All posts in Foreign Policy

Weren’t those Nazi death camps Mr. President?

Barack Obama is no ordinary individual.  He lives, breathes, thinks and speaks on a higher–no, scratch that–on an entirely different, superior plane.

Therefore, it is news when the Chosen One, the One We’ve Been Waiting For, opens his mouth and uses words like “harness” when talking of the American people.

Similarly, the President should be held accountable when he calls Auschwitz a “Polish death camp.”  And he should understand that when he casually ascribes ownership of the last century’s most horrifying crime to the Poles that they would be outraged and demand an apology.

However my guess is the president isn’t nearly so quick to apologize when he’s not apologizing for all of us Americans.  Maybe in a bit of a turnabout the Poles will accept our apology for Barack Obama.

Ridiculous empty threat of the week: Kofi Annan must have attended the Obama School of Foreign Policy

“I intend to have serious and frank discussions with President Bashar Al-Assad,” Annan said. “Our goal is to stop this suffering.”

This is the head of the UN after a bloody massacre in Syria that left over a hundred dead, including rows of mangled children.

After this horrifying murder the next most appalling event is the timidity and sheer vacuity of such pronouncements.

The truth is Assad has as much to fear from the coming “serious and frank discussions” as did Saddam Hussein before GW put a bead on his tail.

I’m not advocating Iraq II in Syria. Knowing what we know today I remain unconvinced that invading Iraq in 2003 was wise (but it was a close enough call that I got behind it and wanted to finish the job). But here we are with the criminal Assad as head of a terror-supporting state.

Enough with the posturing. Assad can either act with impunity or he will not be permitted to. Let’s make a call and go with it with some conviction.

Team Obama takes comfort that polls look a lot like 2004. Mr. President, this ain’t 2004

Eight years have passed since the election season of 2004.  Most significantly and off the cuff, in the early days of 2004 we were still closer to the initial Iraq invasion than we were to the surge.  We hadn’t yet sunk deeply into the mire of IEDs, suicide bombs, mass casualties or the full ripening of the anti-American vitriol that spewed from all those entertainment and media cowards who just the year before had been as jingoistic as any Colonel Blimp.  In short, 2012 is not 2004, and if Team Obama is taking solace in the recent polls based on the events of 2004, they are in for a rude awakening.

If Obama’s supporters are pinning their hopes for reelection on a replay of 2004, they are setting themselves up for some big disappointment. Here are just some of the big differences between ’04 and ’12:

’04 was a foreign policy election: According to Gallup, the war in Iraq was by far the most important issue to voters in the 2004 election. The exact opposite is true today. Switching out your Commander in Chief in the middle of a war is just a different question than replacing a president whose economic policies are failing.

’02 was not a mirror image of ’10: President Bush’s party gained ground in the ’02 election. Obama’s lost ’10 in a landslide. The defeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., in the Democratic primary, the rise of the netroots and their preferred candidates, Sens., Jim Webb, D-Vir., Jon Tester, D-Mont., all happened in 2006, two years after Bush was reelected. The Tea Party rose and got organized much faster. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, lost his primary in 2010. The Tea Party has already sent Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to Congress. The base of the Republican party is simply far more organized and united now than Democrats were in ’04.

Economic growth: At the core of almost every presidential election model is economic growth. In 2004, the U.S. economy grew by 3.5 percent. According to the CBO, the U.S. economy is projected to grow by just 2 percent this year.

Obama is simply in far, far worse shape today than Bush was in 2004.

Europe is driving full tilt, foot on the pedal, into a brick wall (and we’re right behind them)

Boris Johnson is the mayor of London.  He begins his recent op-ed with the following:

I see the G8 has a brilliant solution to the problems of the eurozone. President Obama says it’s time for “growth and jobs”. Jolly good. That’s the stuff. Let me show you how to create employment – the Brussels way.

