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Monday, September 15, 2014

Obama's Wartime Ideology

Link: Obama Goes To War

I had the most difficult time creating a title to this post.  I like the word "ideology", especially as it pertains to all things "Barack".  But I'm not really sure how I feel about Barack Obama. As President, he has not surprised me one bit.  When it comes to politics, I can be very pragmatic.  I believe if the country elects a man president, then he has every justification to do things as he sees appropriate.  But he must work within the confines of the Constitution.  His recent willingness to utilize "Executive Action" bothers me more than anything else he has done, because it stretches the boundaries of "working within the confines of the Constitution".  But today, I will commenting on Obama's actions as they relate to being Commander in Chief.  Which brings me back to "ideology".  I can't really discern an Obama ideology as far as war is concerned.  I am convinced that then-Senator Obama truly believed he cold govern two terms and never face the possibility of war.  He was convinced that previous wartime presidents (at least in our lifetime) could have found diplomatic solutions to using force, and his administration would prove it.  Six years of the Obama Administration have demonstrated one fact to me above all others. As a Commander in Chief, he is not up to the task.  He is an amateur with no chance of reaching the professional leagues.

No matter how nice you are to some folks, they will continue to hate your guts.  Isn't that a lesson we all learned in grade school?  Its impossible to comment on this administration's military policy without reviewing foreign policy.  Obama began his first term with what many refer to as the "apology tour".  From European capital to European capital he went, spreading the news that the United States was going to use its economic might and international standing for peaceful causes.  He was very sincere in his belief that a new page had to be turned in U.S. international relations.  As part of the effort to create a "clean slate" (coup de torchon- my favorite French phrase), he told an audience of Egyptians that United States policy in that part of the world had been misguided.  He wanted diplomats and aid workers representing the U.S. in the Near East, not soldiers.  This was the first time we were given a glimpse of Obama's worst habit: telegraphing his intentions beforehand.  No doubt ISIS (then still under the banner of AQI- Al Qaeda in Iraq) realized that Obama would be pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, lock, stock, and barrel, relatively quickly.  I assume that the North Koreans were not thinking, "finally, now we can destroy our nuclear weapons program and open our borders".  In Beijing, they congratulated themselves on this stroke of good fortune.  Who would have thought...an American President who acts in China's best interest (we haven't had one of those since Bill Clinton)!  And on it went.  President Obama expressing regret for past foreign policy "mistakes", and vowing to build new relationships built on mutual respect.  Its a nice thought, but totally inadequate in the world we face today.  The actions of a rank amateur.

Back stateside, we were confronted with the politicization of all branches of government.  Democrat activists were put in charge of the Justice Department, the I.R.S., Health and Human Services, and even the CIA, and it appeared that their marching orders were, "get Democrats elected at any cost".  As the controversies mounted, the media and the American people took their eyes off of the international stage for a split second.  And when we looked back, we saw examples all over the globe, of Obama's diplomatic "peace initiative".  During Obama's first term, the administration heralded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's negotiated arms reduction treaty with Russia.  Most experts reminded the administration that Russia NEVER follows through on these agreements, but that was a secondary concern to creating a platform from which Hillary would run for President in 2016.  Now that Russia has been unmasked as the corrupt, militarily aggressive bear it has always been under Putin, we no longer hear the Democrats talking about Hillary's arms reduction treaty (which we, invariably, will obey and the Russians, ultimately, will not).  Putin has everyone talking about Ukraine, not arms treaties.  And what about the Ukraine?  In his effort to look like the "peace president", Obama ended research and funding into the Strategic Defense Shield.  You might remember it as the "Strategic Defense Initiative".  Research and planning began under President Ronald Reagan, and the left howled that it was not feasible, a waste of money, and way too provocative.  As of 2008, it was nearly ready for deployment, and Poland was only to happy to accept it (as a member of NATO).  Can you imagine....a defense shield (similar to the Israeli "Iron Dome") that would destroy incoming rockets before they hit their targets?  This technology drove the Russians crazy, and Obama gave them a big, fat Christmas present that year.  No more SDI.  Since then, Russia has consolidated territories occupied in Georgia in 2008, and has invaded Ukraine.  Putin knows that Obama will NEVER use the U.S. military in a confrontation with Russia, and the Europeans won't act without leadership from the United States.  It might be time for citizens of Byelorus to bring out the suitcases.

The Near East is where Obama's determination to avoid military confrontation has been the most costly to U.S. interests.  The Arab Spring raged for months without any coherent policy from this administration.  Once Gaddafi was out of power and Egypt appeared to move away from the brink, the administration bounced around from group to group, appearing to have no idea who to support and who to oppose.  It was this type of confused policy that contributed to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.  And the lack of accountability, from all sides of this administration and in response to all types of screw ups, is galling.  Iraq is a separate nut altogether.  We knew that Obama would pull troops out of Iraq.  In fact, I expected a quicker departure from Afghanistan than we have seen.  Back to Iraq....the military planners provided a variety of options, including the possibility of leaving some U.S. military in place, at least until the Iraqi Army and government could establish some level of legitimacy.  I thought it was the least we could do, considering how many young Americans died for that cause. But the Obama timetable did not include leaving behind a U.S. Army and/or Air Force Base.  One issue that is difficult to dispute: if U.S. soldiers were still in the Iraqi theater, and the Iraqi Army was still being trained by the best and the brightest (U.S. soldiers), ISIS would have never established their present foothold in northern Iraq.  And what can we expect in Afghanistan?  A reversion back to Taliban authority and ultimately, a safe-haven for Al-Qaeda and all the other shit-ball terrorist groups.

Recently, as highlighted by the link I have provided, Obama has attempted to appear a bit more "hawkish".  But he continues to commit one of the cardinal sins of warfare; don't tell the enemy your intentions beforehand!  This administration, in an effort to appear more aggressive, gives the media all sorts of military details that should not be in the public arena.  And why does this administration continue to publicly announce that the U.S. will not use ground troops?  As far as ISIS is concerned, they just have to crawl back into their well-worn holes out in the desert and wait-out the latest bombing campaign.  They've done it before.  Its true that the administration will be providing arms and supplies to "someone" opposing ISIS (I'm still not 100 percent sure who).  Is this an admission on the part of the administration that Americans are "too important" to put their lives on the line in this instance? Call me old fashioned, but this is either our fight or it isn't.  If this group is a real and present danger to the United States, then it should be the U.S. military taking care of business, not "surrogates".  Hell, why don't we just pay someone to bomb these assholes as well?  Then we can be guaranteed to be taking "no risk" as far as U.S. personnel are concerned.

Its obvious that President Obama is uncomfortable with the military aspects of the job.  He wants the world to find peaceful solutions to all the various nosebleeds currently dotting the planet. And when military action is forced on him, he will take the least amount of risk possible. I'm sure a political angle exists in this picture, especially when one considers Obama's base and the upcoming mid-term elections.  But sooner or later someone is going to be forced to make a bolder decision, either Obama or his replacement.

2 comments:

  1. "Risk Aversion" isn't a valid foreign policy … it's simply a euphemism for indecision which ultimate leads to greater threats and risk.

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  2. I wouldn't say the Obama administration is necessary "risk averse" as much as "risk inept". I think, for me, it is clear the administration's team of advisers on the civilian side were very good at conduction domestic campaigns, but very poor and inexperienced at dealing with foreign issues. I think a prime example is with the handling of Benghazi. I am positive that it wasn't a conspiracy as some might wish it to be for political reasons. I believe the data is representative of an inability to properly discern credible threats that need action vs those that do not require action. I don't blame all of the failures on the administration itself. Our government is very good at reorganizing following the aftermath of a disaster (to protect itself) as opposed to properly confronting the failures. Failure to confront only results in the continuation of those failures. I believe that this inability to rectify "the process" resulted in a fog of ambivalence during the Benghazi incident. This "fog" caused the administration, and its officials, to incorrectly choose the proper course of action.

    Now, as to the issue of foreign policy: I believe the data supports the position this post is positing; i.e. that the Obama administration, and his advisers, are ill-equipped to properly address the threats that are presented to it. It's like presenting a very sick patient to an intern in the E.R. vs presenting the patient to a 20 year veteran physician of Emergency Medicine. It doesn't mean he's a terrible person that wishes to harm the U.S. (like some politicians really, really, wish was true for disgusting reasons); it just means he's not "the right man for the job".

    I hope that makes sense. lol.

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