Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

My Take On Foreign Policy’s Takedown of Obama’s Foreign Policy

Monday, September 15th, 2014

This piece in Foreign Policy has been making the rounds. It talks at length, in an inside-baseball manner, of how the Obama Administration’s feckless and incompetent behavior has damaged America’s interests around the world.

A taste:

The problem is that in seeking to sidestep the pitfalls that plagued Bush, Obama has inadvertently created his own. Yet unlike Bush, whose flaw-riddled first-term foreign policy was followed by important and not fully appreciated second-term course corrections, Obama seems steadfast in his resistance both to learning from his past errors and to managing his team so that future errors are prevented. It is hard to think of a recent president who has grown so little in office.

That’s why many in the right wing of the blogsphere have been singing its praises. And indeed, many of the criticisms leveled are devastatingly on-target. However, I have a somewhat orthogonal take on the piece, and what it’s actually trying to do.

Consider all of the foreign policy debacles either not covered by the piece at all, or else only mentioned in passing:

  • Benghazi
  • Or, for that matter, any of the embassy attacks
  • The failure to address the challenge presented by radical Islam (three mentions of terrorism, mainly critical of Bush’s handling, and one of the Islamic State)
  • The Iranian nuclear program
  • Gaza (and, in fact, Israel is only mentioned once in passing)
  • Egypt is mentioned only once in passing
  • Ukraine is only mentioned in passing.
  • Broadly speaking, two viewpoints run through the piece, each of which acts, in their own way, as exercises in blame-shifting:

  • An inside-Foggy Bottom view of the embarrassing amateur-hour actions of Obama appointees screwing everything up.
  • “It’s not Hillary’s fault!”
  • As an example of the latter, take this sentence:

    “Concentrating power in the White House increases the likelihood of groupthink, especially in second terms like this one, when many of the stronger and diverse voices in the administration have left and have not been replaced by equally strong and diverse successors.”

    Hear that, John Kerry? That’s the sound of Hillary shoving a shiv right between your ribs.

    The groundwork for most (if not all) of the foreign policy failures of the Obama Administration’s second term were laid in its first. Clinton’s emphasis on “soft power” over the military, the premature withdrawal from Iraq, the failure to obtain a status-of-forces agreement there, the counterproductive-to-disastrous regime change in Libya, the lack of any strategy for the “Arab Spring” (and subsequent failure to stem the entirely predictable turn toward radical Islamization several Arab Spring countries took), the failure to foresee a post-Mubarak Egypt, the asinine embrace of Morsi’s obviously despotic Muslim Brotherhood government, the obvious failure of the “reset” with Russia; all occurred or had their seeds planted when Hillary was Secretary of State, and all have contributed mightily to America’s global loss of prestige and respect.

    But the whitewashing of Hillary Clinton’s record is no surprise, given that the author, David Rothkopf, “joined the Clinton Administration in 1993 as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Policy and Development.”

    I’m also guessing that Susan Rice was among the sources for the piece, given that he follows criticism of her for calling the German Foreign Minister a “M@therf@cker” with the softball “It is a particularly frustrating Achilles’ heel for someone who is well known among her friends as having the capacity to be very warm, humorous, and engaging,” which just reeks of assuaging a source. (Really, has any serious policy profile of any high Republican administration official every used the phrase “very warm, humorous, and engaging”?)

    I also get the impression from this and other bits of Hillary apologia that she really, really has it in for former Deputy National Security Adviser and current White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (he’s the guy that looks like Lurch in that “watch us kill Bin Laden” photo). Note that I’m not taking sides in this dispute; it’s entirely possible that both of them suck…

    The piece is worth reading for showing that even the long-time deep state apparatchiks at Foggy Bottom feel embarrassed at the Obama Administration’s gross foreign policy incompetence. But it also needs to be taken with several grains of salt as yet-another piece of battlespace preparation for Hillary 2016…

    LinkSwarm for September 8, 2014

    Monday, September 8th, 2014

    A Monday LinKSwarm to kick off your week with:

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise: Obamacare discourages work.
  • Media: ObamaCare is fading as an issue. GOP strategists: LOL.
  • “Obama has overseen a shocking decline in America’s standing in the world. Everyone is mad at, or disappointed in, the United States.” As far as I can tell, Obama’s foreign policy is to do nothing until Americans are killed, and then to do nothing some more…
  • More on the theme:

    “Obama says what he has to say to make reporters stop asking about it.”

