Starting on the foreign policy side, Obama’s policies are driven by the flawed proposition that “smarter” leadership lies in building coalitions that “combine military power with strong diplomacy.” This position, he said in his State of the Union, pays concrete dividends: “In Iraq and Syria, American leadership—including our military power—is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group.”
It is all wishful thinking. Militarily, it is never enough to stop an advance if it allows the enemy to use the breathing space to entrench itself further in the places that are under occupation. Obama’s word choice of “ultimately” allows for endless equivocation and delay. The odds of putting together an effective coalition without demonstrable leadership are slim to none, for the President’s only firm commitment—not to use ground troops ever against ISIL—signals to our allies that they too can discharge their obligations by flying the occasional sortie against ISIL positions.
The President may think that it has been an accomplishment to reduce over the past six years the number of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from close to 180,000 to under 15,000. But to everyone else, the civil disorder attributable to American disengagement signals that America is not an ally to be trusted.
The President therefore grossly miscalculates when he concludes that “The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.” Unfortunately, the facts on the ground show the opposite. Right now the President is bogged down in negotiations with the Iranians over their deployment of nuclear weapons. Little visible progress has been made to date.
Originally, the President supported at most a six-month moratorium on sanctions in order to lead the Iranians to the bargaining table. Yet when faced with their stalling tactics, he has pleaded for additional time, thus backing away from his explicit promise to keep a firm deadline for making a deal and vowing to veto any legislation that tries to firm up the initial position. Congress may well intervene to keep him to his original word. Generally, this kind of interference is most unwise, but the bipartisan unhappiness on the Iran problem reveals a complete and bipartisan breakdown in trust between Congress and the President.
Another sign of foreign policy disarray was the Congressional invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the United States Congress in the middle of his own election campaign in Israel. When the President goes off track, the Congress tries the risky tactic of compensating for his errors, making it easy for everyone to second-guess its decisions.
It is also no surprise that the Russians under Putin have extended their offensive activities in the Ukraine, with a new attack on the key port of Mariupol in Eastern Ukraine. Why not, when the United States will not supply Ukraine any military weapons for self-defense? But to the President, his policy has succeeded “by opposing Russian aggression, supporting Ukraine’s democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies.” With support like ours, what are friends worth?
And that’s just the foreign policy side. You can read on for the conclusion domestically, which basically boils down to “even worse, if you can believe it.” But it needs to be borne in mind that, for America-hating socialists like our pretend pResident, “success” is defined very differently than for real Americans. And under the delusional mindset required to sustain an unswerving dedication to a failed statist collectivism that has failed every single time it’s been tried, His Royal Majesty has been very successful indeed.