Come with me through the streets of Athens, not far from Syntagma Square, and your mind will reel with the horrified realisation that history is not a one-way ratchet, that human progress is not guaranteed, and that a proud country can be reduced – by years of torture and bullying – to a state verging on total political, economic and moral collapse.

You will see businesses boarded up and windows smashed because no one has the money or the energy to fix them, and on almost every wall a riot of graffiti full of poisonous hatred for politicians. You will see people sitting on cardboard, heads down, hands out, or pushing trolleys full of scrap metal.

Not far from the town hall, I saw a man using the pavement as an operating theatre to eviscerate a mattress for its springs. In the eyes of every politician there is a glassy humiliation, a sense that the fate of the nation is no longer in their hands. Even worse than the humiliation is the dread that things will deteriorate further still. Thousands are now being fed by soup kitchens.

Unemployment is rising by the day, and among young people it now stands at a shameful 54 per cent. Yup, folks – those are the results of an EU plan to produce “growth and jobs”. It was called the euro, and it has been a catastrophe for Greece and pretty bad (with one notable exception) for the rest of the continent…

The euro has turned out to be a doomsday machine, a destroyer of jobs, a killer of growth, because it entrenches and exacerbates the fundamental and historic inability of some countries to compete with Germany in making high-quality goods with low-unit labour costs. Unable to devalue their way back into the game, these countries are forced to watch industry wilt under German imports, as the euro serves as a giant trebuchet to fire swish German saloon cars and machine tools across the rest of Europe.

While current polls (reminder we’re only in May) show Obama and Romney running close–and on the economy Obama even has a slight edge–I tend to believe that as we approach November Romney will begin to pull away from Obama, at least on the issue of managing the economy.  For one, the more I listen to Obama talk about the economy, and in particular his uninformed and vapid attacks on Romney and Bain, the more obvious it is that he hasn’t got the foggiest idea what he is talking about.  I am reminded of the fact that he has NEVER IN HIS LIFE worked in a for-profit, job-creating environment.  That is a truly remarkable fact.  He might have picked up some catchphrases here and there from boy wonder Geithner (who also apparently NEVER IN HIS LIFE worked in the private sector) or Larry “boys are smarter than girls” Summers or maybe even a gem or two from Warren Buffett over a Coke.  But I’m telling you our community organizer-cum-president is the worst kind of pedant.  For all his knowledge he actually knows very very little about anything, especially the economy or business, which, oddly enough, is the mechanism by which a job is created.  I know this sounds ridiculously basic but you should stop and ponder that.  The man knows absolutely nothing about business, how it runs, how it succeeds in generating jobs, how it survives.  Nothing.  The only thing I can see is that the president picked up some ideas a long time ago that after several campaigns (of course, his entire adult life has been a campaign of sorts) and years making a living off the involuntary donations of others who actually work in the private business sector have calcified and become part of his schtick.  He’s smart enough to go on a tangent here and there and concede, academically, that businesses must be operated efficiently and profitably, but in his heart he doesn’t understand why and he really doesn’t agree with it.

I look forward to a debate where Obama tries to accuse Romney of being a vampire for daring to run his company for the purpose of making a profit!

Of course the president will be going for the guts of Americans, not their heads.  And he will rely on the fact that most Americans don’t understand any more about how profit and loss statements work (or their connection to job creation) than he does.  I’m sure he’s also counting on that Romney will be unable to explain or defend even the simplest economic business model that proves the need for non-government-subsidized profit in order for companies to succeed and for jobs to survive and grow.

But I think Romney will be up to the task.

As far as Obama chiding Europe on jobs and growth have you ever heard anything so hollow?  To state the obvious, not only is our picture pretty bleak over here, but Obama’s Krugmanesque borrow-and-spend prescription is precisely the model that landed southern Europe in the soup it’s in today.

I’ve got an idea! Let’s give the Chinese direct access to our bank accounts

This is a lot like letting customers play the slots with their credit cards.

Great idea, Timmy!  I bet Alexander Hamilton wouldn’t have thought of this.

President Obama seeks commitments to a project he’s not committed to

I can hear him now, like Mr. Yunioshi, proclaiming his finely nuanced idea of commitment to the region.

The fact is that Afghanistan is toast the moment we walk out that door, and walk out Obama plans to do.  The notion of securing commitments in this environment borders on the hysterical.

Obama, who is seeking re-election in November, is focused on wrapping up a war that Americans have grown weary of after more than a decade…

The administration is urging financially pressed European governments and their war-weary citizens to back Afghanistan’s security over the next decade. The U.S. wants allies, many of which are cutting budgets, to help cover the $4.1 billion a year needed to finance Afghan security forces after 2014.

I don’t know what kind of president Romney would make.  But Obama’s single minded focus on the November election should not cause us to lose ours.

Falklands? Iran? Israel? Syria? Honduras? Meh

All told, Obama’s actions are succeeding in his one goal: to push all the decisions Americans care about past Election Day. In that, and only in that, is his mastery of foreign policy evident.

From Losing the World to Win Reelection. American Spectator

Krugman is calling for apocalypse now (in Europe)

While I won’t go so far as to say I agree with Krugman’s latest piece (that was austerity?), I do agree with him that monetary union without political union is a recipe for disaster.  His prescription of more spending to solve the problem is preposterous, but at least we share some common ground on the main underlying problem.

The disconnect in Greece reminds me of Argentina in the 90s.  Then you had a half-hearted move away from a centrally planned economy towards freer markets.  However, the Argentines failed to rein in government spending; corruption continued to run rampant; and labor never loosened its grip on power.  They pursued the irreconcilable goals of full employment, maximum benefits, dollar parity and de minimis inflation, and a free market economy.  Ultimately the peso, and the economy, crashed and they ended up with the Kirchner tinpots.

We are watching the violent contortions of Greece’s last days in the EU.  The ending is as predictable as a romance novel.

Maybe Hollywood types aren’t all sheeple

I don’t know much about Battleship director Peter Berg except that he has a foul mouth.  But after the endless barrage of absolute tripe that comes out of the in-any-other-era-they’d-be-butlers movie types it’s refreshing to hear a little Meisner-Adler-living-truth-in-imaginary-circumstances actor chutzpah aimed back at the naked emperors.

Berg applies simple logic.  You are a 25-year-0ld male Israeli citizen.  All male Israeli citizens must serve in the military by 25.  You have not served in the military.  How did you get out of that one?

And by the way, extra kudos to Berg for spotting the issue.  Let’s call the Iranian situation for what it is.  Existential.  It’s too bad that our president doesn’t have the courage to do so.  (If you think that (A) Iran wants nuclear technology purely for power generation or (B) that Obama or Biden have improved our standing in the Middle East and increased hopes for peace in the region, then you too are smoking the popper bottle.)

The President Always Gets His Man

Thanks to PowerLine.

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Wait a second. You mean Joe Biden made that up?

Thanks to Marc Thiessen at the Washington Post, at least one of the mainstream press outlets offered some rebuttal to the ludicrous speech that Joe Biden made the other day in Atlanta.  I would strongly encourage you to read the piece.

Biden’s “America is (excuse me, “was”) the problem rant” is an all too familiar refrain from the Obama administration.  The brazenness with which he gave his speech, especially when it was filled with statements that were so patently false, is both comical and galling.

How stupid do they think we are?

NIC (Narcissist in Chief) speaks on the military that serves him

It’s not just Democrats fighting for Obama.  It’s our military.  In his own words:

[O]ver the course of several years, as I talk to friends and family and neighbors; when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed, monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailers who are out there fighting on my behalf, and yet feel constrained, even though “don’t ask, don’t tell” was gone, because they’re not able to commit themselves in a marriage; at a certain point I’ve just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

From Andrew C. McCarthy and The Corner.