  • Rotherham: “The local government tolerated sexual violence on a vast scale. Why? In part, because the criminals who committed these sickening acts were Muslims from the local Pakistani community, and noticing their depravity was considered insensitive at best, racist at worst.”
  • Illegal alien “children” with gray hair enrolling in public schools since the Obama Administration won’t let school districts check their ages.
  • After more than five years of Obama, the Los Angeles Times asks “Is economic stagnation the new normal?”
  • Obama starts the latest poker round by showing Putin his hole cards.
  • Iran bans women from many university courses. Now remind me what this whole “war on women” is about again…
  • Interview with the woman who runs the only Arabic language magazine of sex and erotica. Good luck with that…
  • Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism, Venezuela is now importing oil.
  • Hey, remember when Bush attended three fundraisers and a wedding during the middle of the invasion of Iraq? Me neither.
  • “However stupid the creation of the euro was, undoing it will not be easy.”
  • UC Berkley wants to make sure “we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so.” “And by ‘contentious’ speech, we mean ‘non-liberal’ speech. Or, as we like to refer to them, ‘hate crimes.’”
  • Military rifles, armor, and ammo sent to numerous Texas school districts. If anyone knows why Texarkana ISD needs a SWAT team, I’m all ears…
  • In a shocking and unexpected development, I actually agree with Keith Olbermann about something. Namely the idea that it was amazingly stupid for the Huffington Post to hire Donte “9/11 Truther” Stallworth to be a “National Security Fellow.”
  • This weekend there were numerous protests to wage fast food wages. What’s behind them? $3 million in union money.
  • Huffingotn Post fooled by scam story. Clip this headline out and save it and I’m sure you’ll be able to make use of it in the years to come…
  • Mandy Nagy, AKA “Liberty Chick,” is recovering from surgery following a stroke.
  • A little fun via the #ExplainAFilmPlotBadly tag:

  • Don’t Look Now, But Russia Is Invading Ukraine

    Thursday, August 28th, 2014

    Russian forces in two armored columns captured a key southeastern coastal town near the Russian border Thursday after Ukrainian forces retreated in the face of superior firepower, a Ukrainian military spokesman said.

    The two Russian columns, including tanks and armored fighting vehicles, entered the town of Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov after a battle in which Ukrainian army positions came under fire from Grad rockets launched from Russian territory, according to the spokesman, Col. Andriy Lysenko.

    Well, thank God for Hillary Clinton’s reset button, and Obama’s “flexibility” and smart diplomacy. Who knows what sort of mess that bungler Bush would have made of the situation.

    And the UN Security Council is meeting. Since Russia still has a Security Council veto, don’t expect even the usual strongly worded letter.

    LinkSwarm for August 22, 2014

    Friday, August 22nd, 2014

    Just making it to Friday coming back from vacation to Texas in the middle of August seems like it’s own victory condition…

  • The Great Obama Meltdown.
  • Ferguson is the Great Society writ large because the Great Society convinced, and then reassured, black people that they were victims, taught them that being a victim and playing a victim was the way to go always and forever.”
  • Maureen Dowd is never so readable as when she’s slamming Democrats for their personal failures. This week: Obama:

    His bored-bird-in-a-gilded-cage attitude, the article said, “has left him with few loyalists to effectively manage the issues erupting abroad and at home and could imperil his efforts to leave a legacy in his final stretch in office.”

