Obama Foreign Policy

What Menendez said

Featured image Senator Robert Menendez is the ranking (Democratic) member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This morning at a committee hearing he said this to Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Under Secretary (and prospective CIA deputy director) David Cohen: “I have to be honest with you, the more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of »

Obama’s bogus Yemen success story

Featured image As John wrote earlier this evening, the government of Yemen, a significant U.S. ally in the war against Islamic extremism, is teetering on the brink of collapse. The situation is so dire that two U.S. Navy warships have moved into the area, ready to evacuate Americans from the U.S. embassy if necessary. Ships may be required for an evacuation because, in the wake of an embassy car being attacked today, »

Making sense of Obama’s counter-intuitive approach to negotiations with Iran

Featured image Last week, President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron pleaded with Congress not to pass new sanctions legislation against Iran. Such legislation, which has strong bipartisan support, could undermine ongoing negotiations, they argued. “Just hold your fire” until we complete negotiations, Obama urged. But Obama’s position seems nonsensical on its face. The sanctions legislation Congress contemplates passing does exactly what Obama instructs Congress to do. As the Washington Post’s editors »

Obama’s donation, behind closed doors

Featured image Recent developments involving the Islamic Republic of Iran can fairly be characterized as grave. Iran has announced that it has begun construction on two more nuclear plants, and the authorities have imprisoned a Washington Post journalist on mysterious charges. Iran’s actions are provocative. The gravity of the regime’s provocation is compounded by the complacent attitude of President Obama and his administration. According to the State Department, the new nuclear reactors »

Strangest Diplomatic Initiative Ever: You’ve Got a Friend!

Featured image The administration has acknowledged that it erred by not participating in a meaningful way in the giant pro-free speech demonstration in Paris, so it has tried to make amends by sending John Kerry to France. Apparently thinking that he needed reinforcements to convey a full sense of the administration’s symbolic support, Kerry brought along…James Taylor. For you youngsters, Taylor is a folk musician whom people our age listened to in »

Obama whispers “bang-bang” to terrorists

Featured image According to the Washington Post, weapons and ammunition are in such short supply at the centers where Iraqi army units receive training to fight ISIS that the trainees are yelling “bang-bang” instead of shooting. Last August, when President Obama announced that the U.S. would undertake a mostly proxy war against ISIS, I would have said that yelling “bang-bang” is the perfect metaphor for his anti-terrorism campaign. Today, whispering “bang-bang” is »

Gelb Makes Obama A Gelding

Featured image I remember as a mere callow college student when I made out that Jimmy Carter was finished: when liberals turned on him. For example, Ken Bode, then the revered moderator of “Washington Week in Review” on PBS, wrote in 1979 “It’s Over For Jimmy” in The New Republic: “The past two weeks will be remembered as the period when President Carter packed it in, put the finishing touches on a »

Why did Obama stay home?

Featured image Just about everyone has offered an opinion as to why President Obama stayed away from the Paris anti-terrorism rally and why he sent no top administration official. I have a theory which I’ll offer momentarily. Let me begin, though, by saying that I don’t think it’s a big deal that Obama didn’t go. The massive turnout of ordinary Parisians was important because their appearances were sincere. It’s heartening that such »

What Was Obama Thinking? A Plausible Answer

Featured image We wrote here about President Obama’s seemingly bizarre decision to stay away from the anti-terrorism rally in Paris, which was attended by more than a million people and led by more than 40 heads of state [or other high-ranking dignitaries]. This morning White House spokesman Josh Earnest fell on his sword, admitting to reporters that the administration erred by not attending the Paris unity march: “I think it’s fair to »

Where Was Obama? (Update: Steve Answers)

Featured image Tonight in Paris, up to three million people marched to support freedom of speech and to defy Islamic terrorism. They were led by more than 40 heads of state–along with France’s President Francois Hollande, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister David Cameron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and dozens more. But no high-ranking American official attended. Barack Obama did not join his fellow leaders. Nor did he send Joe Biden, John Kerry–whose »

A period of consequences

Featured image Watching the horrifying events in Paris this week, I have found Churchill’s great speech of November 12, 1936, coming to mind. It is one of Churchill’s prophetic speeches — I believe in the Prophet Churchill — decrying the complacency of the government in the face of the gathering storm in Germany. “So they go on in strange paradox,” Churchill asserted in Parliament of those responsible for the defense of the »

Psaki ‘psplains

Featured image At yesterday’s press briefing, State Department spokesman Jen Psaki was asked repeatedly about the 53 political dissidents Cuba seemed to have promised to release as part of the deal to normalize relations with the United States. Who are they? Where are they? Have any of them been released? Do you know? Why can’t you psay? The matter appears to be a highly classified state secret. Pressed by AP State Department »

In Kabul, it feels like the Taliban has already won

Featured image Were it not for the high probability that 2015 will be significantly worse, 2014 would long be remembered as an awful year in Afghanistan. Sufficiently awful for Pamela Constable to write that “the last time Kabul felt like this, the Taliban reigned.” Constable reports: Many winters ago, I stood in a vast, empty intersection of central Kabul. The only sounds were the jingle of passing horse carts and the ticking »

A random thought from Thomas Sowell

Featured image In his most recent column of random thoughts — all of them worthy of your consideration — Thomas Sowell offers this one: Hillary Clinton’s idea that we have to see the world from our adversaries’ point of view — and even “empathize” with it — is not new. Back in 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, “I have realized vividly how Herr Hitler feels.” Ronald Reagan, however, made sure »

Obama Is Closing Gitmo, One Terrorist At a Time

Featured image President Obama pledged to close the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, but Congress wouldn’t let him move the prisoners to the U.S. So Obama is de facto closing the facility by releasing the terrorists held there. The population is down to 127, after the administration released 28 in 2014. The release of the last five was announced on Tuesday; they will be “resettled” in Kazakhstan. The administration describes these »

Those “Unacceptable” Israelis

Featured image In furtherance of a completely different point, Foreign Policy performed a simple experiment: it used the search engine on the State Department’s web site to determine how often State has described any nation’s conduct as “unacceptable” since the onset of the Obama administration. The results were interesting and, I suppose, sadly predictable: using the State Department search engine, the top 10 countries for whom “unacceptable” was most often used in »

While Obama dithered, Iran profited

Featured image If one headline summarizes 2014, it’s the title of this post (I say so in all modesty). It is a multi-purpose headline — one that applies, at a minimum, to Iraq, Syria, and Iran itself. When it comes to Iraq, no one has stated the facts more clearly than James Jeffrey, who served under President Obama as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2010-2012. Here, via the Washington Post, is »