Foreign Policy Relived

“The 1970’s called and they would like their foreign policy back.”

President Obama addressed this quip to Romney in a pre-election debate.

Now it’s a couple of years later and President Obama probably wishes he could get the 1970’s on the phone to learn how to shape an effective foreign policy against a hostile Russia.

During both of his campaigns Obama promised to get the United States out of Iraq. He has used his authority to accelerate our departure despite warnings of the dangers.

Circulating on Facebook right now is a news clip of Bush stating that if we leave Iraq too quickly, and against the advice of the military leadership, it will become the next terrorist stronghold. He was referring to the area which is now the stronghold of ISIS.

President Obama is in a pickle. The world he faces runs contrary to his political banter. This largely happened because he failed to see the world as it really was. Russia really is a tremendously powerful country, with aspirations to reclaim all its lost territories. Within the portion of the world dominated by Islam, terrorists will rise up.

I remember history teachers, from junior high up, telling us the reason we study history—to avoid repeating it.

 

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The Price of Grandstanding

For the past few weeks Americans have been waiting for a decision from our Commander in Chief about Syria.

It’s time to pay the price for past grandstanding.

On April 14, 1986, Ronald Reagan ordered airstrikes on Libya. To the best of my knowledge he did not consult congress. He did not take any opinion polls. He just made a decision as Commander in Chief. (Bill Clinton ordered similar strikes in Afghanistan in August 1998.)

Some people said Reagan over extended his authority. He simply stood by his convictions and the voices of dissent faded eventually.

But in the present day we have a president who accused his predecessor of being a warmonger. He asserted Bush had acted illegally, ordering a strike without congressional approval. He claimed Bush lied about chemical weapons in Iraq. So now when he faces a similar situation he has excluded himself from taking decisive action.

Instead he must get congressional approval, check on public opinion, and in this case, rely on the decisive action of Vladimir Putin to shape the American response.