Our View: Obama’s Feckless Foreign Policy

October 1, 2013
Mr. Obama’s amateurish and feckless foreign policy decisions are causes for serious concern.

Mr. Obama’s amateurish and feckless foreign policy decisions are cause for serious concern

Over the past few weeks, Americans have had a front row seat to the indecision that defines President Obama’s foreign policy. The Obama Doctrine — if you can call such an inconsistent approach to international relations a “doctrine” — has weakened America’s position and moral authority, while empowering dictators, rogue regimes, and terrorists. 

Indeed, it is hard to point to a single foreign policy success that this administration has achieved – something that seems unlikely to change anytime soon.

Mr. Obama’s amateurish and feckless decisions with regards to the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, an embarrassing kowtow to Russia, and a new-found respect for state-sponsor of terrorism Iran, are causes for serious concern.

Obama’s failure to make a decision about U.S. involvement in the Syrian crisis from the outset only strengthened President Bashar al-Assad’s standing in the country. It also helped to ensure that radical jihadists would infiltrate opposition groups, creating a new foothold for those groups in the region.

Further, President Obama’s failure to enforce his own “red line” on the use of chemical weapons didn’t just send a dangerous message to Mr. Assad, it also clear signal to other dictators and rogue regimes that when push comes to shove, America doesn’t have the stomach to back up its words with action.

If Mr. Obama had no intention of enforcing that red line, he should never have such bold statements last summer.  Indeed saying nothing at all would have been a more prudent course of action.

In a recent Economist/YouGov poll, 49% of Americans said Russian President Vladimir Putin was the most effective leader during the Syrian chemical weapons crisis. Only 25% said Obama was the most effective – a clear commentary on what Mr. Obama’s inexperienced and indecisive “post-American” foreign policy has done to America’s global image.

But this isn’t the only recent example of Obama’s weakness on the world stage.

Last Friday, President Obama and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani spoke by phone, the highest level of contact between America and the terrorist state since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Obama seems to believe Rouhani will act differently than his predecessors, and ignore the will of the Supreme Leader in Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei. Mr. Obama may believe that this perceived overture from Iran signifies the beginning of some promising new round of negotiations with the Islamic regime, but most clear-eyed observers – us included – see this two-step for what it really is:  An attempt by the Mullahs to distract the West, and give the regime more time to develop their nuclear weapons program.

America has a long tradition of global leadership, but that tradition is being jeopardized by President Obama’s insistence on a foreign policy that seems to confuse activity with accomplishment.  And that could have dire consequences for both the U.S. and the world.

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