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Obama’s Foreign Policy Report Card July 25, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.

Short version: Is there a grade lower than F?

President Obama took office back in 2009, facing a number of foreign policy challenges. Now that he’s cured the economy by giving yet another speech, perhaps it’s time to review his progress in addressing those challenges.

I think we can all agree that the issues the President needed to address included:

  • Nuclear proliferation in Iran
  • Nuclear proliferation in North Korea
  • Unrest in Middle East (kind of goes without saying)
  • Rise of China and its effect on territorial disputes & regional stability
  • Stability vs. withdrawal in Iraq, and don’t forget our permanent base
  • Resolving Afghanistan/Pakistan situation

And he promised that through superior, sophisticated diplomatic efforts (unlike that lout, Bush), he would be able to handle all these areas and restore America’s image worldwide.

So how’d he do?

Nuclear Proliferation in Iran:

Tehran is installing approximately 200 advanced centrifuges a month. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is rapidly installing hundreds of next-generation centrifuges that, within a year or sooner, will give the regime the capacity to produce enough weapons-grade uranium in just a few weeks to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran is also making progress on a plutonium reactor that could be operational as early as next year and provide the regime with an alternative path to the bomb.

Nuclear Proliferation in North Korea: I think the two nuclear tests conducted by North Korea, as well as its long-range missile development, speak for themselves.

Unrest in Middle East: Every President for the last 50 years has had to face this one, and Obama’s fare worse than most. With Syria, Egypt, Libya, and no progress on Israel/Palestine, I’d say that his weak projection of American policy has only aggravated Middle East instability.

Rise of China: If anything, the President’s limpid Asian policy has accelerated China’s geopolitical rise and increased tensions in the area, to the point where the latest news is that even Japan has started escalating in Asia:

Japan is likely to start considering acquiring the ability to launch pre-emptive military strikes in a planned update of its basic defense policies, the latest step away from the constraints of its pacifist constitution.

The hawkish Abe took office in December for a rare second term, pledging to bolster the military to cope with what Japan sees as an increasingly threatening security environment including an assertive China and unpredictable North Korea.

Stability in Iraq. We didn’t get our base, and, quite predictably, Iraq is becoming increasingly violent:

Political deadlock, a lack of government control, and Iraq again appears caught in spiralling chaos.

It is part of a recent wave of violence that has claimed a the lives of 2,000 Iraqis in the last four months – the deadliest outbreak of bloodshed seen in five years in a country still struggling to find a way of sharing power between its Shia, Sunnni and Kurdish ethnicities.

The American troops completed their formal withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011.

Afghanistan/Pakistan: I think this headline from earlier this month says it all: Obama considers complete troop withdrawal as Afghan tensions mount I’ve seen this strategy before.

Every situation President Obama has touched has turned worse, and America is now perceived as a much weaker and less relevant nation than it was 5 years ago. I had thought that Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State would put some backbone into our foreign policy, but that turned out to be woefully optimistic.


1. geoff - July 25, 2013

Hunh – didn’t know Karl Rove had written a column on the same subject today. Can’t read it because it’s behind the WSJ login, but I assume he totally, absolutely, agrees with me.

Because who wouldn’t?

2. Argus - August 3, 2013

Dumb Idea Dept:

How about if America took it’s fingers out of everywhere else in the world and concentrated entirely on getting its own act back together?

(No, seriously—stop trying to be a huge Empire—which it is but won’t admit—and concentrate entirely on core values. Okay, what’s left of them).

3. geoff - August 3, 2013

I don’t get it. You mean all those other little countries that exist at our sufferance? How could they ever get by without our fingers?

In (a little more) seriousness, though, it’s our fingers or somebody else’s fingers, but there will always be fingers. Soon it will be China’s fingers. Then you’re going miss ours.

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