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Obama’s Performance At West Point
Townhall.com ^ | June 5, 2014 | Cliff May

Posted on 06/05/2014 2:40:12 PM PDT by Kaslin

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised to bring us together and, on foreign policy, he may be making belated progress. Last week, he gave the commencement address at West Point, turning an occasion to congratulate the cadets for their hard work and thank them for their future service into an opportunity to congratulate and thank himself. The news here is not that his remarks brought criticism from his usual critics, but that this time even many knee-jerk cheerleaders could not get their joints jumping.

The first sentence of the lead news story on Page One of The New York Times on Thursday: “President Obama tried once more to articulate his vision of the American role in the world.” Tried? Once more?

In the past, the story added, Mr. Obama has “taken pains to note” that the terrorist threat “could be dealt with ‘smartly and proportionately.’” (More precisely: Two years ago, top White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan called al Qaeda a “shadow of its former self,” while administration allies proclaimed the organization “defeated.”) At the U.S. Military Academy, however, the president acknowledged that “the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remains terrorism.” Those of us who have been saying that all along received no shout-outs.

And now the president has given additional ammunition to America’s enemies by releasing from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, five hardened terrorist leaders in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Yes, it is a good thing when an American soldier is freed from his captors, but is the Taliban justified in celebrating this as their victory and our defeat? What’s the chance that these terrorists will soon be back on the battlefield? If it’s true that Sgt. Bergdahl went AWOL or even deserted, did his parents deserve the president’s embrace in the Rose Garden? These and many other questions should be answered in the days ahead. Serious journalists will demand that.

Moving from the front page to the editorial page, The Times pointed out that Mr. Obama’s speech had been “heralded” as a “big moment, when he would lay out his foreign-policy vision for the remainder of his term and refute his critics.” In the event, the “address was largely uninspiring, lacked strategic sweep and is unlikely to quiet his detractors on the right or left.”

CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto also thought the speech “fell short of its target.” Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said it failed to “articulate a rationale for what we should be doing.” The editors at Bloomberg predicted the address was “unlikely to tamp down criticism of his conduct of foreign policy as weak, indecisive and unconvincing. Most troubling is the mushiness of the initiatives he proposes.”

The Washington Post, not a reflexive Obama supporter, was nonetheless unusually scathing. The president, it opined, had “marshaled a virtual corps of straw men,” while expanding on a doctrine that “places Mr. Obama at odds with every U.S. president since World War II. In effect, he ruled out interventions to stop genocide or reverse aggression absent a direct threat to the U.S. homeland or a multilateral initiative.” This doctrine, noted The Post, rules out Mr. Obama’s own proposal to punish Syria for using chemical weapons, but “not the war in Iraq, which was a multilateral campaign.”

The speech was rife with such muddles. For example, regarding negotiations over Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, the president said the “odds of success are still long,” adding that there is a “very real chance of achieving a breakthrough agreement.” Mathematically, can “long odds” ever offer a “very real chance”?

He went on to say that such an agreement would be “more effective and durable than what we could have achieved through the use of force.” No evidence was provided in support of that claim, but more to the point: Few, if any, members of Congress have advocated the use of force. What a strong bipartisan majority has favored is credibly warning Iran’s rulers that they will be hit with sanctions tough enough to collapse their economy if they continue to violate international law and refuse compromise.

The president has chosen instead to substantially relieve the economic pressure on Iran. The fear now is that a final deal will be signed, and it will be a bad deal spun as a good deal, one that leaves the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism — as ranked by the U.S. government — with a nuclear-weapons capability.

How did Mr. Obama, a smart man and a talented politician, end up in this conceptual cul-de-sac? Part of the explanation, I think, is that he came to the White House eager to test theories advocated by opponents of the foreign-policy doctrines developed by Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and others labeled as conservatives and neoconservatives.

