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Obama's Flawed Foreign Policies

Kenneth Gulley |
October 17, 2012 | 10:55 a.m. PDT

Contributor

"Obama's Flawed Foreign Policies" is part three of the series "Political Perspectives."

(Dawn Megli / Creative Commons)
(Dawn Megli / Creative Commons)

Sic Vis Pacam Para Bellum: If you wish for Peace, Prepare for War.

The management of domestic politics is difficult in itself, but with two major ideologies leading the way, there is a simple priority to compromise and put the needs of a mutual constituency to the forefront.

One beautiful attribute of the relations between nations is the freedom each nation has to seek out its own will. As we know, these wills, when carried out externally, can lead to strife between international powers.

American foreign policy has been tested in a number of ways since our nation's founding, from non-intervention (neutrality), to appeasement, to a defensive sphere of influence (the Monroe Doctrine) and deterrence (in fear of the Domino Theory).

Lately, the neo-Conservative ideals of foreign policy have taken the lead - whether it’s the Bush Doctrine’s pursuit of Democratic regime change, or Obama’s effective support of democratic revolutions in the Middle East and North African nations.

Like Bush, Obama is a believer in the Democratic Peace Theory in that he believes democracies are less prone to go to war, and do not war with each other. This is why the President supported the overthrow of Gadhafi and Mubarak, just as President Bush supplanted the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.

What makes President Obama different from President Bush concerning this application of foreign policy is President Bush’s willingness to lead from the front (sometimes too unilaterally) as opposed to Obama’s seeming willingness to “lead from behind,” as it has been labeled.

Let's take a look a few key results of President’s Obamas leadership from behind by first looking at President Obama’s key successes overseas.

“Bin Laden is dead” is half of the bumper sticker Vice President Joe Biden has developed; but how did we go about getting to this point? What system did the President use in capturing the Most Wanted Terrorist in the World? As we came to found out in the aftermath of the death of bin Laden, the key intelligence that led to this success was from “enhanced interrogation techniques” by way of Guantanamo Bay; a policy President Obama had promised to stop and a prison he had promised to close upon election. Should Obama then claim success built on the back of his predecessor’s policies?

How about ending the Iraq war? The Iraq War, a fruitless effort engaged in by President Bush, was technically ended on the timetable as prescribed by President Bush’s Administration. This was even pointed out by John Stewart, the heavy handed liberal media comedic giant.

This leaves the President in an awkward position. Having his two greatest foreign policy victories based on the policies of his predecessor does not leave much room for other successes. As the war in Afghanistan rages on, the Obama Administration has promoted a timetable for withdrawal there as well. Unfortunately, that set schedule may be more to gain political votes than to gain advances in the war.

In Afghanistan, Obama has taken the lead in policy changes, changes that have left our troops spread thin and unable to keep up with the demands that are called for in this volatile region. Unfortunately, these policies have been a failure, adding to the almost 70 percent of the military deaths in Afghanistan that have come under the Obama Administration.

Like the supposed “Reset” of Relations with Russia, the Obama Administration has provided the rhetoric for change, as opposed to actually delivering on those promises. Russia and her ally China have been prominent and outspoken in opposing any strong sanctions on Iran, or any policy that allows the United States to take the lead in Iran.

Likewise, Russia and Iran have taken a heavy hand in “say-so” concerning the atrocities taking place in Syria, while the Obama Administration has satisfied itself with using the Central Intelligence Agency to fund Syrian Rebels - rebels who have torched Christian churches, suppressed their own people in ways similar to the Assad Regime and entered into cahoots with Al-Qaida.

While the President touts the Arab Spring as a success, our ally Israel has found herself surrounded by more radical neighbors in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Iran and Lebanon. Our ally Egypt has ignored our calls to tighten security on the canal and inspect Iranian ships (if not shut them out from transiting through), even electing a President who has called for a known and convicted terrorist to be released from an American prison.

More recently, the massive debacle in Benghazi, Libya has taken the spotlight. Whether you believe the administration knew of the terrorist nature of the event or not, there is no doubt that their willingness to throw American values aside in place of apologies and appeasement are extremely harmful to America’s stature abroad; and as the U.S. military faces sequestration, you can expect a continued decline in our respect militarily.

Seeking peace by preparing for war is not a pleasant ideal to swallow, but it is not new ideal. Peace through strength is the only true rule of law in a lawless international world of nations. I cannot agree with Obama’s approach to foreign policy, especially in an arena that is seemingly incompatible with a secular democracy. If we are to see true democracy spring forth from the Arab world, it must not be contrived from the outside, as it is being done today, but from within.

 

Editor's Note: Read an article explaining why Obama's foreign policies are effective here.

Read parts one and two of the series "Political Perspectives" here.



 

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Comments

Jeff (not verified) on October 23, 2012 10:44 AM

"the Obama Administration has satisfied itself with using the Central Intelligence Agency to fund Syrian Rebels - rebels who have torched Christian churches, suppressed their own people in ways similar to the Assad Regime and entered into cahoots with Al-Qaida."
and yet Romney last night said he wanted to give heavy arms to rebels, though he failed to mention how he would prevent this same result. It seems that when Obama arms a group he is being irresponsible and when he does not he 'leads from behind'

Anonymous (not verified) on October 17, 2012 10:37 PM

"One beautiful attribute of the relations between nations is the freedom each nation has to seek out its own will." WHAT? I know you're versed in political theory because you mention Democratic Peace Theory - so I'm surprised to hear you say that - do 2-level games mean nothing?

"defensive sphere of influence (the Monroe Doctrine) and deterrence (in fear of the Domino Theory)."
Check your history - the Monroe Doctrine wasn't about Sphere of Influence - it was about colonial presence in the Americas, westward expansion and manifest destiny. Also It's containment, not deterrence.

What's wrong with "lead from behind" the difference in cost between Iraq and Libya monetarily and in human lives is a factor of 1000.

Also - you cannot expect Obama to not use information collected through torture before his presidency - that's plain silly. Your point would be valid if Obama continued to use torture to collect subsequent information leading to the death of Ben Laden. Speaking of - how is that incursion into Pakistan and all the other drone strikes in any way a strategy of appeasement?

" “Reset” of Relations with Russia, the Obama Administration has provided the rhetoric for change, " Does the START treaty mean nothing to you?

Ken (not verified) on October 18, 2012 8:33 AM

1. Sure 2-level games mean something, but are they as important AND are they consistently utilized more than acting out national free-will? No. Nothing says you HAVE to negotiate.

2. The Monroe Doctrine keeps out the European Nations from Latin America correct? And did we not have influence in LA? Therefore, it was about protecting OUR OWN sphere of influence as much as it was about containing theirs.

3. Measuring lives lost in Libya and Iraq is a moot point - it is obvious to know where that is headed... problem here is I am not trying to compare Obama and Bush's policies head to head; Libya is just another "bump in the road" in Obama's FP.

4. Has Obama continued to use it or not? Just because we are not sure he has doesn't mean he has not. Point is, the intel gained from the Bin Laden raid was from Guantanamo and those tactics... 2 things that we are "not supposed to have" under Obama. UBL would be alive today. I never called the UBL raid appeasement... you did.

5. START Treaty means nothing - as far as I am concerned under Obama; it has been going on (in its first installment) since 1992. Yet another idea/strategy that was not initiated under Obama.

5.