They Say Jump and We Jump

They Say Jump and We Jump

© David Burton 2012

US Foreign Policy

     What's the report card on America's foreign policy actions under the Barack Obama administration? Let's take a look.

     “The US blocked Israel from taking part in a Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) meeting in Istanbul June 8 following the strong objection of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Globes reported.” (Ref. 1)

     So Turkey says “jump” and the United States subserviently asks “How high?” Where is the leadership in this country? Where is the will to say “Go to Hell!” Just because the Turks don’t want to sit at the same table with our supposed friend, Israel, we utter not a whimper and cave in to their demand. W could not our President, our Secretary of State and our State Department have told the Turks off? Why couldn’t they have said, “No Israel? - Then no U.S. at your conference. Go hold it without us.” But no, the Turks say “no Israel” and the U.S. says “Yes sir.”

     Besides the Turks, Israel and the U.S., who else were to be participants in the Global Counterterrorism Forum? “Among the 29 countries that are part of the GCTF this year, 10 have Arab and/or Muslim majorities.” (Ref. 1) Well, at least that makes sense. If you want to hold a conference on counterterrorism, why not have the countries that provide 99% of the world’s terrorists attend. Oh, and by the way, don’t bother to invite the country that probably has the most extensive and successful experience in combatting terrorism. When the Turks Say Jump, We Jump!

     “The United States blocked Israel's participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum's (GCTF) first meeting in Istanbul . . ., despite Israel's having one of the most extensive counterterrorism experiences in the world.” (Ref. 1)

     A US official said at the press briefing prior to the opening session that, "The GCTF sought from the outset to bridge old and deep divides in the international community between Western donor nations and Muslim majority nations. And it has, I think, done that quite effectively." (Ref. 2) The US has certainly lived up to this objective – it has once again kissed the butts of the Arab/Muslim nations in trying to make nice to them while it has one more time spit in the face of the only real democracy in the mid-east!

     Republican politicians claim that since one third of the GCTF's members are Muslim countries, the Obama administration is trying to deepen ties with the Muslim world at Israel's expense.”
     . . .
     “Pro-Israeli sources say that the Obama administration decided to ignore the fact that Turkey, which has a key role in the GCTF, opposes calling Hamas a terrorist organization, even though the State Department lists it as such.
     “In May, Turkey blocked Israel's participation in a NATO summit in Chicago and maintained that NATO–Israel relations cannot be restored until Turkey-Israel relations are normalized.” (Ref. 2)

     With the coming of the Obama administration in 2009, America’s foreign policy has become an increasingly distressing disaster!

     In terms of our diplomatic dealings with the former Soviet Union, the Obama administration “came into office determined to warm relations with Russia. It was called ‘reset,’ an antidote to the ‘dangerous drift’ (Vice President Biden’s phrase) in relations during the bush years.” (Ref. 3) It is to be noted that relations with Russia have developed a distinct coolness because of Vladimir Putin’s dismantling of Russia’s newly gained democracy; its aggression against its for Soviet Union member, Georgia; its moves to re-establish a Russian sphere of influence; and its support of viciously anti-American regimes in Iran, Syria, Venezuela and elsewhere.

     Under the Obama ‘reset” policy, the U.S. cancelled a Polish- and Czech-based missile defense system because of Russian opposition. The cancellation “deeply undercut” these two pro-American, Central European allies and indicated to them and the rest of the world that “their hard-won independence was only partial and tentative” and that “their ostensibly sovereign decisions were, {in effect} subject to Russian veto.” Since the initiation of the Obama “reset”, the “Russians are back on the warpath about missile defense. They’re denouncing the watered-down Obama substitute. They threaten not only to target any Europe-based defenses but also to install offensive {emphasis mine} missiles in Kalingrad. They threaten additionally to withdraw from the START {Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty} treaty, which the {Obama} administration had touted as a great foreign-policy achievement.” (Ref. 3)

     The results of Obama’s naïve overtures to Russia have been their thwarting us at every turn in our ineffectual attempts to reign in Iran’s nuclear program. They have blocked resolution after resolution at the U.N. and now, “when even the International Atomic Energy Commission has testified to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Russia declares that it will oppose any new sanctions.” Clearly the results of the Administration’s dealings with Russia have been underwhelming. “Such are the wages of appeasement. Makes one pine for mere ‘dangerous drift’.” (Ref. 3) The president’s attempts to gain Russian support in dealing with the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad have equally been as fruitless as his attempts to gain Russian support in reining in Iran’s development of nuclear weapons and their intercontinental delivery systems.

     If the Obama administration’s dealings with Russia have produced such poor results, maybe the Administration’s foreign policy relations with Iran have had more positive results. Let’s see what the record shows about the Administration’s “engagement” with Iran.

     Obama “began his presidency apologetically acknowledging U.S. involvement in a coup that happened more than 50 years ago. He then offered bilateral negotiations that, predictably, failed miserably.” (Ref. 3)

     “Obama imagined that his silver tongue and exquisite sensitivity to Islam would persuade the Mullahs to give up their weapons program. Amazingly, they resisted his charms, choosing instead to become a nuclear power.” (Ref. 3)

     The products of America’s foreign policy with respect to Iran are: an ongoing nuclear development program; Iranian assistance to guerrillas killing Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq; Iranian sponsorship of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah; a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador at a Washington D.C. restaurant; a threat by a member of Iran’s parliament to shut down the Strait of Hormuz; Iran’s support of the brutal regime in Syria of Bashar Al-Assad. Clearly, the Administration’s “engagement” with Iran is failing miserably.

