Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Presidential Pettiness-Does taking swipes at predecessors make a foreign policy?
Frontpagemag ^ | 3-30-11 | Alan W. Dowd

Posted on 03/30/2011 5:49:12 AM PDT by SJackson

In the less-than-gracious way President Barack Obama compares himself to his predecessors and other mere mortals, we’ve come to expect oblique swipes at President George W. Bush. They’ve been sprinkled in Obama’s inaugural address (“we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals…our power alone cannot protect us”); in prime-time addresses (“the decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts between America and much of the world…I’ve spent this year renewing our alliances”); in his Cairo speech (“Iraq was a war of choice…there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq”); in his Ankara address (“Turkey’s democracy is your own achievement…not forced upon you by any outside power”); and now in his belated address to the nation announcing U.S. intervention in Libya. But what’s most intriguing about this address is that it took a swipe not only at Bush, but also at President Bill Clinton.

First, let’s look at what we’ve grown accustomed to, the verbal backhands at the Bush administration. Obama boasted that the Libya operation “carries with it a UN mandate and international support…If we tried to overthrow Khadafy by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground to accomplish that mission, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs and our share of the responsibility for what comes next. To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq…regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives and nearly a trillion dollars.”

We should hope that Obama is able to oust Khadafy without putting U.S. boots on the ground, but he should know that once war begins mission creep is hard to contain. Just ask the elder Bush, who wanted a clean, clear-cut finish for the Gulf War, but ended up intervening in Kurdistan, occupying Saudi Arabia and unwittingly setting the stage for what amounted to a 20-year engagement in Iraq. And while we’re being blunt, we went down a very different road in Afghanistan, and yet even with a UN mandate and responsibility spread out among some 45 countries, regime change has taken 10 years, thousands of allied and Afghan lives, and hundreds of billions in treasure—and it’s still not over.

“American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves,” Obama added, an undeniable reference to the media myth contrived about his predecessor.

In fact, at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 35 countries contributed troops. Fully 21 of the European Union’s then-25 members supported the campaign in Iraq. Seventeen NATO members deployed troops to Iraq. NATO has been training Iraq’s army for the better part of a decade now. As late as 2007, after four years of war, 20 countries still had troops in Iraq. In short, Iraq was anything but unilateral—and hardly lacking in “international support.”

In defending his decision to intervene in Libya’s civil war, Obama intoned, “The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution’s future credibility to uphold global peace and security.”

That’s almost exactly what Bush said about the UN’s fecklessness over Iraq. “The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations,” he warned in September 2002. “Iraq has answered a decade of UN demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced or cast aside without consequence?”

Yet all of that has been airbrushed out of Obama’s version of history.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, let’s take a look at Obama’s subtle attack on the Clinton administration’s foreign policy record. “In just one month,” Obama gushed, “the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre and establish a no-fly zone with our allies and partners.”

Wow. That’s almost on par with his 2008 Berlin speech, when the ever-humble Obama predicted that his election would mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”

But it wasn’t enough for Obama just to hail his achievements in Libya. To drive home the point, he needed to contrast his record with the lesser men who sat in the Oval Office before him: “To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians. It took us 31 days.”

There’s the swipe at the Clinton administration. What Obama didn’t say or doesn’t care to learn is that in Bosnia, the Europeans kept America at arms length. A leading European diplomat typified the European view in this first post-Cold War crisis by calling Bosnia “the hour of Europe.” Washington took the hint and stepped aside. It would be a fateful decision. As historian William Pfaff notes in The Wrath of Nations, “In the Bosnian crisis, the United States didn’t act, so everyone failed to act.”

In other words, an unspoken reason the Europeans were cajoling Washington to get involved in Libya was the Balkan debacle.

Obama’s goldilocks approach to the office he holds—that he has somehow struck the perfect balance that eluded his predecessors—is not only dripping with hubris, but it also conveys a kind of myopia usually reserved for college kids. As a self-described “student of history,” Obama should know that history didn’t begin on January 20, 2009.

A more appropriate, more gracious, more politically effective approach to take in announcing the Libya intervention—in addition to seeking Congressional authorization before seeking the endorsement of the Arab League and UN—would have been for Obama to concede that his administration is learning from the precedents set by earlier administrations; that his preferred method of moral suasion and apology tours was no more effective at making the world’s rogues compliant than Bush’s hard-line approach; and that the world doesn’t magically bend to America’s will because of the pleasant sounding words of a president.

