The Shortcomings of Obama’s Foreign Policy

 

ObamaPodiumAs refugees from the Middle East continue to pour into Europe, it’s worth taking a moment to remember that this is all a predictable consequence of President Obama’s foreign policy (or lack thereof). As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas:

Though few predicted the rapidity with which the situation would degenerate, it was easy to see that some disaster would soon strike. Why? Because the President does not believe in Pax Americana, the foreign policy approach that states that world peace can only be obtained if the United States is prepared to use force to crush—not just degrade—those that pose a threat to the lives of millions of people across the globe. Make the United States a bystander, and evil nations will wreak havoc on the international scene.

It does not really matter how or why the President came to think that he could secure world peace on the cheap. But the key point is that whenever he is faced with major foreign policy problems, his first move is to take a pot shot at the United States in particular and Western civilization in general. It was not just a verbal slip, but a planned speech, when the President at the National Prayer Meeting breakfast in February 2015 uttered this flip but fatal remark: “Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

Let us give the President the benefit of the doubt and assume that everything he said about the Crusades and Inquisition were spot on. He still forgot that there is a time and a place for presidential candor, and that was not it. The one-sentence mention of the Crusades was especially galling because it conveys the message that the Islamic State is on par with Western civilization. His short statement signaled to oppressed people everywhere that the United States will not get off its high horse to help them where they need it most: in their homes, schools, and markets. How could that disinterested attitude not embolden our enemies and demoralize our friends?

Moral relativism is a poor substitute for presidential leadership. The entire matter would have taken on a very different tone if the President had used his platform to deliver a decidedly different message about the Crusades and the Inquisition: One of the great capacities in Western civilization is to learn from its mistakes so that the errors, and there were many, are corrected. But there is no such impulse among the terrorists of ISIS, whose fierce fundamentalism snuff out the civil society, so prized in the West, that makes moral self-correction possible. Against people like this, persuasion is of no value, so force must be used. Obama’s ill-chosen words contained no ringing endorsement of the moral chasm that separates us from our opponents.

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  1. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    “The Shortcomings of Obama’s Foreign Policy” could be a multi-volume series to rival a set of encyclopedias.

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  2. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Took the words right out of my mouth, Drew. The only thing longer would be the tax code.

    • #2
  3. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    PHCheese:Took the words right out of my mouth, Drew. The only thing longer would be the tax code.

    But at least the tax code would be more understandable.

    • #3
  4. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Richard, I doubt that Obama thinks of what has happened as a bad thing. This is not a man capable of second thoughts.

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  5. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Crusades lasted for about 174 years, in an attempt to regain the Holy Lands including Jerusalem. Unknown is the number of deaths. The Inquisition lasted for abut 585 years, and total number of victims or resulting deaths from the trials have been estimated less than 2,000. Mohamed slaughtered the first tribe of 900 Jews in 627, for their refusal to acknowledge he was a prophet. Because, according to Islamic writings, “Their Torah had the criteria for a prophet, and Mohamed didn’t meet it.” They have slaughtered their way through history to this very day, almost 1400 years of trying to eradicate the Jews, and now Christians or any other religion or ideology that doesn’t agree with theirs.

    http://www.brotherpete.com/index.php?topic=2081.0

    “they have the Torah which has the criteria for any prophet”

    “But no matter how hard Mohammed tried to convince them that he is a prophet he just couldn’t. Once he even barged into a Jewish Synagogue in Yathrib (Al-Madina Al-Munawwarah) and said that if only twelve Jews would believe in him then Allah would spare them his wrath [Musnad Ahmad – 23464].”

    That POS that is currently called POTUS is an ignoramus.

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  6. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    I’m as uncomfortable with Richard Epstein’s position that the Crusades were a mistake to learn from as I am with Obama comparing those Christians to ISIS today.

    We were fighting the same Islamist radicals then as we are today.

    • #6
  7. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Tommy De Seno:I’m as uncomfortable with Richard Epstein’s position that the Crusades were a mistake to learn from as I am with Obama comparing those Christians to ISIS today.

    We were fighting the same Islamist radicals then as we are today.

    One tends to forget that, before the Crusades, the Muslims were raiding Italy and enslaving those whom they captured.

    • #7
  8. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    Oddly, the Muslims had engaged in their own “Crusade” sweeping across through Italy and controlling and subjucating populations, including Spain.

    The Muslims were firmly encamped over vast áreas for some 300 yrs prior to the  “Christian Crusades”.

    Anyone with a fluent understanding of history will find that comparing Christian  actions relative to to the events of that time  and drawing the conclusión that Muslims and Christians were “Equal” need to move past Bumper Sticker Thinking – One that Obama seems to Excel at. Sadly it sells.

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I wish Obama was right, because wars and police actions have a way of generating more authority and control for the national government.  Also, power tends to corrupt, and that includes the power to impose peace and good behavior.

    Unfortunately, Obama’s wish to disengage the U.S. from police actions abroad isn’t motivated by a desire to keep our government small and limited.

    • #9
  10. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    Paul A. Rahe:Richard, I doubt that Obama thinks of what has happened as a bad thing. This is not a man capable of second thoughts.

    On second thought, maybe those jobs weren’t shovel ready. Neither was his foreign policy, but he can just blame Bush.

    His foreign policy is an example of things can be made worse. I think his Presidency should be an example of David Stove’s “The Columbus Argument”, where the inexperienced can tackle complex systems and there is nothing to lose by trying something different.  As he says, there are more ways to make a tv worse than better, especially when you know nothing about electronics.

    • #10
  11. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Reminds me of this: “It was my understanding that there would be no… foreign policy”.

    • #11
  12. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    Tommy De Seno:I’m as uncomfortable with Richard Epstein’s position that the Crusades were a mistake to learn from as I am with Obama comparing those Christians to ISIS today.

    We were fighting the same Islamist radicals then as we are today.

    It had elements of Keystone cops with many players worried more about each other than Islam.  We weren’t up to it at the time and it failed.   We weren’t even nation states yet.  What we should have learned is avoid that part of the world until ready to occupy, crush,convert and stay.   Are we there yet?

    • #12

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