President Obama, Benghazi and Foreign Policy

October 21st, 2012

By Dan Miller

Does he have a foreign policy?

Yesterday, I posted a long article about President Obama’s foreign policies. His policies yielded abysmal responses to the situation in Benghazi — before, during and after the attack on our compound there. Among the consequences were the “not optimal” murder of our ambassador — President Obama’s own personal representative in Libya — and the related killings of three other American “bumps in the road.” Perhaps I should have dealt more directly with this question: “does President Obama even have a foreign policy?”

obama_osamaPresident Obama does have a foreign policy. It has six simple components.

(1) Take full personal credit, regardless of whether deserved, for any (rare) good thing that happens on his watch (e.g., the killing of Osama bin-Laden by a Navy Seal team as President Obama played golf);

(2) Deflect all personal blame and responsibility for each (frequent) bad thing that happens on his watch and becomes public;

(3) Hope that enough supporters won’t know or care what’s happening:

(4) Recalibrate as becomes necessary to minimize any further losses among voters who are awake;

(5) Lie Be mendacious; and

(6) Do whatever else he hopes will result in his reelection.

His are hardly good foreign policies, but they are his and we are stuck with them for as long as he remains in office. We got a whiff of them in a domestic context in 2009 when President Obama labeled Major Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood mere workplace violence and not a terrorist attack, a characterization that has not changed. During that workplace violence, thirteen American “bumps in the road” were murdered and twenty-nine others were wounded while the peaceful major shot them as he yelled “Allah Akbar.” Unfortunately, there was no obscure video on which President Obama could blame the attack; workplace violence had to suffice.

hasan_beard

Former President Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated, during a “phone interview arranged by the Obama campaign” in advance of the Obama-Romney foreign policy debate scheduled for Monday, that Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan lack President Obama’s foreign policy experience. Although President Obama had no foreign policy experience when he assumed office, his experience in mendacity and in mesmerizing voters seems to have been sufficient for his purposes. Now, he has experience in both foreign policy and mendacity, but his skills at mesmerizing voters seem to have deteriorated. The foreign policies in which he now has experience have failed us and we will learn shortly after November 6th whether we are to be stuck with them for the next four years of his increased flexibility.

In addition to her comments on the R/R ticket, Secretary Albright suggested that

the foreign policy debate today should be about such questions as, “What are the skills and knowledge and approaches necessary to deal with 21st century problems? What is America’s standing in world? How do we maximize our strengths? How do you talk to friends and allies?”

That omits at least these major points:

(1) To what extent have the foreign policies in which President Obama now has experience met with success or failure for the United States in dealing with “21st century problems,”

(2) What are the candidates’ respective conceptualizations of the situations in the Middle East, and

(3) What different policies, if any, should be implemented during the next four years.

(This article was also posted at Dan Miller’s Blog.)


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