Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “[Obama’s] appeasement of Iran, his bullying of Israel, his surrender to Moscow, his call for a nuclear-free world ... have all won him plaudits in the large number of UN member states where US foreign policy has traditionally been viewed with contempt. Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership.” Jennifer Rubin at the neoconservative publication Commentary declared Obama’s speech was “one of the more embarrassing and shameful displays by a US president before the UN”. For Gardiner, Ledeen and Rubin the model for foreign policy is that represented by Dick Cheney. He projected strength and decisiveness and America’s enemies allegedly cowered. Obama — or Obambi — is, in their eyes, an arugula-eating surrender monkey.
Let’s review the evidence. In Iraq, Obama postponed any rapid withdrawal, keeping troops there as long as the Bush administration had pledged. While ending torture, Obama has retained key provisions for extraordinary rendition and has recently scored real successes in the terror war. Last week brought the exposure of what looks like the first real Al-Qaeda plot within America, busted by the FBI and unaccompanied by any Obama grandstanding or fear-mongering. Several Al-Qaeda leaders have been taken out by drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Obama has sent more troops to Afghanistan and ordered a full review of strategy from one of Cheney’s favourite generals, Stanley McChrystal. For the first time in two decades Israel does not have carte blanche from the White House to do whatever it wants in the West Bank.
On the critical test of Iran we see the Obama method in clarifying perspective. Look at the moves of the first eight months. First off, Obama makes it clear that America is ready to talk if Iran is ready to deal. The Bush-era polarisation is defused, revealing to global opinion that it is Tehran, not Washington, that is the problem here. The Bush-style warnings are instead given by Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, further underlining the fact that this is a global problem, not just an American one.
Obama then goes to Cairo to deliver a speech rebranding the United States with the Muslim world. The following month the green revolution breaks out on the streets of Iran and, despite brutal suppression, the spell of theocracy is for ever smashed. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, and Ayatollah Khamenei, its supreme leader, are opposed now not only by the massive majority of Iranians, but by part of their own elite as well. Then Obama scraps the missile defence system in eastern Europe, pleasing Russia, and moves the focus of defence to the Mediterranean, pleasing Israel. Dmitry Medvedev expresses the view — never uttered by a Russian leader before — that sanctions against Iran may be inevitable. Obama follows up by being the first US president to chair a United Nations security council meeting, where he presides over a resolution calling for nuclear disarmament. The vote is unanimous. Again, he wields American power through the prism of international co-operation — and receives a rapturous welcome at the UN from many developing countries that would previously have stayed aloof. Again, he lets Brown and especially Sarkozy make the more focused comments on Iran.
On Friday he reveals the existence of a second uranium enrichment site — near the religious centre of Qom — and proves that Tehran is a dishonest negotiator. And this time the storyline is not America versus Iran, but the world versus a deceptive dictator, clinging to power via a coup.
Is this weakness or is it a different avenue to strength? Politics is always about timing and context. Seeing Obama’s moves without taking into account the Bush-Cheney inheritance is to wear ideological blinkers. Obama’s promise was and is a rebranding of America (which was the primary reason I supported him). If you are an unchastened neocon you see no need to rebrand after Guantanamo, Iraq, Bagram and Abu Ghraib. But if you are capable of absorbing complicated reality, you realise that such a rebranding is essential if America is to dig itself out of the Bush-Cheney ditch and advance its interests by defter means than raw violence and occupation.
Arugala-Eating, yes. Surrender Monkey, never.
"There is also a difference between strength and brittleness. Cheney and Bush, for all their swagger, failed to prevent North Korea or Iran from progressing with nuclear weaponry. Bush retreated somewhat in his second term, under the influence of Condoleezza Rice and Bob Gates. Obama’s alternative strategy — which is a logical evolution of the second Bush term — seems to me the most productive avenue the West now has. And the West now has a leader who doesn’t need the headlines or the braggadocio of the Cheney method.
Sometimes a little give can mean a much bigger take. Sometimes a little restraint and cunning are more effective than constant tub-thumping and ideology. Who do you think had a more successful foreign policy: George H W Bush at the end of the cold war or George W Bush at the start of the war on terror? Obama is following the first Bush, not the second."
Aunt Kim, keep listening to your intellectual betters like Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. In the meantime, GO. FUCK. YOUR. SELF.
Keep freaking out about socialism, or trrsts, and respect for "the Constitution", and please, oh please, get back to me when you read about those three things.
Define socialism, terrorism, and I want a book report on the United States' Constitution.
Seriously, until you have something more substantive to contribute to the national discourse than this,
via Media Matters:
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the "Obama problem." Don't dismiss it as unrealistic.
Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.
Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible
WTF?! Jesus Christ, You people need a fucking Valium.
And he told your Republican ass to go fuck itself, huh? Well, let me double down on that.
--Aidan Gillen as Councilman Thomas Carcetti