Obama Foreign Policy

ISIS gains big in Iraq; Obama remains functionally indifferent

Featured image U.S. policy in Iraq is in a shambles — there can be no serious disagreement about that. Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province and a mere 70 miles from Baghdad, has been captured by ISIS. Mosul, Iran’s second largest city, remains in ISIS’s hands. As importantly, it’s now clear that military success against ISIS hinges on the use of Iranian-dominated militias, but that these forces will not be able to »

Obama’s Middle East Policy Is In a State of Collapse

Featured image You know it’s bad when even the Associated Press notices: “Rout In Ramadi Calls US Iraq Strategy Into Question.” The fall of Ramadi calls into question the Obama administration’s strategy in Iraq. Is there a Plan B? The current U.S. approach is a blend of retraining and rebuilding the Iraqi army, prodding Baghdad to reconcile with the nation’s Sunnis, and bombing Islamic State targets from the air without committing American »

Obama takes a softer tone on Israel, but why?

Featured image Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post finds that President Obama has recently adopted a softer tone towards Israel. For example, over the weekend, Nadia Bilbassy-Charters, a reporter for a Saudi-owned pan-Arab television network, asked Obama who bears responsibility for him not having reached a deal that would usher in a Palestinian state. Obama’s answer was uncharacteristically balanced. He responded that “the politics inside of Israel and the politics among the »

ISIS loses a bigwig, gains Ramadi

Featured image There are two big stories about ISIS this weekend. U.S. forces have killed an ISIS leader in Syria and ISIS has taken control of Ramadi, just 80 miles from Baghdad. The first story seems to be getting most of the press; it’s the headline story in today’s Washington Post. But the second strikes me as more significant. In my view, the most notable thing about the killing of Abu Sayyaf, »

The other side of vanity

Featured image I wrote about President Obama’s press conference following his meeting with representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council at Camp David this week in “An uncertain kazoo, cont’d” and John followed up in “Obama’s revisionist history on Syria.” The White House transcript of the entire press conference is posted here. I want to pause briefly over the question Obama took on Syria and the preface to his substantive, extremely misleading response. »

An uncertain kazoo, cont’d

Featured image President Obama concluded his so-called summit with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council at Camp David yesterday afternoon. He issued a joint statement and held a press conference (video below). Obama began his press conference with a written statement that acknowledged the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia (and made a pitch for “infrastructure,” exploiting the dead to advance the never ending Democratic pitch for increased government spending). If the catastrophic derailment »

Fig leaves falling

Featured image Certain impediments complicate Barack Obama’s selling of the arrangement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Obama seeks to camouflage the arrangement as one that deters Iran from the acquisition of nuclear weapons. In reality, the arrangement will finance and expedite the mullahs’ acquisition of nuclear weapons. John Kerry has issued ludicrous “guarantees” in connection with the arrangement. One such guarantee is categorical, but it’s not a money-back sort of a »

Who bowed down

Featured image One of President Obama’s core objectives is the humiliation of the United States. Thus his bows to the Saudi king and the Japanese emperor in the first year of his administration. Obama’s bows gave expressive form to the diminished role Obama has crafted for the United States on the world stage. Obama’s spokesmen threw in a healthy dollop of lying about it for domestic consumption thrown in for good measure. »

Saudi King blows off Obama

Featured image Saudi Arabia has announced that its new monarch, King Salman, will not attend meetings at the White House with President Obama or a summit of Arab leaders at Camp David. The king will instead send Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is the interior minister, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the defense minister. The main reason cited for the King’s abstention — the summit meeting overlaps »

In which we hope it’s not worse than nothing

Featured image Omri Ceren writes to update us on today’s Senate vote passing the Corker-Menendez bill. The vote was 98-1 in favor, but the 1 was Senator Cotton, which raises the question whether the bill is worse than nothing. Omri writes: Cloture was 93-6 with only Sen. Boxer not voting. The final vote was 98-1. Sen. Cotton was the only no. The White House and its allies have mostly given up trying »

Is Corker-Menendez worse than nothing?

Featured image National Journal reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved yesterday to end debate on the Corker-Menendez bill, shortening what he had hoped would be an open amendment process out of concern that some “poison pill” amendment votes could potentially sink it. “We’re going to move quickly,” Senator McConnell explained. National Review’s Joel Gehrke explored the procedural maneuvering: After Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) »

At the NRI Ideas Summit

Featured image Senator Tom Cotton was interviewed by John O’Sullivan at the National Review Institute 2015 Ideas Summit this past Saturday morning. NR has posted the video here. I have embedded the video below. “You seem to me to be the exact opposite of a professional politician,” O’Sullivan says by way of introduction. The interview opens with the question of Iran and the Cotton letter. To quote Bob Dylan, “the wheel’s still »

What Does Iran Have In Common With the Baltimore Rioters?

Featured image President Obama told Congress to stand down with respect to Iran, and Baltimore’s mayor reportedly directed police to stand down with regard to the looters. Which inspired the great Michael Ramirez to produce this gem, depicting Iran as a rampaging rioter and President Obama running interference–holding off, I would say, both Congress and Israel. Click to enlarge: »

Zetetic with Zarif

Featured image Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif speaks on behalf of a regime that is an avowed enemy of the United States, one whose Supreme Leader regularly chants “Death to the United States.” It is a regime with the blood of many Americans on its hands. Yet here he is on stage at New York University, in conversation with the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, and speaking with great confidence that he has »

Tom Cotton, Vindicated, Takes On Zarif

Featured image Scott wrote earlier today about Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif’s insulting speech at New York University. While generally expressing contempt for the United States, Zarif dismissed Congress’s role in any agreement the Obama administration might forge with Iran: Zarif also took several shots at the U.S. Senate, just as it debated amendments to a bill designed to slow the lifting of sanctions against Iran and give Congress an oversight role »

Zarif zeroes in

Featured image Omri Ceren writes with an update on Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif’s appearance at NYU today with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. In his remarks Zarif took an early victory lap with respect to achievement of Iran’s goals in the arrangement in process with the Obama administration. Josh Rogin reports on Zarif’s remarks for Bloomberg here. To borrow from Mark Twain, we might say that Zarif speaks with the confidence of »

Mister, we could use a man like their Supreme Leader?

Featured image I have found Iranian reports concerning the (current) so-called Joint Plan of Action with Iran as well as the arrangement in process to be more reliable than those deriving from official sources in the Obama administration. This, however, is where I draw the line: Secretary of State John Kerry told his Iranian counterpart that he wished the United States had a leader more like Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, according to »