Views on the News

Views on the News*

March 8, 2014


As Obama moves from one disaster to the next disaster, it’s clear that he’s lacking the support from citizens here at home, is viewed skeptically by people abroad, and lacks the respect from foreign leaders that the Great Seal of the United States should confer on any President.  A CBS News/ New York Times poll found only 40% of Americans are satisfied with the Presidency of Barack Obama, and 59% say they're disappointed.  Obama’s been beaten on Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now in Ukraine.  He’s made enemies of allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.  Europe, for the second time since the Prague Spring, is hearing the goosestep march of Russian troops in Europe under the leadership of their new Man of Steel, Vlad the Impaler Putin, as Russians tear apart the Ukraine.  Under Obama’s leadership Russia has begun to sweep up the scattered pieces of their old, lost, iron empire.  Are we in the United States more secure or less secure than we were six years ago?  Less secure, and it’s growing more acute by the day.  Obama’s brand of bungling isn’t limited to foreign affairs, although our problems overseas will be harder to repair than the ones at home.  Before the newest “Greatest Crisis Ever” Obama created in the Ukraine, he was still mired in the multi-year botched attempt at implementing the newest “Worst Legislation Ever” in ObamaCare.  Prior to that, he was administering the “Worst Recovery Ever,” after squandering the “Most Money Ever” on stimulus programs that did not stimulate anything.  How on earth did a great nation elect such a strange, unqualified and incompetent man President of the United States, twice?

(“Obama Must Go” by John Ransom dated March 3, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/johnransom/2014/03/03/obama-must-go-n1803061 )

If you want to know why everything is going wrong for Obama and the Democrats, from ObamaCare to Ukraine, the answer is simple - liberals got everything they asked for, from stimulus to “reset.”  Liberals get what they want, good and hard, or at least the “under” people in the over-under Democrat Party get it good and hard, while liberals sail onwards and upwards through successive revolving-door government-university-foundation-bankster sinecures.  Only the 1% need apply.  Take Obama - liberals got exactly what they wanted: America's First Black President.  Unfortunately they also got an Affirmative Action President who didn't have the wisdom or the authority to change the battle plan once he got into power.  It mattered that Obama went full-ahead on the Democrats' agenda for “stimulus,” ObamaCare, green energy after the worst financial crisis in living memory.   The economy needed repair, not more of the same.  It mattered that Obama failed to secure Bush's stabilized Iraq and blundered around in Afghanistan.  Obama could have bailed on his “right war” hypocrisy, but didn't.  With Ukraine, Obama rescinded the promised ABM systems for Eastern Europe.  Liberals have been telling us that great power chess is old school.  Peace process, that's new school.  So now we have bad actors running amok.  Bottom line when liberals get what they want is when the American people get hammered.  Meanwhile the Obama administration has failed to deliver jobs to the jobless, and it hasn't helped women to keep their doctors.  And Bill de Blasio in New York City is declaring war on charter schools.  So we have a Democrat war on working families, a Democrat war on women, and a Democrat war on school children.  Conservatives look at modern society made up of three power sectors: political, economic, and moral / cultural, and we think they should be kept separate.  When the intellectuals in the moral / cultural sector start straying into politics, or the politicians start legislating morality, they create a condominium between moral / cultural and political power, aka an established church, and we don't like it.  In Obama's America, the political sector violates the economic sector with crony capitalism and regulation and inflationism while bribing the moral / cultural sector with grant money and jobs for journalists, and the result is a train wreck, and that's what happens when liberals get what they ask for.

(“Liberals Have Got What They Asked For” by Christopher Chantrill dated March 5, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/03/liberals_have_got_what_they_asked_for_.html )

it's official: Vladimir Putin has turned Barack Obama totally into Jimmy Carter.  We may quibble over the timeline: some might say it began when Obama whispered to then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev he'd have "more flexibility" after the 2012 election; others that it set in when the U.S. President took Putin's offer to let Bashar Assad escape the bombing of his airfields for using WMD against his own people.  "Carterization" has a specific meaning in American politics.  In 1980, Ronald Reagan campaigned to unseat Jimmy Carter by saying:

"The response from the administration in Washington" to foreign threats has been one of weakness, inconsistency, vacillation and bluff.  Our allies are losing confidence in us, and our adversaries no longer respect us. Our partners are confused by the lack of a coherent, principled policy from the Carter administration."

The consequences of Obama's Carterization overseas are coming so fast it's hard to keep track. Ukraine, though important, is the tip of the iceberg:

·    Israel intercepted in the Red Sea an Iranian shipment to Gaza of dozens of Syrian-made surface-to-surface rockets. These are our new Iranian negotiating partners.

·    North Korea test-fired short-range ballistic missiles, and then it deployed a new multiple-rocket launcher that fired four missiles with enough range to hit American and South Korean military bases near Seoul.