Alan W. Dowd writes on defense and security issues.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com

URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/03/30/presidential-pettiness/


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; barrysepicfail; bosnia; clinton; epicfail; fail; iraq; libya; obama; obombus; presidentbush; soetoro

1 posted on 03/30/2011 5:49:16 AM PDT by SJackson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Inept, classless people have a tendency to smear others. It’s a protection thing to ward off well earned criticism that should be leveled on them. Affirmative action types have that gig down to a science. Scream victim.


2 posted on 03/30/2011 5:55:08 AM PDT by AlphaOneAlpha
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Obamugabe is so full of himself he’s overflawed...................


3 posted on 03/30/2011 5:55:23 AM PDT by Red Badger (I've posted a total of 1,698 threads and 63,835 replies, as of 03-29-2011......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Did the author just get around to noticing this? Obama has been consistently graceless and classless all along. His immense self-regard comes through in everything he does.


4 posted on 03/30/2011 5:56:04 AM PDT by rockvillem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

It is always easy to criticize someone else. To rip apart a policy bit by bit and twist things into negatives. The real sign of a LEADER (to me) is to be able to see an issue/problem and come up with a way to fix it. To learn from other’s mistakes or successes and readily learn from them. Sadly, O does not possess true leadership for this Country. IMHO


5 posted on 03/30/2011 5:58:24 AM PDT by momtothree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

What, pray tell, can one expect from a simpleton who spends millions of dollars concealing his past from the even more ignorant who voted for him?

This elevation of a true orphan minority to the office of president is eerily reminiscent of another fatherless rat’s ascendency to the White Hut. Both speak volumes about how the selection of candidates contributing to the ruination of a nation works.

The experiment of electing a negro to demonstrate our lack of bias has been a dismal failure; moreover, it has set back the gains made by minorities back fifty years.


6 posted on 03/30/2011 5:59:38 AM PDT by IbJensen (Grab your pitchforks!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

We all know Obama has a chip on his shoulder....that he believes he is specially gifted (how, we do not know)....that he does not see the United States in the same way as his predecessors (which he believes is a strength).

The man is nothing short of delusional, insane and very dangerous.


7 posted on 03/30/2011 6:02:25 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Erik Latranyi
"...that he believes he is specially gifted (how, we do not know)"

I think we do know how he considers himself specially gifted. He thinks he can influence people and events by the sheer force of his personality. Good luck with that, Hussein.

8 posted on 03/30/2011 6:07:30 AM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (How do I change my screen name now that we have the most conservative government in the world?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

I’m this close to rooting for Khadafy.


9 posted on 03/30/2011 6:08:54 AM PDT by Inwoodian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AlphaOneAlpha

The compulsion to denigrate one’s predecessors speaks of a deeply rooted inferiority complex. This trait is not surprising considering he was handed everything as an “Affirmative Action” baby and he hasn’t accomplished a thing in his life other than run for and win office using slimy, underhanded tricks.


10 posted on 03/30/2011 6:12:32 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives and nearly a trillion dollars.”

So, to save the lives of millions of Iraqi's has a time & dollar limit?

Is this POS saying we should only do what's right if the time & costs associated with it are palatable?

11 posted on 03/30/2011 6:13:05 AM PDT by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

That’s the truth — what comes out the bottom orifice of all others comes steaming and rushing out of his topmost.


12 posted on 03/30/2011 6:14:23 AM PDT by bvw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: AlphaOneAlpha
To drive home the point, he needed to contrast his record with the lesser men who sat in the Oval Office before him: “To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians. It took us 31 days.”

Taking chickens**t swipes at Bush is one thing...ridiculing the Bubbas is not very smart.

13 posted on 03/30/2011 6:31:23 AM PDT by Cuttnhorse (Obama; a skid mark on the undershorts of American history.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

bump. 587 days until we make Ogabe a future “predecessor”


14 posted on 03/30/2011 7:01:10 AM PDT by Christian4Bush (Public Service Announcement. As of 3/30/11, 587 days 'til we take out the trash. (November 6 2012))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cuttnhorse
“Taking chickens**t swipes at Bush is one thing...ridiculing the Bubbas is not very smart.”

Perhaps the Clintons will get their 2nd shot at Numb-Nuts. I'd bet money that they have loyalists who will help them depose “the one”. (lower case intentional)
This country is in crisis and danger. It should be enough to unveil Obama’s ineligibility to hold the office he stole.