    (snip)

    The extraordinary candidate turns out to be the most ordinary of men, frittering away precious time on the links. Unlike L.B.J., who devoured problems as though he were being chased by demons, Obama’s main galvanizing impulse was to get himself elected.

    (snip)

    The sad part is that this is an ugly, confusing and frightening time at home and abroad, and the country needs its president to illuminate and lead, not sink into some petulant expression of his aloofness, where he regards himself as a party of his own and a victim of petty, needy, bickering egomaniacs.

  • Russia is very upset street artists are turning Bulgarian monuments to the Soviet Union into American superheroes.
  • Enlightened, peaceful members of Temple University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine call a Jewish student a “kike” and punch him in the face.
  • Convicted felon Brett Kimberlin bitchslapped by the court to the tune of $600 a week.
  • “Every major American church that has taken steps towards liberalization of sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership.”
  • Washington Post: “Libertarians silent on Mo. shooting.” Except for all the ones who weren’t.
  • Rick Perry grand juror was an active Democratic Party delegate during indictment proceedings.
  • Mike Ditka stands up to the PC police.
  • Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo has died.
  • A tiny bit about Robin Williams.
  • LinkSwarm for June 18, 2014

    Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

    There’s so much news going on in the world that it’s hard to sit down and focus on one story to get a single blog post out of it when there’s another huge story coming down the pike. Iraq, Ukraine, the VA Scandal, the dog eating Lois Lerner’s emails (“Barack Obama has brought us Jimmy Carter’s economy and Richard Nixon’s excuses”); too damn much going on to focus on one thing. So here’s a LinkSwarm instead:

  • Barack Obama is not interested in war, but war is interested in Obama.
  • Obama golfs while the world burns. “Oh Lord, I was born a golfing man!/I get in a round whenever I can…”
  • Obama Administration admits that ObamaCare will cost people more for health care, even with the subsidies.
  • Russia cuts off natural gas supplies to Ukraine.
  • Russian tanks appear in eastern Ukraine.
  • Russia’s top anti-corruption cop decides to take up flying.
  • One reason the IRS went after the Tea Party: Chuck Schumer asked them to.
  • “The Obama administration has reached levels of hitherto unknown incompetence.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • A majority of Americans do not believe that Obama is trustworthy. You don’t say.
  • Another day, another 48 people dead at the hands of Jihadists in Kenya. There are days when 48 people killed at a hotel would top the news…
  • The Obama Administration also released 12 Jihadists in Afghanistan.
  • Won’t someone please think about poor, impoverished Hillary Clinton?
  • The Obama Administration’s intentionally lax border control enforcement is letting letting Mexican gang members waltz into the country.
  • “Thousands of young, poor would-be immigrants—90,000 this year alone—have swarmed across the border, the logical fruition of the entire cynical approach of the Obama administration toward illegal immigration.”
  • Bill Gates wants to propagandize you into accepting illegal alien amnesty. Actually, what Gates and his high tech baron compatriots really want is more H1-B visas, but since that doesn’t help the Democratic Party as much as illegal alien amnesty, it gets rolled into the giant “comprehensive immigration reform” ball.
  • Should Obama have erased the IRS emails Nixon have erased the tapes?
  • Turning point in the Brat campaign: crashing a staged event to prove Cantor was lying about amnesty.
  • “Prostitutes more than double their earnings by moonlighting as currency traders” in Venezuela.
  • Argentina runs out of rope.
  • European cab drivers protest Uber by halting traffic. Result? Uber sees 850% increase in signups.
  • I’m going to boil this down to the essentials: Never open an account with a Georgia bank.
  • But maybe they need to seize your money to pay for all that food stamp fraud.
  • Does anyone really think West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant is any more “pro-coal” or “pro-gun” than Bart Stupak was “pro-life”?
  • Another year, another lefty writer caught plagiarizing the work of others. And not just any lefty writer, but a Pulitzer Prize winner to boot…
  • Chelsea Clinton got paid $600,000 by MSNBC. That worked out to $26,724 for each minute she was on the air. In other news, your betters in the overclass really don’t care what you think of the financial compensation one member of the class gives to another…
  • Millions in “urban redevelopment” money in Democratic-controlled Philadelphia ends up in certain people’s pockets with almost nothing to show for it. Try to contain your shock. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • South Carolina university professors: “How dare you make us teach the Constitution?”
  • Violence and subway strike in advance of Brazil’s World Cup.
  • New guidelines for ignoring due process in accusations of college campus sexual assault = Lawsuitapalooza!
  • Erick Erickson calls out Ted Cruz for not endorsing more conservatives.
  • Dwight does some gun geeking for you Smith & Wesson fans.
  • Dear anyone who’s ever self-published their own book: you’re a fascist Ayn Rand supporter, using your evil individualism to bypass the holy gatekeepers of traditional publishing.
  • And if you think that’s the stupidest left-wing essay you’ll read today, think again.
  • There was enough voter fraud in a Weslaco City Commissioner Race for the judge to order a new election. “Some of the disallowed ballots were cast by voters claiming Rivera’s childhood home as their address.” Note: Weslaco is down in the valley right next to Donna, Texas, which had its own voting scandal.
  • Doggies! (Patriotic doggies, no less.) (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “This harlot-sized ensemble will make you the envy of your trampish posse on your fraudulent wedding day.”
  • LinkSwarm for May 27, 2014

    Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

    Texans: Don’t forget to vote in the runoff today!

    Now a LinkSwarm to follow the Memorial Day weekend.

  • Hillary 2008: “Forget a new campaign managers[sic], she needed a Feng Shui consultant—or an exorcist.”
  • How ObamaCare screws black doctors.
  • One of the first polls of doctor’s offices dealing with ObamaCare patients. Tidbits:

    “We are going to have to hire additional staff just to manage the insurance verification process.”

    “Identification of ACA plans has been an administrative nightmare.”

    “Patients have been very confused about benefits and their portion of the cost. Once the patients find out their deductible, they’ve cancelled appointments and procedures.”

  • ObamaCare is also sowing union/management discord and threatening to cause strikes across the nation.
  • “Such dealings as I have had with the New York Times suggest to me very strongly that condescending is the house style.”
  • Nothing says “open-minded” quite like comparing NRA members to supporters of Hitler.
  • Liberal publications: The whitest guys in the room.
  • More examples of that voting fraud Democrats swear doesn’t exit. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • South Carolina replaces Gender Studies with Constitutional Studies.

  • “Journalists feel particularly underpaid with regard to their self-assessed status.” You don’t say…
  • I’m sure an MSNBC host dismissing the Holocaust is precisely the image General Electric wants to convey to shareholders.
  • Terrorist associate given pass by Obama Administration.
  • The EUrocrats are visibly miffed that members of the peasantry still think they’re allowed to hold opinions contrary to their betters.
  • More on the victories of UKIP and other Euroskeptic parties: “Populism is a favourite Eurocrat word, meaning ‘when politicians do what their constituents want’ — or, as we call it in English, ‘democracy’.”
  • Why did John Kerry work so hard to save the life of an illegal alien cop killer?
  • Getting press accreditation in Fredonia the “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”
  • Speaking of Donetsk, Ukraine launched an airstrike to retake the airport there.
  • Another day, another 27 people killed by Jihad in Yemen.
  • In Thailand, a mountain of rice builds up, thanks to an ill-advised agricultural subsidy scheme.
  • Mexican drug cartel threatens U.S. law enforcement via billboard.
  • “Amazon vows 10,000 robots in warehouses by year’s end.” Robots don’t need ObamaCare, or a $15 an hour minimum wage… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • You deserve a fake today.
  • All-female J-Pop group AKB48 attacked by a man with a folding saw. When oh when will Japan institute “common sense” saw control? (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Mark Steyn reviews Hotel Rwanda.
  • Dear NASA: they’re on to you!

  • Acid-dropping LARP-er guy puts on a clinic of what not to say in an interview when you’re facing felony charges.
  • Finally, two tweets on the VA hospital scandal:

  • Russia’s Pogromatic Behavior

    Thursday, April 17th, 2014

    Today was a day spent doing a lot of piddling stuff I let slide while I was doing my taxes. And the sad news of Russia’s slow-motion invasion of Ukraine hasn’t left me a lot to say that others haven’t already said in greater depth, and at greater length.

    But I can hardly let news that Russian thugs in eastern Ukraine (the part that Russia wants to slowly annex) have asked Jews to start “registering” pass in silence.

    Eh. A little registration. What’s the worst that could happen?

    Oh yeah. That.

    Of course, Ukraine under communism had a lot of experience with such things.

    Marillion’s “White Russian” seems particularly apropos today:

    LinkSwarm for March 21, 2014

    Friday, March 21st, 2014

    Enjoy your complimentary Friday LinkSwarm, and be sure to tip your waitress!

  • Fourteen different ways you can you can avoid the ObamaCare tax.
  • Joaquin Castro to boycott Buc-ees? He should have almost as much luck in Texas boycotting air conditioning and football. Hey, when Castro can offer outstanding fudge and the largest, cleanest restrooms in the state, let me know…
  • Democratic Senators decide they’d like to avoid committing political suicide by voting for Obama’s gun-grabbing Surgeon general nominee.
  • Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall proves once again that taxes are for the little people.
  • Democrats recruit the perfect candidate for congress: an 86-year old ex-felon.
  • Rich liberal environmentalist Tom Steyer is 100% opposed to Keystone pipeline. Well, except when endangered Democratic Senators are involved.
  • What liberals are leaving out of their hagiography of Cesar Chavez: he opposed illegal aliens and would have hated amnesty.
  • Liberals hate the Koch brothers so much they freak out even when they’re donating money to a hospital.
  • How dare some racist Americans call some Muslims pedophiles just because they want to marry 8-year olds?
  • America could hurt Russia by lifting natural gas export restrictions.
  • Swell story of resurrecting a badly damaged B-2. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • It’s gotten to the point I can no longer tell liberal ranting from parody of same.
  • More Yelp hilarity for the Backstreet Pub and Grill owner who went out of his way to insult gun owners.
  • Supporting Neil Young and Scarlet Johansson against the Israel haters.
  • “Set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue….” Yeah, that’s pretty much where I stopped reading.
  • Solider adopts dog. Dusty room ensues.

  • On Barack Obama’s “Flexibility” With Russia

    Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

    Bloody Ukriane

    The Return of Johnny Nuance

    Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

    So Russia is conducting a piecemeal invasion of Ukraine.

    And the American state department’s response?

    Ah, yes, “working with Russia.” I’m sure that has Putin quaking in his boots. How are we supposed to “work with” them? By helping them carry the loot back to Russia? Can you imagine George H. W. Bush threatening to “work with Iraq on Kuwait” after Saddam invaded?

    If Russia invades another country, will we work with them some more?

    I’m sure at this point, Putin must be quaking in his boots in fear at the thought of Kerry deploying more diplomacy to his tanks. Likewise, I’m sure the people of Ukraine are deeply grateful for those C-130s filled to the brim with diplomacy we’re sending…

    Given Kerry’s repeated threats of deploying yet more diplomacy to stop Putin, it’s time to break out Iowahawk’s classic Johnny Nuance, the story of a man fighting outlaws in the old west using only diplomacy:

    Johnny Nuance! Johnny Nuance!
    From the shores of Martha’s Vineyard he rode his horse out West,
    With a treaty in his holster and a medal on his chest,
    Bringing law and justice to a wild and violent land,
    Talking was his creed and sanctions were his brand!

    It goes about as well as you would expect…