·    In Moscow, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia plans to use military bases in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua for its navy and to refuel strategic bombers, only three months after Secretary Kerry ostentatiously announced "The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over."

·    In a news bulletin: "China announces 12.2% increase in military budget." within 24 hours of the Obama budget proposing a decline in U.S. defense spending.

This is all in one week!  With Ukraine, in Vladimir Putin's word "stabilized," Obama went to Connecticut to campaign for an increase in the federal minimum wage and from there to Boston for a Democrat fundraiser.  What, me worry?  A realistic hope for peace, Reagan said, is possible only if the U.S. maintains "the vital margin of safety."  The margin of safety wasn't about public threats of war; it is about the marginal advantage gained when an adversary negotiating with a strong U.S. believed we might act militarily; but if friends and foes conclude no one in the U.S. believes this in 2014, the margin of safety is gone.

(“Putin Cauterizes Obama, Totally” by Daniel Henninger dated March 5, 2014 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303369904579421171476596640? )

Barack Obama seems bent on demonstrating that he fails to grasp the basic considerations involved in leading the world's only superpower.  It is not a matter of dovishness or hawkishness, but rather a matter of understanding that speeches and grand statements of principle never suffice for policy in the real world.  What suffices is power and the willingness to use it, or not to use it, depending on the occasion.  It is not that Obama is a foreign policy dimwit, but rather a naïf, the wrong man for the job he holds, a maker of speeches rather than, before anything else, a reader of history.  A reader of history would understand the terrifying obligations of power, knowing first of all that into power vacuums flow the animated spirits of others; knowing, moreover, that to wish particular things is not to achieve them.  Realizing these goals can require threats open or hidden; it can certainly require talk, Obama's favorite instrument for advancing a cause.  It can and does require knowing what it is you want to happen, then working every instrument, including military and economic power, to that end.  Obama entered the White House determined to put power in the closet for most purposes.  When crises arose inevitably, in Iran or Libya or Syria, he made clucking sounds: failing to convey that the U.S. had major interests in particular outcomes.  The "red line" in Syria was adroitly scuffed away, likely became Putin's cue for launching policies of national rejuvenation, culminating in the seizure of the Crimea.  Putin judged his American counterpart to be all talk and no do.  The President who promised his own people they could keep their doctors was unlikely to promise the Ukrainians they could keep their country.

(“All Talk, No Do” by William Murchison dated March 4, 2014 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/articles/57987/all-talk-no-do )


The Obama administration, in its first and second terms, has committed strategic mistakes in the Middle East which will undermine U.S. national and security interests for many years, even under subsequent administrations after 2016.  The damage done is severe, and a remedy seems out of reach unless major changes are applied to Washington’s foreign policy, either under the incumbent’s administration or the next.  Washington’s “new beginnings” in the region moved American Mideast policy in a backward direction on two major tracks.  The first derailment was to partner with the Muslim Brotherhood, not the secular NGOs, in an attempt to define the future of Arab Sunni countries.  The second was to engage the Iranian regime, not its opposition, in attempt to define future relations with the Shia sphere of the region.  These were strategic policy decisions planned years before the Arab Spring, not a pragmatic search for solutions as upheavals began. The U.S. is retreating from containment and will not support regime change in Iran.  That undeniably emboldened Tehran to go on the offensive in the region after less than a decade of status quo.  The nuclear program was boldly defended despite American and UN economic sanctions; Iranian penetration of Iraq deepened; support to Hezbollah escalated with a presidential visit to Lebanon by Ahmedinijad; and aggressive backing of pro-Iranian elements in Arabia was sustained.  The Arab Spring revealed more assertive Iranian behavior as militias were dispatched to Syria in support of the struggling Assad regime.  U.S. retreat from Iran’s containment led to an unparalleled bleeding of the political opposition, the only long term hope for a real change in Iran.  Obama’s abandonment of Iran’s people was made complete through Washington’s dangerous deal with Tehran when the administration announced an interim nuclear agreement with Iran.  The administration began easing sanctions on Iran in return for a promise by the Khomeinist regime that it would lower its uranium production to an internationally acceptable level.  Without any significant leverage on Tehran, having sidelined the Iranian opposition, the White House has no guarantees that Iran’s regime is backing off from nuclear strategic weaponry.  Obama then implementd the most dangerous component of the new policy: Not only ending economic and political pressure, but sending financial support to a terror regime still on the offensive in the region. The “deal” will go down in history as one of the worst political acts in the West, second only to the signing of a piece of paper in Munich that claimed to be a deal to save the Peace.

(“The ‘Iran deal,’ Washington’s gravest mistake in Foreign Policy” by Walid Phares dated February 28, 2014 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/61476 )


* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  Updates have been made this week to the following issue sections:

· Politics at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/politics.php

· Foreign Trade at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/trade.php

· Middle East at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/middleeast.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY