President Obama has exchanged Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” for “victory through weakness” and he has transformed Theodore Roosevelt’s “Talk softly and carry a big stick” into “Talk boldly and give away your stick.”
America’s blood and treasure have been squandered by a president who seemingly values neither. As a consequence, the threat from Islamic jihadists has never been greater and America’s prestige in the world has never been lower.
Nevertheless, as Iraq was crumbling, Obama claimed: “The world is less violent than it has ever been. It is healthier than it has ever been. It is more tolerant than it has ever been. It is better fed then it’s ever been. It is more educated than it’s ever been.”
In Obama’s world, America is stronger when it is weaker and the world is safer when America is disengaged.
Power Vacuum Endangers America and the World
Obama campaigned on ending two wars and he has been dedicated to achieving that goal, regardless of real world consequences. He foolishly insists upon proclaiming timetables for withdrawal based upon political criteria and not military exigencies. As Brit Hume put it, the Obama administration “believes leaving is winning.”[i]
In his rush to exit Iraq and Afghanistan in order to create is legacy as the president who ended two wars, Obama has forfeited the fight and is giving as spoil all of the gains made in the war on terror – a war he contends is already over.
Author Charles Krauthammer noted: “What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that American inaction creates a vacuum. His evacuation from Iraq consigned that country to Iranian hegemony, just as Obama’s writing off Syria invited in Russia, Iran and Hezbollah to reverse the tide of battle.”
Every time America retreats from the world stage, the good that America could do diminishes and the evil which could be thwarted advances.
A New York Daily News editorial[ii] explained in stark terms the result of Obama’s policy of disengagement: “The world is reaping what Obama helped sow.”
It continued, “But he left no residual force to combat terrorism, having failed to reach a troop agreement with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In our absence, ISIS grew quickly into a malignant force.”
Also: “When civil war broke out across the border in Syria, Obama proved impotent.”
“Overeager to leave Iraq, gun-shy about intervening in Syria and insufficiently vigilant about the rising threat of ISIS, the President opened the way to an Islamist force of unprecedented power.”
“The toll wreaked by his disengagement from the world and retreat from the use of American influence is severe. While ISIS expands its reach with summary executions possibly running into the thousands, Obama is left to offload onto Maliki all responsibility for the chaos that’s happened and all that’s to come. That’s the easy way for Obama to escape admitting that he blew it.”
Who’s to Blame?
Craig Crawford is typical of those defending Obama. But his argument actually indicts his conclusion. Crawford said, “Obama has disowned Iraq. … He’s not the face of that.”[iii] Oh, but he is. His precipitous and complete withdrawal precipitated the chaos which ensued.
It is precisely because Obama disowned Iraq that Obama owns it. Obama forfeited the peace which his predecessor had won. America’s absence from the arena gave free reign to terrorists to wreak havoc to their hearts’ content.
Richard Cohen, hardly a neo-conservative, recently noted the obvious.[iv] Cohen asked, “Whose fault is the current debacle in Iraq? … The one person who is not at fault, we are told over and over again, is the current President of the United States.”
Cohen added, “Other than avoiding war, it’s hard to know what Obama wants.”
Cohen’s conclusion? “He now must deal with a region that is so much worse than anyone imagined. Where does the fault lie? Where it always has – where the buck stops.”
Photo: 1) Daniel Borchers; 2) The Clarion Project.
[i] Brit Hume, Kelly File, FNC, 6/17/14.
[ii] Editorial, “What Obama Wrought,” New York Daily News, 6/17/14, http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/obama-wrought-article-1.1832083.
[iii] Craig Crawford, Media Buzz, FNC, 6/22/14
[iv] Richard Cohen, “Obama and the wages of inaction,” New York Daily News, 6/17/14, http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/obama-wages-inaction-article-1.1831994.