     President Obama has not strongly supported Israel and has been too soft on its adversaries - Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinians. That softness extends to other parts of the world. On Israel, he has had a pretty consistently weak record, and on Iran he has had a pretty consistently naïve approach.

     When it comes to Iran, Obama did not do enough to support protesters in Iran three years ago, as they battled the government; he put too much faith in international agreement on sanctions against the country to keep it from building a nuclear bomb, an effort that was set back after China and Russia refused to go along with tougher measures.

     In 2009, President Obama had the opportunity to support popular unrest in Iran. He could have lent support to the youthful revolutionaries in that country or he could have done nothing and let the forces of reaction prevail. He did nothing and the thugs of the Islamic Republic ruthlessly crushed the demonstrations and the movement of liberalization.

     The ending of American combat in Iraq is the result of actions taken by President Bush, i.e., the “surge” strategy developed by General Petreus. In removing all U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2011, there are those that point to the failure of President Obama to achieve an orderly transition and who fear that the apparent victory there may be short-lived without further American presence. They question whether the American troop withdrawal decision was the result of political calculation related to the 2012 elections or as a consequence of ineptitude in negotiations with Iraqi government.

     America’s role in deposing Hasni Mubarak in Egypt was halting, uncertain, and confusing. The ultimate outcome has yet to be determined with Muslim extremists poised to take over control of the country. America’s role in Libya was, at least, more consistent – no American combat troops and support of European and NATO efforts to get rid of Kadafi. That part has been a success. The final outcome is still unknown.

     The Obama administration’s actions during the “Arab Spring” uprising in Egypt were but another example of foreign policy ineptness. As demonstrations and opposition to the Mubarak regime mounted, the president faced had two alternatives – he could support the youthful revolutionaries and try to ride it in a direction advantageous to American interests, or he could do nothing and let the forces of reaction prevail. Unfortunately, he did both — some days urging Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave, other days reversing his position and recommending an “orderly transition.”

     The result was a foreign-policy debacle. The president alienated everybody. America’s two closest friends in the region—Israel and Saudi Arabia — were both disgusted. The Saudis were appalled at Washington’s failure to prop up Mubarak and the Israelis were dismayed by the Administration’s not knowing what to do.

     The American foreign policy “failure was not the result of bad luck. It was the predictable consequence of the Obama administration’s lack of any kind of coherent grand strategy.” (Ref. 4)

      “Israel’s national Security Council has concluded that President Barack Obama is ‘naïve’ and needs to face up to the threat presented by the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East.’ (Ref. 5)

      “The fall of {Hosni} Mubariks pro-Western government was not inevitable. Yet when the United States abandoned him and threw in its lot with the opposition, his fate was sealed. … Barack Obama jettisoned a powerful reliable ally in the Arab world.
      “This may turn into the worst diplomatic blunder since Jimmy Carter cut the Shah loose and ushered in the ayatollahs. Egypt may turn out to be much worse, with Israel suffering the consequences.” (Ref. 6)

      “Now we have the spectacle of an Egyptian nation falling under the sway of an ideology and leadership more insidious than the Arab nationalism of Gamal Nasser. The Muslim Brotherhood is poised to take over from the military junta that overthrew Hosni Mubarik, which means the country will likely be run by a leadership with a medieval anti-Western, ant-Israel, Islamic fundamentalist mentality.” (Ref. 4)

      Consider another example of 180-degree turn-arounds of U.S. Foreign policy. In December of 2011, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said “that the scheduled U.S.-Israeli missile defense drill exemplified unprecedented levels of defense cooperation between the two countries meant to back up Washington's "unshakable" commitment to Israel's security.” (Ref. 7) But only one month later, this missile defense drill was postponed, “in part to avoid aggravating mounting tensions between the international community and Iran over its disputed nuclear program.” (Ref. 7) This amounts to nothing more than a continuation of the Obama administration’s dithering and ineffective foreign policy actions towards the despotic regime in Iran.

      With respect to the recent election of a leader of the radical fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood organization to the presidency in Egypt, "what is also troubling is the lack of influence Washington will have in the outcomes in Egypt, evidence regrettably of America's increasingly shrinking visibility and sway in the region under Team Obama, especially since the Arab Spring 'bloomed'.
      "Unfortunately, our diminished clout in the historic events taking place in this critical Arab state will likely result in suboptimal outcomes for American leadership - and, worse yet, U.S. interests." (Ref. 8)


  1. US bows to Turks. Excludes Israel, The Jewish World; jns News Briefs, The Jewish Advocate, Page 2, 15 June 2012.
  2. US Ousts Israel From Counterterrorism Forum , Rachel Hirshfeld, Arutz Sheva;, 10 June 2012 {Accessed 25 June 2012}.
  3. Obama reaping the wages of appeasement, Charles Krauthammer, Boston Herald, Page 23, 16 December 2011.
  4. Wanted: A Grand Strategy for America, Niall Ferguson, Newsweek Magazine, 13 February 2011.
  5. Brotherhood Rejects treaty: The Jewish World, -jointMedia News Service/ Israel Hayom, The Jewish Advocate, Page 2, 6 January 2012.
  6. Echos of the Yom Kippur War, Tom Mountain, The Jewish Advocate, Page 9, 6 January 2012.
  7. Israel-US war games postponed amid Iran tensions, Associated Press, CBS News, Page 9, 16 January 2012.
  8. Egypt's future still uncertain, Peter Brooks, Boston Herald, Page 19, 26 June 2012.

  28 June 2012 {Article 131; Govt_30}    
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