15 posted on 03/30/2011 7:05:31 AM PDT by AlphaOneAlpha
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
Barry boasted that the Libya operation “carries with it a UN mandate and international support…

So did the mission in Iraq.

To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq…regime change there took eight years

No it did not you dumbazz. Regime change, ridding the country of a brutal dictator, actually only took 3 weeks. In May of 2003 L Paul Bremer became head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) for 13 months to prevent a vacuum in which the terrorists could fill, such as what is happening in Egypt today.

On July 22, 2003, the CPA formed the Iraqi Governing Council and appointed its members. Its duties included appointing representatives to the United Nations, appointing interim ministers to Iraq's vacant cabinet positions, and drafting a temporary constitution known as the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), which would be used to govern Iraq until a permanent constitution could be written and approved by the general electorate.

Sovereignty was returned to the Iraqis on 6-28-04 and power was transferred to the newly appointed Iraqi Interim Government. The CPA was disbanded and Bremer left Iraq the same day.

The Iraqis voted for the National Assembly of Iraq on January 30, 2005. The National Assembly were charged with writing the new Constitution of Iraq and to perform legislative functions until the new Constitution became law. The Constitution was adopted on October 15, 2005 in a referendum of the people. On December 15, 2005 the Iraqis once again went to the polls to elect a permanent government.

One year and nine months or 21months for “regime change” to be completed with new leadership installed.

If we are to play this game then it must be said that “regime change” in Germany has taken 70 years as we still have troops in Germany. The declared war on Japan also took 70 years and counting, as we still have troops in Japan. America’s foreign policy of the "containment" of communism led to the Korean War in 1950 and we still have troops there 61 years later. Then of course there was Vietnam…ummm…ahhh…nevermind...we let the communists have Vietnam because the communist DemonRats chose to abandon the Vietnamese.

Now the communist DemonRats, many of the same people that paved the way for the slaughter of 3 million+ Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laosians, have been trying for a replay of their successful mission by declaring Iraq a quagmire like Vietnam, demanding we bring the troops home and even forming a congressional caucus called the “Out of Iraq Caucus” which only serves to prolong the war and get more of our troops killed.

16 posted on 03/30/2011 7:25:07 AM PDT by Just A Nobody (Beware the ENEMEDIA ... Never Again! Support our Troops!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
Just watch what happens when Ghaddfi does not go. The President has spoken, Ghaddfi must go!! what if he doesn't?

On Fox News last night they had other facts. 16 countries have signed onto the Libya bombing. Clinton had 24 and Bush had 48 countries with him in Iraq.

17 posted on 03/30/2011 7:31:31 AM PDT by thirst4truth (The left elected a mouth that is unattached to an eye, brain or muscle.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

The first thing I thought of when Obama criticized Clinton was if he did such a horrible job why do you have the other half of the Clinton Power Team running the Libyan war? We all know Hillary Clinton had major input on Bill’s decisions and if they were so wrong why is Obama letting her make the decisions in this situation? Either he is clueless or just doesn’t give a damn.


18 posted on 03/30/2011 7:38:52 AM PDT by jerseyrocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Obama’s Pettiness is just more proof that he thinks like a child and acts like a child,you can’t fix inept.


19 posted on 03/30/2011 10:01:53 AM PDT by Vaduz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Inwoodian
I’m this close to rooting for Khadafy.

Feel similar, if only for him to kill every danged enemy civilian to put a jink in the fast moving machinery of ME and N African(etc)shar'ia democracy, then Khaddafi killed himself. I just want totus to suck rotten eggs. Seems the "shellacking" he took in November and since shows such incredible arrogance and lies I have NEVER ever heard nor seen in any president of the United States. He makes Jimmah Carter almost tolerable.

20 posted on 03/30/2011 12:58:41 PM PDT by Karliner (Now this is not the end. .... But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning, Churchill 1942)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: thirst4truth
Just watch what happens when Ghaddfi does not go. The President has spoken, Ghaddfi must go!! what if he doesn't?

Simple, Ghadifi listens to the President's speach, assess' America's resolve, and attacks at dawn. Thus far, he's making progress.

21 posted on 03/30/2011 4:23:09 PM PDT by SJackson (Normal people don't sit cross-legged on the floor and bang on drums, WI State Sen Glenn Grothman (R))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson