Obama Foreign Policy

Barack Obama: Hand-washer-in-chief

Featured image Executives are supposed to deal with or avoid problems. Barack Obama, elected U.S. president with essentially no executive experience, prefers to wash his hands of them. He washed his hands of Iraq, though now he has been forced to dirty them there again. He’s trying to wash his hands of Afghanistan. He just washed his hands of Yemen, presiding over an ignominious U.S. exit during which, reportedly, American Marines turned »

Are we better off without Obama’s anti-ISIS AUMF? Probably

Featured image President Obama will conduct the American military action against ISIS as vigorously or (more likely) as halfheartedly as he desires. This is true whether or not Congress passes a new military authorization. Why, then, does Obama seek an anti-ISIS authorization for the use of military force. For two reasons, I believe: (1) for political cover and (2) to constrain his successor. The authorization Obama seeks does not authorize “the use »

Obama’s Goldilocks Approach to Terrorism [Updated]

Featured image We have written here, here and here about President Obama’s foreign policy interview with vox.com. Obama said that the press “overstates” the concern that people should have about terrorism, as compared with, say, climate change. He likened his attitude toward terrorism to that of a big city mayor toward crime–it’s an ongoing effort to keep the rate down. And he volunteered the observation that the victims of the Paris deli »

One pillar of unwisdom revisited

Featured image Perhaps the most dispiriting element of President Obama’s Vox interview with Matthew Yglesias is Obama’s likening of terrorism to a problem of domestic law enforcement. Obama draws an analogy between terrorism and crime control. We need to keep the lid on and do our best to reduce it. But we’re not in a war where the enemy is recognized or the object is victory. Terrorism is one of those things »

Cotton on Gitmo, take 2

Featured image Senator Tom Cotton is not impressed by the argument that our detention facility at Gitmo is a recruiting tool for terrorists. Indeed, he thinks the argument is a pretext for the pursuit of Obama’s world-turned-upside-down views (as it obviously is). Senator Cotton made his point in dramatic fashion in the Senate Armed Services Committee last week as he interrogated Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon about Guantanamo »

If it bleeds it leads. . .to denial by Obama

Featured image John did a great job of ripping President Obama’s pathetic musings on terrorism, as served up to Matthew Yglesias of Vox.com. I want to focus on Obama’s claim that the media “absolutely” sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism. Obama offered no evidence to support this claim. He merely asserted it, adding that he doesn’t blame the media for following the “the famous saying. . .if »

Obama’s Airbrushed History of the Middle East

Featured image In keeping with his practice of doing only softball interviews, President Obama sat down for some questions with Matthew Yglesias of Vox.com. The questions were predictably adoring; in response, Obama explained why his foreign policies haven’t worked out the way he intended: Yglesias: … Under your administration, the country is still very involved in that region, but I don’t think we have as clear a sense of what is the »

NSS 2015

Featured image The White House has just released our National Security Strategy 2015 and posted it online here. National Security adviser Susan Rice gave a speech touting the strategy that is posted here. It’s the first update to our national security strategy in five years. Rice insists that things are getting better all the time; I think the deterioration has steadily proceeded under Obama’s leadership. Quotable quote: “[T]oo often, what’s missing here »

Obama isn’t just giving Iran the store; he’s giving it the neighborhood

Featured image The Washington Post’s editors present three major concerns with the U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations — concerns that they say need to be highlighted now, before President Obama presents the world with a fait accompli. The three concerns are: (1) that a process began with the goal of eliminating Iran’s potential to produce nuclear weapons has evolved into a plan to tolerate and temporarily restrict that capacity; (2) during the negotiations, Obama »

Barack Obama, a Moral and Historical Ignoramus

Featured image Scott wrote this morning about President Obama’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. I think Obama deserves another whack, so here goes. Much of the speech was fine. But the key passage was where he acknowledged the reality of Islamic aggression and terrorism, and then commented on it: But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon.  From »

Cotton on Gitmo: Let them rot

Featured image Senator Tom Cotton is not impressed by the argument that our detention facility at Gitmo is a recruiting tool for terrorists. Indeed, he thinks the argument is a pretext for the pursuit of Obama’s world-turned-upside-down views (as it obviously is). Senator Cotton made his point in dramatic fashion in the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning as he interrogated Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon about Guantanamo »

Backed by Obama, Iranian militias move to the forefront in Iraq

Featured image Do you remember what President Obama’s excuse was for not helping Iraq fight ISIS, in its post-jayvee incarnation, when it was winning victory after victory and marching towards Baghdad last summer? Obama didn’t want to act until Iraq formed a government more hospitable to Sunni interests. Then and only then would Sunnis align themselves with the government in the fight against ISIS, the president intoned. Iraq eventually formed a new »

Why does Obama crave a grand bargain with Iran?

Featured image Michael Ledeen notes that important commentators have come around to the view that he (and I) have long expressed — that President Obama is in thrall to Iran and that the nuclear negotiations aren’t really about curbing Iran’s nuclear capacity, but rather about striking a grand bargain with the mullahs. Michael Doran’s excellent essay in Mosaic, which was one of our Power Line “picks,” is a good example of recent »

Not Islamic either, part trois

Featured image NRO’s Brendan Bordelon reports: In the latest round of verbal gymnastics over the Taliban, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki refused to categorize the murder of American civilians at Kabul International Airport an act of “terrorism.” The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack on Friday, which killed three civilian contractors working for the U.S. government and wounded one other. The gunman was reportedly a member of Afghan security forces who turned »

Not Islamic either, part deux

Featured image When he ran for president in 2008, then-Senator Obama castigated the Bush administration for taking his eye “off the ball.” “The ball” was the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Looking back on the campaign, Obama noted: “I talked frequently during this campaign that we took our eye off the ball when we invaded Iraq. And now it’s done. My job is to withdraw in a responsible way from Iraq »

Israel: more alone than ever

Featured image President Obama’s decision, now essentially official*, to appease Iran by doing nothing to help thwart the Assad regime has dire consequences for Syria. Tens of thousands of Syrians will continue to be slaughtered, many of them by barrel bombs dropped by planes the U.S. could have stopped from flying. Samatha ( “A Problem From Hell”) Power, call your office. On second thought, don’t waste your time. Israel also faces serious »

The Kobane victory and the hard work Obama is unwilling to do

Featured image ISIS apparently has been defeated in the town of Kobane, Syria to which it laid siege months ago. The Obama administration hopes that this defeat will discourage potential recruits from joining ISIS. According to a senior State Department spokesman, the lesson for those considering enlistment is: You’re not going to be a part of something great, you’re not going to have a house, you’re not going to have a female »