By Victor Volsky
OBAMA THE PEACEMAKER
In flowing robes of white, his eyes
raised heavenward, his arms extended outward, Barack Obama enters the
lions’ den of world politics roiling with animosity and tensions. Upon
beholding the unearthly figure, the commotion ceases; entranced, the
warring multitudes listen to the magic sounds issuing from his mouth. He
says, "I come not to bring a sword, but to bring peace." No one can help
falling under the spell of his magnetic personality; no one can resist
the power of his sublime eloquence (some, overcome by emotion, faint).
Gradually, the noise dies down; the belligerents lay down their weapons,
hold hands, and in unison sing Kumbaya. As the oceans recede and the
planet heals, peace finally comes to the long-suffering world, and the
grateful mankind loudly praises Obama the Peacemaker, Obama the Savior,
Obama the Great.
Obama inherited from his
predecessor a winning hand: the war won and over, the schedule of U.S.
troop withdrawal in place; the Status of Forces Agreement hammered out
in principle, with only a few details to be worked out related to a
limited contingent of U.S. troops to be left behind as insurance. But
whether by design or through incompetence, Obama procrastinated
endlessly until the Iraqis lost their patience and the talks broke down
over the issue of immunity of U.S. forces from Iraqi prosecution.
According to Obama, the United States would be moving into a new phase
of the relationship with Iraq - an equal partnership between two
sovereign nations based on mutual respect: "This will be a strong and
enduring partnership," he said.
National security has traditionally
been the Democrats’ Achilles heel. So during the 2004 election campaign
they came up with a clever ploy: while lambasting the U.S. military
presence in Iraq, they would point to the war in Afghanistan as the
right one. This would allow the Democrats to burnish their security
credentials while mercilessly criticizing George Bush’s military policy
with impunity. In 2008, Candidate Obama picked up the strategy and ran
with it. On the stump he repeatedly denounced the “wrong” war in Iraq
and demanded an expansion of the “good” war in Afghanistan.
Obama inherited the problem of Iran’s nuclear ambitions from his predecessor. But Bush was hamstrung by Democratic moles in the U.S. intelligence community who conducted a successful disinformation campaign to convince the public that Iran had long given up its plans to acquire nuclear weapons. For his part, Obama has none of the handicap. But blithely confident of his powers of persuasion, Obama was sure that if only he could engage the Iranians and entice them into face-to-face negotiations he would overpower them with the force of his personality and eloquence. In consequence, they would see the error of their ways, disavow their intransigence and join the family of nations. So to avoid antagonizing his would-be negotiating partners, he sat out the mass demonstrations in Iran in the summer of 2009, when a few words of support for the Iranian protesters might have gone a long way toward toppling the mullahs’ suddenly shaky regime. Again, Obama’s naiveté blew up in his face and earned him much disdain from the Iranian leaders (see the mindset of the Third World above). And now his Iran policy has been reduced to deterring, by hook or by crook, Israel from attacking the Iranian nuclear projects so as not to damage his reelection chances.
Item: Arab Spring
When anti-government riots broke out in Egypt, Barack Obama rushed into the breach and, displaying a sure instinct for wrong choices, proceeded to push President Mubarak out. No matter that for three decades Mubarak had kept the peace with Israel, the cornerstone of relative stability in the Middle East. No matter that Mubarak had been a consistent ally of the U.S. against Soviet communists and later on against Islamist terrorists. Thanks in some measure to Obama Egypt is now firmly in the talons of the Muslim Brotherhood and on the cusp of going Islamist. The Egyptian Parliament has already declared Israel to be Enemy Number One. How’s that for a diplomatic triumph?
For some inscrutable reason, Obama was gung-ho to overthrow Libyan dictator Qaddafi. Qaddafi certainly was not a boy scout, but was he any worse than, say, Syria’s Assad? A few years back, Qaddafi, scared out of his wits by Saddam Hussein’s demise, decided to make peace with the Americans. He turned his nuclear weapons program over to the U.S. and rendered us significant assistance in the war on terror. Yet, in spite of geopolitical considerations, Obama put on his war paint and sallied forth to overthrow the dastardly colonel. He declared that he couldn’t live with his conscience were the massacre in Libya permitted to go on unchecked. Yet his conscience was apparently untroubled in the face of killings on an incomparably larger scale going on in Syria. Thus Qaddafi is gone - and so is Libya as a unitary nation; the country is in the throes of free-for-all civil war and has virtually ceased to exist. Is this what Obama wanted? Does it serve the U.S. national interests?
No sooner had Obama come to power than he sacrificed the U.S. plans to build missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic to shoot down Iranian missiles on the altar of improved relations with Putin’s Russia, Throwing two of America’s most faithful allies under the bus was meant as a good-will gesture to the Russians who knew full well that those bases were no threat to their security. But why not try to wrest unilateral concessions from the appeasement-minded new U.S. president. Putin pocketed the gift but showed no inclination to reciprocate (that same pesky disdain for weakness). And now the Russian leaders are gleefully sabotaging U.S. attempts to mobilize the world against Iran, while whipping up anti-American hysteria at home. Yet Obama promises them still more concessions in his second term. A negotiating partner the Russians could only see in their dreams.
For decades the U.S. stood resolutely with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and the only reliable ally of the United States in this strategically crucial region. Until Obama. Like all his predecessors in the White House he dreamed of engineering a peaceful solution in the Middle East to go down in history as a peacemaker extraordinaire. But he decided to go about it by siding with the Palestinians and pressuring Israel. Israelis are not stupid or blind. In a recent poll only 4 percent of them said they considered Obama a friend of their nation. Israel has every reason to be wary of Obama’s second term, when he would not be restrained by the fear of a voter backlash. And so are the Arab allies of the U.S. who have watched the Obama administration sell out its best friend in the region and drawn appropriate conclusions relative to their own future. Small wonder that Obama’s rating in the Arab world has been plumbing unprecedented depths.
In short, Obama’s international credentials have been every bit as poor as his domestic political and economic record. His plummeting popularity all over the world - from the Middle East to Latin America - is evidence enough of how disastrous his foreign policy has been. And even though the New York Times proclaimed Obama to be “the strongest foreign-policy Democrat in recent memory” and breathlessly disclosed that he was chomping at the bit to do battle with Mitt Romney in the arena of diplomacy, the presumptive Republican nominee need have no fear of the coming fight. Indeed he should look forward to it.