Obama’s foreign policy time warp

The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl notes that Obama’s foreign policy is in crucial respects stuck in the 1980′s, when Obama was a Columbia undergraduate faithfully peddling the Soviet Union’s line on the nuclear freeze (my words, not Diehl’s). Diehl argues that Obama is stuck in a time warp with respect to his focus on Russian nuclear arms and his approach to the Arab conflict with Israel.
Earlier this year I took a long look at Obama’s undergraduate thoughts on the Soviet Union in “A look back at Obama’s useful idiocy.” My look back was consistent with Diehl’s placement of Obama’s foreign policy thinking in the 1980′s. As a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, however, Obama pronounced a disarmament credo of a somewhat older vintage:

I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems…
…I will not weaponize space…
…I will slow development of future combat systems…
…and I will institute an independent “Defense Priorities Board” to ensure the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending…
…I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons…
…and to seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons…
…I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material…
…and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert…
…and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals…

Diehl to the contrary notwithstanding, It’s a kind of McGovernite credo that situates Obama in the 1970′s, if not earlier, but Diehl’s point regarding Obama’s time warp is nevertheless a good one.
What about Obama’s opposition to “unproven missile defense systems”? I interpreted that formulation to be redundant. In Obama’s mind, all “missile defense systems” seemed to be “unproven.” Obama’s verbiage recalled the Democratic opposition to Ronald Reagan’s missile defense program, derided by the deep thinkers of the time as Star Wars. On this point Obama’s thinking was stuck in the 1980′s, consistent with the thesis of Diehl’s column. Is it still?
Obama’s opposition to “unproven missile defense systems” included the one the United States had committed to install in Poland, a commitment which Obama abrogated to please the Russians. What about the missile defense system NATO leaders agreed to last week? Has that one been “proven”? Someone who covers the Obama administration for a living really ought to ask him about it.
Via RealClearPolitics.

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