Obama’s Foreign-Policy Mess

Glenn Reynolds has a roundup of links and thoughts:

Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.

Worth noting that the Nobel Committee embarrassed itself beyond redemption as well.

[Update a while later]

More of Obama’s foreign-policy mess: Venezuela, the Syria next door. Because he never met a dictator he didn’t like.

23 thoughts on “Obama’s Foreign-Policy Mess”

  1. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him.

    For Afghanistan, the defense is that is is a war that can never be won and Obama can’t be faulted for how things went under his leadership and if anyone is to blame for Afghanistan, it’s the military that made Obama keep us there.

    1. I’ll tell you what loses wars: poorly defined or unattainable objectives.
      Heck, Sun Tzu knew that two thousand years ago.

      Obama said it himself, you got OBL, you achieved the purpose of the Afghanistan campaign. Right now there aren’t any well defined military objectives left there.
      Afghanistan needs a lot of support and the USA is just too far away for this to be economic. If it remains stable enough for another decade, perhaps some semblance of normality can be achieved there, but it will cost a lot and a large US presence actually might prove contrary to Afghanistan stability over the next decade. Given the current conjunction it is quite possible a regional power might try to worsen the US situation there to bog down US troops in order to throw away attention to moves elsewhere.

      1. Obama said it himself, you got OBL, you achieved the purpose of the Afghanistan campaign.

        Obama said many stupid things. That doesn’t magically make them true. “Getting OBL” was not “the purpose of the Afghan campaign.

        1. Indeed. With Afghanistan and Iraq under US control, and US warships patrolling in the Persian Gulf, Iran was surrounded. Which should tell you all you need to know about Obama’s strategy.

          1. Surrounded? I guess you are forgetting Iran’s borders with the former USSR. Iran also border the Caspian Sea so you can basically travel in a boat between Iran and Russia. If the objective was to get Iran “surrounded” with enemies the US did not have to do anything. Iraq was controlled by secular Saddam, the leader of Iraq at the time of the Iran-Iraq war, and Afghanistan was controlled by the Taliban with close relations to Pakistan (a Sunni nation with nukes).
            Actually, from Iran’s POV, they have more stable and secure borders now with a Shia Iraqi government and a non-Pakistan aligned government than they’ve had for decades!
            Also I never heard about the US ships in the area stopping oil shipments from Iran to China so so much for that too. Of course if the US Navy actually tried to enforce a blockade in the Persian Gulf they would soon meet Iranian Moskit missiles.

        2. Killing OBL has also punctured another trope of the left. The problem of jihadi Islamism is larger than one man or one group.

      2. Afghanistan needs a lot of support and the USA is just too far away for this to be economic.

        We don’t pillage. So all of our wars are uneconomical.

        Afghanistan, other than not having a seaport, is no great strain on America logistically, nor is the fighting which we essentially won in a month.

        What’s wrong with Afghanistan is we changed from a winning military force to a bleeding police force.

        American’s have been telling our ‘leaders’ for as long as I’ve been alive that we do not want to be the world’s police nor can we be.

        Our military’s job is to protect Americans which means we may have strategic bases in friendly countries but not to become an occupying force.

        Any attack on an American base should take almost no time to deal with. With real ‘leaders’ Benghazi would have had a completely different outcome. We were only there because Hillary and Obama had a gun running operation to our enemies.

        1. Afghanistan is logistically challenging. We can’t alienate the countries we move supplies through so that means we can’t be harder on Pakistan for supporting the Taliban.

          We had a President who claimed diplomacy could solve all of our problems but who totally sucked at diplomacy.

          Obama should have also supported his Afghan surge rather than arbitrarily cut it off at the knees.

        2. We don’t pillage. So all of our wars are uneconomical.

          There’s nothing out there which the US could invade which would cover the cost of the invasion via pillage. The US war machine is way too expensive.

      3. Obama said it himself, you got OBL, you achieved the purpose of the Afghanistan campaign.

        But Obama began withdrawing troops like he did in Iraq and things turned for the worse. Afghanistan wasn’t just about vengeance but also preventing the country from being used as a safe space for jihadis.

        Whether or not the military has clear objectives or not, I don’t know. They certainly were not being communicated to the public the last 8 years. Trump has yet to announce what he is doing.

        Obama’s micromanaging of the wars, his horrible ROE, and failure of strategic thinking got us to where we are today. Who knows whether or not Trump can turn it around but he does want to let the military do their job. The real trick in Afghanistan is dealing with the Taliban’s use of Pakistan. That requires more than military. Too bad our last President wasn’t a diplomat, we could have used one.

  2. I’ll give it to you with the “Arab Spring” revolutions. Those were the most inane shit ever. Not to mention that with the Gaddafi hit, I think besides Libya going nuts, it also made North Korea turn to a more hardline stance. You have to remember that Kim Jong-il was creating special economic zones and the like. Once Gaddafi died, after he voluntarily surrendered his nuclear program, Kim Jong-un rose to power and the moderate faction in North Korea was eliminated with all attempts of opening up the economy cancelled. Coincidence? I think not.

    I disagree with your notion that Iraq was a done deal though. I told ya it wasn’t going to be that easy. Not with all those poorly defended borders around all those countries.

    1. I think besides Libya going nuts

      Libya is pretty much what caused this horrific wave of ISIS jihad. Other Arab Spring countries too but Libya is what really set things off in terms of funding, manpower, and equipment.

      I think you are right about NK. People used to mock credibility as something that doesn’t actually exist in foreign affairs but the last 8 years under Obama and the last 6 months under Trump show that it does.

      I disagree with your notion that Iraq was a done deal though.

      AQ was pretty much driven from the country. The Sunni were happy to have security. All that was needed was a sustained diplomatic effort to keep the Iraqi government working toward good governance. Instead, Obama abandoned Iraq, so Iraq turned toward Iran. Then they turned on the Sunni and no one was there to protect them from ISIS.

  3. The decisions Obama announced to “pivot” to Asia and disengage from the Middle East made sense to me. But the colored revolutions that was a disaster.

    Obama made terrible foreign policy decisions, but had a pretty good US domestic policy overall. It’s what got him reelected. I know you do not share my opinion though…

    1. I’d like to know what you think is a good domestic policy.

      I have a friend who is tens of thousands of dollars in debt thanks to the Obamacare debacle. Care to wire some money to him?

    2. The decisions Obama announced to “pivot” to Asia and disengage from the Middle East made sense to me.

      The pivot to Asia was largely about building more ties with our friends in the region and boosting our navy. That didn’t require disengaging from the ME as it was mostly a diplomatic effort. A strong ally in Afghanistan would also have helped too.

      The pivot was more of Obama yelling, “Squirrel!”

  4. “Obama said it himself, you got OBL, you achieved the purpose of the Afghanistan campaign. ”

    Zilla – don’t forget that Obama painted himself into a corner during the 2007 campaign when he overtly characterized Afghanistan as “The Good War”.

    Then try not to forget that a little later on, he increased troop levels but then declared when they would be pulled out.

    If this isn’t stupid, imbecilic, astonishingly rotten tactics/policy I don’t know what is.

    1. It is amazing how little coverage the war in Afghanistan got with Obama as CiC. Blunder after blunder and three of his secretaries of defense wrote books critical of his leadership.

      If Bush’s, no wait, if Trump went through three secretaries of defense and each criticized him in that way, it would never not be on the news. Same is true for Bush of course but just look at the frenzy around Trump.

      Obama left our men and women to twist in the wind and the media was complicit in preventing accountability from the public.

      1. How did the anti-Americans ever get control of America? The key to understanding is Pournell’s point that the dems are still in control when by election results they shouldn’t have any power at all.

        This means elections can’t fix this.

        1. Um Ken; please don’t confuse the ability to tell stories with a loud megaphone as being in control. Republicans are taking over more and more elected positions across the country, despite the media bias, and it is because the bias is obvious.

          Will they stop? No. But then neither have you. Do I like this nonsense from them? Not in the least. But before you start banging drums that we can only win by upping the ante; just know I for disagree that we are losing, just because they, the media, claim we are losing.

  5. You know, if I could be one historical figure, I would choose Sadam Hussein. No, not because I admired him – perish the thought! And not because I have any notion of ruling less brutally than he did.

    My only interest would be in having the ability to have the funniest resume in history. Just three words. “I ran Iraq.”

    1. Depends totally on perspective. If the goal was the destruction of America, then Obama did everything right that was possible for one man to accomplish.

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