Deterrence is lost through lax foreign policy, an erosion of military readiness, and failed supreme command — often insidiously, over time, rather than dramatically, at once. The following random events over the seven years that Barack Obama has been in office have led to the idea abroad that the U.S. is no longer the world’s leader and that regional hegemonies have a golden opportunity to redraw regional maps and spheres of influence — to the disadvantage of the West — in the ten months remaining before the next president is inaugurated.
The otherwise disparate Boston Marathon, Fort Hood, and San Bernardino Islamist bombers had three things in common: First, the killers had all communicated on social media with radical jihadists, or had come to the attention of both U.S. and foreign intelligence, or had expressed jihadist beliefs. Second, their attacks were followed by administration warnings about not embracing Islamophobia, as Obama doubled down on his administration’s taboo against the use of terms such as “jihadist,” “radical Islamist,” and “Islamic terrorist.” Third, after each of these incidents, there was no stepped-up administration vigilance; instead, there was a flurry of sermons about not blaming Islam for inciting such killers. The greatest check on ISIS terrorism may lie in the hands of ISIS itself: If its operatives continue to cull the Western herd by a few dozen murders every few months, the U.S. will likely continue to do little. If they get greedy and seek a repeat of something on the scale of 9/11, then the American public will force this administration to act. Unfortunately, ISIS may not be so much energized by anger over supposed Islamophobia as buoyed by the administration’s inability to say “radical Islam.”
The Bowe Bergdahl swap for five Taliban terrorists — and National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s praise of the deserter Bergdahl’s service — reinforced the global message that the Obama administration did not necessarily see Taliban killers as killers or American deserters as deserters, apparently because such definitions are anachronistically absolute concepts. After all, who would willingly swap five killers for one deserter? Apparently everything is negotiable and political, given that the U.S. does not feel deeply about either terrorist killers or those who have renounced their duty to thwart them.
On the diplomatic front, Hillary Clinton’s praise of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi — a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood — reversed postwar U.S. policy in Egypt and put America on the side of “one election, one time” radical Islamicization. We are now in a truly 1984 scenario in which the current Egyptian head of state, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, warns the West of radical Islam, while Obama objects that Westerners, the target of such Islamists, have exaggerated the threat: so much so that the White House recently, in an official video, edited out French President François Hollande’s reference to “Islamic terrorism” — though the passage was restored after the gap was widely remarked.
The bombing of Libya not only violated U.N. resolutions (no-fly zones and humanitarian aid only), but also destroyed the government of the monster-in-rehabilitation Moammar Qaddafi, leaving nothing in its place but a terrorist badland. The logical follow-up was the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. Almost everything the administration then said about Libya was crude or simply a lie. Secretary Clinton was especially immoral in her chortles about “We came, we saw, he [Qaddafi] died,” “What difference does it make?” and, more recently, “No Americans died in Libya” — bookended by her face-to-face lies to the families of the men who died, whom she told that a videomaker, not al-Qaeda, had prompted the attacks. Note that Susan Rice (wrong about Egypt, wrong about Libya, wrong about Bergdahl) spoke misleadingly quite often on the Sunday talk shows, attempting to protect the Obama reelection narrative that al-Qaeda was “on the run” and incapable of such attacks. Long live “Bin Laden is dead, GM is alive.”
Just as the failure to get in on the ground floor when Mubarak was deposed in Egypt had sparked Obama’s interest in preempting in Libya, so too it is probably Libya’s implosion that paralyzed Obama into doing nothing when violence overwhelmed Syria. The administration somehow then managed to achieve almost every negative result imaginable during the Syrian mess: Obama issued red lines about WMD use, did not enforce them, and then denied that he had ever issued them at all — eroding not just U.S. credibility but the very idea that a U.S. president should tell the truth. He failed to arm Syrian “moderates”; eventually they disappeared and Syria became a war between Bashar Assad and ISIS. In pre-reelection panic, Obama then invited Vladimir Putin into the Middle East and outsourced to him Assad’s WMD program. Refugees swamping Europe, a quarter-million dead in Syria, Putin’s bombing, and the end to the Christian community in Syria sum up the result.
Iraq’s fate was in some ways worse, because the present destruction of that country was likely preventable. Obama and Vice President Biden had until 2011 praised the quiet in Iraq — which they had inherited from the Bush administration — as their own, only to squander it by needlessly pulling out all U.S. peacekeepers for the price of another cheap reelection talking point. Now, when it is too late, we are quietly sending back in U.S. troops, who might as well have stayed where they were when it was not too late.
At least Putin had assumed in 2008 that a divided United States and an unpopular George W. Bush would address Russia’s annexation of South Ossetia and its bullying of Georgia. When the Bush administration leveled some mild punishments, the deterioration in the region became an Obama campaign talking point of blaming the Bush administration and promising to reset the reset. Obama kept the reset promise, but the new reset failed, and meanwhile Obama had sent the message that he blamed the U.S. more than Russia for rocky relations — and a delighted Putin green-lighted further aggression in Crimea and Ukraine. Now the administration is reduced to insulting Putin rather than deterring him.
Dismantling joint strategic-missile-defense initiatives with Poland and the Czech Republic did not win over Putin, but it did confirm that Obama was ambivalent about our allies, and did not care much for any nation naïve enough to believe that the United States’ foreign policy of deterrence going back seven decades was still in force. The mullahs in Tehran noticed that the administration had embarrassed America’s friends, did not believe in expanded missile defense, and had kept quiet when a million dissidents hit the streets in protest against their dictatorship, and concluded that it was time to formalize a pathway to an eventual nuclear weapon. They guessed rightly that a legacy-hungry Obama would circumvent the Senate by saying the proposed treaty was not really a treaty, and blasting Republican skeptics while speaking far more respectfully of anti-American Iranian theocrats.
Central to Obama’s foreign policy was a redefinition of allies, enemies, and neutrals, as if such distinctions were fossilized Cold War relics. Obama reached out to regimes, like the ones in Iran and Cuba, that had long despised the United States. Yet even if they were to become friendly toward us, neither could offer America any strategic benefits — and both have lots of downsides given their rank oppression of their own people and their propensity to undermine their neighbors. After such outreach, both Fidel Castro and the Iranian theocrats gratuitously defamed the United States and Obama in particular. Allies like Britain, France, and Israel have been snubbed, as Obama and his aides leaked disdain for their leaders via interviews and open-mike slurs.
In the last 7 years about 100000 (7×15000) Americans have been killed by other Americans
Really Curt why are you acting as a publicity agent for the terrorists ? What jihadists have done here is s drop in the bucket compared to what we do to ourselves
It’s almost like you are regretting Reagan giving the mujahadin billions
Or Bush liberating Iraq from the despot Saddam