That meant attempting to “engage” those who have declared themselves America’s enemies, notably Iran’s rulers; seeking strategic partnerships with adversaries, in particular Russian President Vladimir Putin; assuming that drones alone could defeat Islamist terrorists in a new age characterized by a “receding tide of war”; and imagining that the United Nations was resolving conflicts and enforcing “universal norms” embraced by “the international community.”

Experiments that fail can teach as much as experiments that succeed. What’s so distressing about Mr. Obama’s West Point speech is that it demonstrates no learning — just pounds of petulance, defensiveness and narcissism. How else to interpret his dismissal of those concerned that America has gone into retreat and decline during his tenure as “either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics”?

This president — indeed all Americans — would benefit from a revitalized debate on the U.S. role in the world in the 21st century and how best to defend ourselves from those committed to our destruction. I don’t take the view that all the best minds thinking about these issues are conservatives or neo-cons. Walter Russell Mead of Bard College, Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic and Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution are among those whose ideas are worth serious consideration (as was made clear to me last month when I was privileged to moderate a discussion among them). Both Mr. Obama’s critics and supporters should at least be able to agree on that.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: bo

1 posted on 06/05/2014 2:40:12 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

the cadets were sitting on their hands and there was no applause when the queer-in-chief started his loony rant about their main job being to do something about climate change.

not one word about defending America against our enemies.

what a world class A hole.


2 posted on 06/05/2014 2:44:22 PM PDT by kingattax (a real American would rather die on his feet than live on his knees.)
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To: Kaslin

Look closely and you can still see that scar on his skull that curves from his ear to his right forehead.

I wonder if America will ever know the story behind that — it looks like a flap of skin was pealed back in a surgery.


3 posted on 06/05/2014 2:56:24 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Kaslin
It's five months until election day and the POSOTUS is tripping over his ass every time he turns around. If the Republican Party doesn't emerge from the election with a clear majority of both houses of Congress then the only solution is a total and complete change of leadership at the highest levels of the party.
4 posted on 06/05/2014 2:57:43 PM PDT by immadashell (The inmates are running the asylum.)
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To: kingattax
the queer-in-chief

Insulting queers does nothing to advance your viewpoint.

5 posted on 06/05/2014 2:59:13 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Conservatism is the political disposition of grown-ups.)
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To: BenLurkin
I wonder if America will ever know the story behind that — it looks like a flap of skin was pealed back in a surgery.

Someday we will learn plenty about him and it will not reflect well upon the judgment of the American people.

6 posted on 06/05/2014 3:00:53 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Conservatism is the political disposition of grown-ups.)
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To: Kaslin

Did they all have to sign non-disclosure agreements regarding his remarks


7 posted on 06/05/2014 3:02:31 PM PDT by Uncle Chip
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To: kingattax

It’s all about Zero, all the time. He needs a full mental exam, any qualified proctologist could do it.


8 posted on 06/05/2014 3:05:13 PM PDT by Foundahardheadedwoman (God don't have a statute of limitations)
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To: kingattax

The Current Occupant is unraveling around the edges much like Richard Nixon was in the late part of 1973 and early part of 1974. Dreadful to watch, but utterly fascinating.

How many times has “expletive deleted” been shouted out in and around the Oval Orifice in recent months? Tempers must be running very short.

Not to mention The Won has taken up chain-smoking again.


9 posted on 06/05/2014 3:06:35 PM PDT by alloysteel (Selective and willful ignorance spells doom, to both victim and perpetrator - mostly the perp.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

why are you assuming i want my viewpoint advanced ?

however i do appreciate you taking time out of your day to comment on a term that i use frequently, believing that its effectiveness comes from its accuracy.


10 posted on 06/05/2014 3:08:59 PM PDT by kingattax (a real American would rather die on his feet than live on his knees.)
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To: BenLurkin

Its where he puts his “V” mask on.


11 posted on 06/05/2014 3:10:08 PM PDT by Mouton (The insurrection laws perpetuate what we have for a government now.)
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To: Kaslin

Obama a ‘’smart man’’!?! This m’fer is too stupid to be an idiot!!


