Free Markets, Free People

Obama’s Foreign Policy Dilemma

Despite all the happy talk about hope and change concerning America’s foreign policy the reality is every nation out there has its own agenda and America still stands in the way of many of them.  In the case of our allies, their agenda usually entails seeing how much of the load they can get America carry.  And, while the hope, hype and spin claim that this is the dawn of a new era, in reality the clock is ticking:

Vladimir Putin of Russia

Vladimir Putin of Russia

The danger is that, as the novelty of the Obama administration begins to wear off the U.S. will be left with little more to show for its renewed focus on diplomacy than the Bush administration achieved.

Before that occurs, U.S. officials are hoping a willingness to engage in a way that the Bush administration never was will produce progress. Major reviews of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Iran are currently under way and are expected to produce new options for Obama within several weeks.

The options produced may be new for Obama, but will they be new for those nations at which they’re aimed? And will they address the fundamental problems in the areas they are intended or will they simply be the same policies with shiny new names? While Obama may come up with what he considers many new options, in reality the options are quite limited when it comes to some of the nations who are going to challenge him (and that will be dictated by the attitude those nations take to any new Obama initiatives).

As the Washington Times notes, his foreign affairs problems are beginning to cascade:

On Friday, Pakistan – the recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. aid – released from house arrest Abdul Qadeer Khan, the nuclear scientist who for two decades ran a black market that sold nuclear-weapons technology to U.S. adversaries including Iran and Libya.

Two days earlier, Kyrgyzstan announced that it would not renew a U.S. lease at

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran

the Manas air base, a critical transshipment point in the Afghanistan war. Meanwhile, the Russians – who offered Kyrgyzstan $2 billion in cash and loans to oust the Americans – said that they intend to establish a new base in a breakaway enclave of Georgia, the country Moscow invaded over the summer in response to a Georgian assault on another enclave.

If this were not enough, Iran last week launched a crude satellite into space, suggesting that the Islamic regime has mastered at least some of the technology for multistage, long-range missiles.

Finally, Yemen on Sunday announced that it had released 170 men arrested on suspicion of having ties to al Qaeda. Just two weeks earlier, the terrorist group called Yemen its base for the entire Arabian Peninsula.

And let’s not forget that the Obama administration has already upset India with its claim that it would involve itself in the India/Pakistani dispute over Kashmir.

A president’s primary job involves foreign policy. He is the sole architect and executor of it. But thus far, it seems more of a distraction than a focus for Obama. He has primarily concerned himself with his domestic agenda and delegated his foreign policy role to Biden – at least for the time being. But Biden isn’t the decision maker and lack of focus on foreign affairs could see the US end up, diplomatically, behind the power curve if enemies perceive him as not being fully engaged and his diplomatic effort lacking leadership.  That is a weakness they would try to exploit.

If that ends up happening, all of this happy talk will quickly go out of the window and the Obama administration could be facing the same stark choices, and options, that his predecessor faced – if he’s lucky.


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7 Responses to Obama’s Foreign Policy Dilemma

  • Wow, this is turning out just as I thought and I was thinking that I was being overly harsh.

    Worst. President. Ever

    a less capable Jimmy Carter

  • Lets hope that if Ocarter does wind up facing the same lousy choices Bush had to, he opts to respond with STRENGTH, like Bush did.

    We know he won’t.

    Think he has a new found respect for Bush now? Lots harder to govern than it is to make pretty speeches fron the sideline, ‘eh Baracky?

  • Biden appeases at Munich.

    It appears Obama’s first big foreign policy test is from his own foolish advisers.

  • I can’t believe you dense righties don’t see the goodness and glory that is Obama’s foreign policy. He’s a wise leftist, like me, and that means he automatically makes the correct decisions, even when it looks like he’s made a mistake. His inspired and visionary approach will make the world love us and it will let us enter into a new era of peace and harmony.

    The old Bush regime is gone (finally!), and we can move straight into supplication for our sins, and letting the wise Europeans guide the foreign policy of the whole world. I’m an expert on German foreign affairs, you know, and that means I can assure you that the Europeans will respond to Obama with grace and leadership.

    As long as he knows his place, of course, and I’m sure he does. He picked Hillary for Secretary of State, and everyone knows how much the Europeans liked her husband. So it’s all going to work out beautifully, you’ll see.

    I know I might seem a bit repetitious about Obama and our glorious fresh start as a nation, but I can’t resist coming here and crowing to you dense righties about how smart I was to back Obama. Good thing something new came along to crow about, since I pretty much had to stop crowing about growing violence in Iraq, due to the no-doubt temporary downturn in violence there. Unfortunately. For we wise leftists, I mean, because it just delays the inevitable resolution of that whole thing when Iran comes in and picks up the pieces. So more violence there in the short term is even better for those poor, misled Iraqis, who foolishly put there faith in the odious Bush. You’ll see. I decree it.

    Iraq is another area that I’m so, so happy that Obama’s wise hand is at the controls. Even if he does exactly what Bush was doing, it’s correct when he’s doing it, and wrong when Bush was doing it. I’m sorry you thick righties don’t have the godlike powers of political science to understand why that is, but it’s all right there in the holy writ of postmodernism that leftists are always right, and anyone that opposes them is always wrong.

    So let me come right out and say it – I just love coming here and crowing to you dense righties, especially those paid killer types who post on this site, about how the left is triumphant with Obama’s proud and Christlike visage leading us. I just love it. It makes me feel tingles in my thighs. You’ll have to excuse me. I have to go to the basement and spend some quality time with myself for a while.

  • TAO’s choice:

    Peace through strength


    Peace through trying to kiss enough ass around the world that people will leave us alone

    But give the man a chance: he hasn’t personally met with Dobby, Kim Jong-Poofy Hair, Ahmadinnahjacket, bin Laden, Hugo, or any of the other people around the world who were so outraged by Bush (snarl!) that they said and did bad things*.  Once they are in the same room with him and see the depth of his concern and caring for all people, his fervent desire to make amends for all the bad things the US did during Bush’s (snarl!) administration, and personally experience the full magnitude of Hopeychangitude first-hand, they’ll fall in line.  Peace in our time!

    O’ course, a cynic might wonder how susceptible foreign leaders with an axe to grind will be to Hopeychangitude.  After all, TAO, for all his messianic powers, can’t even convince more than a handful of Republicans to go along with him on Porkulus even though the only real difference between TAO and the GOP is that the GOP doesn’t want to waste quite as much money as he does.  Perhaps TAO will go on a barnstorming campaign trip through the Middle East or Russia or North Korea to win grass-roots support for his foreign policy!  Or, maybe Neville Chamerlain will finally get some respect by comparison.  We shall see.


    (*) “Bad”, of course, is relative.  I mean, we’ve done “bad” things to other people (such as the Crusades), so other people have  a right to do “bad” things to us.  Which, from their perspective, doesn’t make them “bad” at all, does it? / sarc

  • Your piece forgot to mention that he and the Dems have already upset Columbia (an ally). They have all but said Columbia is on the outs and Hugo is on the in.

  • Let’s simply agree to start that Obama is a stupid stupid man who thinks otherwise.