysmal
February 24, 2015
To the Editor:
If Felicia Muftic's column announcing that the 2016 GOP presidential candidates are lacking in foreign policy experience had been written by anyone else, I would have considered it a brilliant effort at satire. However, I am sure she thought her piece to be serious and insightful.
While she is correct to point out that many GOP candidates do not have strong foreign policy backgrounds and thus are POTENTIALLY vulnerable to missteps in this arena , her column lacks any credibility by failing to address the current administration's utter failure in handling foreign affairs.
President Obama came to the White House as a "community organizer" and a junior U.S. senator. Hardly the resume for expertise on foreign policy. His lack of experience could have been mitigated if he had chosen a strong "team" of advisers but instead he surrounded himself with political operatives who were yes men and women. When advisers offered advice that did not suit the President's view of the world, they were dismissed. Thus four Secretaries of Defense. The results of the last six years have left the U.S. a diminished participant on an increasingly dangerous world stage.
Consider the following (in no particular order of occurrence or import):
• An apology tour by the president that gave rise to the bloody Arab Spring in numerous countries and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
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• Turmoil in Libya with the U.S. "leading from behind" and the eventual loss of our embassy and the lives of four Americans.
• A resurgent Russia with Vladimir Putin striving to reassert the influence of the Soviet Union. The U.S. stood by as Putin rolled over Crimea and today watches as he threatens more of Ukraine.
• A civil war in Syria with thousands dead and a massive number of refugees. Our leaders (Obama, Clinton, Kerry) all stated Assad "must go" yet three years on he remains and Obama's chemical weapons "red line" was crossed without consequences. Only now (after the rise of ISIS) are we talking limited steps to support factions opposed to Assad. Too little too late seems to be this administration's approach.
• On numerous occasions Obama has stated "all options are on the table" when addressing areas of conflict but then asserts "no boots on the ground".
• A premature total withdrawal from Iraq leaving the country vulnerable to ISIS and leading to the incremental return of U.S. "advisers."
• A similar situation in Afghanistan where President Obama has announced a date certain when all U.S. forces will be withdrawn.
• Regarding ISIS, it is my understanding that the I stands for Islamic yet the White House and State Department are incapable of acknowledging that we are engaged in a "war" with RADICAL Islam. To my knowledge, no one is asserting we are at war with the whole of Islam. Yet Obama repeatedly finds it necessary to state we are not at war with Islam. For some reason the president has a blind spot when it comes to an honest assessment of the enemy. Unfortunately, one of the most critical factors in any military operation, "know your enemy," is being ignored by our commander in chief. JV they are not.
•And while Syria and Iraq garner most of the headlines, radical Islamists now threaten Yemen and numerous African nations.
• Protracted negotiations and repeated deadline extensions with Iran over their development of nuclear arms while at the same time fostering a breakdown in relations with Israel, our one true ally in the region.
• While I agree with the President's policy of not negotiating with terrorists for hostage returns, how could he authorize the release of five terrorists from Guantanamo in exchange for a soldier that abandoned his brothers? Leave no soldier behind does not apply here.
The above examples show the results of a president lacking in foreign policy experience who then fails to take counsel from advisers that are capable of helping. I am sure Ms. Muftic will respond that Hillary Clinton possesses the requisite experience based on her stint as Secretary of State. Unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton and her supporters, a cursory examination of her record at State shows limited successes and numerous failures. As farfetched as this sounds, when it comes to foreign policy experience, Joe Biden may be the most qualified potential 2016 Democrat candidate.