12 posted on 06/05/2014 3:14:00 PM PDT by jmacusa
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To: kingattax; Jeff Chandler

Jeff, I think king needs a new sarcasm detector. :-)

Or maybe you need to remember to put a sarcasm tag on your posts....


13 posted on 06/05/2014 3:14:50 PM PDT by justlurking (tagline removed, as demanded by Admin Moderator)
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To: justlurking

Odumbo is a disgrace to this country and should NEVER be allowed to speak to any of our military cadets, let alone anyone else, even though he carries the title of CIC.


14 posted on 06/05/2014 3:16:02 PM PDT by DaveA37
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To: Kaslin

Great article.

Unfortunately, however, thinking things through
results in nothing today.

Most people know who Kimye is, but
isn’t Ben Ghazi the president of
the Middle East or something?


15 posted on 06/05/2014 3:20:36 PM PDT by WKTimpco
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To: Kaslin

Wonder what the reception would have been if he had given this address a week later (Post Bergdahl) :)


16 posted on 06/05/2014 3:24:21 PM PDT by catfish1957 (Face it!!!! The government in DC is full of treasonous bastards)
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To: BenLurkin
I wonder if America will ever know the story behind that — it looks like a flap of skin was pealed back in a surgery.

Google the Muslim Ashura holiday.


17 posted on 06/05/2014 3:28:18 PM PDT by Paine in the Neck (Socialism consumes EVERYTHING)
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To: justlurking; Jeff Chandler

i’m sure Jeff knows i was kidding around with his post too.

having seen many posts by Jeff during my time here in FR, he didn’t need a sarc tag. :)


18 posted on 06/05/2014 3:30:49 PM PDT by kingattax (a real American would rather die on his feet than live on his knees.)
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To: BenLurkin

Shhh; don’t tell anybody, that’s where the KGB and the Chicoms planted the microchip.


19 posted on 06/05/2014 3:33:36 PM PDT by 5th MEB (Progressives in the open; --- FIRE FOR EFFECT!!)
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To: kingattax
the cadets were sitting on their hands and there was no applause when the queer-in-chief started his loony rant about their main job being to do something about climate change.

not one word about defending America against our enemies.

what a world class A hole.

Sadly it is what he believes. He's been taught that since he was knee high to an Indonesian mosquito. Ain't about to change.

20 posted on 06/05/2014 4:18:19 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: Don Corleone

youre right


21 posted on 06/05/2014 4:21:58 PM PDT by kingattax (a real American would rather die on his feet than live on his knees.)
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To: kingattax

Who IS this Kaslin dude; and what’s the reason he’s such a Obunga brown-noser?


22 posted on 06/05/2014 4:43:36 PM PDT by Tucker39 (Welcome to America! Now speak English; and keep to the right....In driving, in Faith, and in politic)
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To: Jeff Chandler
queer

He did not insult queers. Why are you getting your knickers in a twist about a simple English word? Next we won't be able to say spade or gay ... Oh, wait! well, at any rate, a queen is a queer is gay. And you are saying they are a protected class and can't be insulted? Ballocks.

23 posted on 06/05/2014 5:23:21 PM PDT by SandwicheGuy (*The butter acts as a lubricant and speeds up the CPU*ou)
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To: kingattax; Jeff Chandler

Oh FM, missed it. Apologies.


24 posted on 06/05/2014 5:28:31 PM PDT by SandwicheGuy (*The butter acts as a lubricant and speeds up the CPU*ou)
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To: alloysteel

I think Valerie Jarrett is too stupid to know just how much she’s fucked up.


25 posted on 06/05/2014 5:35:46 PM PDT by Trailerpark Badass (There should be a whole lot more going on than throwing bleach, said one woman.)
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To: BenLurkin

His lips used to be dark PURPLE, and they aren’t anymore, at least not in the middle.....a little Michael Jackson BLEACHING???


26 posted on 06/06/2014 1:02:38 AM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion.....the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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