In the first presidential debate of the 2012 election, Republican challenger Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama handily in a takedown of the President’s devastating domestic policies. Foreign policy wasn’t addressed, but all Romney need do to brush up for a victory in that arena is study Bruce Herschensohn’s new book.
Herschensohn has a long and distinguished career in political analysis: senior fellow at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, former Distinguished Fellow at the Claremont Institute, Fellow at the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, and former Fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics. He has authored such books as An American Amnesia: How the US Congress Forced the Surrenders of South Vietnam and Cambodia, Above Empyrean: A Novel of the Final Days of the War on Islamic Terrorism, and now Obama’s Globe: A President's Abandonment of US Allies Around the World, a concise and hard-hitting indictment of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy.
Obama was elected in large part on the promise that he would make the world “like us” again after the supposed “cowboy diplomacy” of the Bush era. Our allies would feel valued again, and our enemies would be pacified. This promise turned out to be as empty as his assurances that he would close America’s racial divide and heal the oceans.
Under previous administrations, Herschensohn reminds us, “people around the world assumed that Presidents of the United States would treat the U.S.A.’s friends as friends and adversaries as adversaries.” The “greatest accomplishment of the Jimmy Carter Presidency,” he writes, “was that he provided forthcoming Presidents with the evidence of what tremendous damage could be done by choosing to abandon the nation’s friends.”
Obama has made our allies long for the days of Carter. The newly-elected Obama immediately began alienating our closest friends, in ways both small and large: returning a bust of Churchill, for example, which had been a gift from Britain symbolizing “our strong transnational relationship”; presenting Prime Minister Gordon Brown with an insulting gift of a boxed set of DVDs that were unplayable in the UK; and, on a grander scale, retracting our support for England’s sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.
Obama’s disgraceful treatment of another close ally, Israel and its Prime Minister Netanyahu, has earned him FrontPage Magazine’s condemnation as “the Anti-Israel President,” and Herschensohn explains why. Regarding Obama’s unprecedented declaration that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps,” for example – Herschensohn describes it as “one of the worst, if not the very worst statement made by any U.S. President regarding a friendly nation that won a war.” Herschensohn then details the history behind that Six-Day War, and denounces Obama’s insistence on referring to Israel as an “occupier”: “It is apparent that the use of the word ‘occupation’ has recently been used to describe what friends of the United States do when they win wars, but not what enemies of the United States do when they win wars.”
Speaking of wars: Herschensohn points out Obama’s pathetic strategy for “ending” our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. “Wars are not ended,” Herschensohn states plainly. “Wars are won or lost. Historically and logically, one side walking away from a war that is being fought frees the path for the other side to win.” The Obama administration refuses even to name the enemy in this global war, much less defeat it. During World War II, by contrast,
there was no exit strategy given by President Roosevelt other than one word: Victory. That word meant the absolute and unconditional surrender of the enemies of the United States. No negotiations. No deals. No power-sharing. No acceptance of enemy-led political parties in governmental coalitions in their home countries. No compromises… Nation-building and winning hearts and minds were reserved for a later time after victory was achieved.
Herschensohn goes on to criticize Obama for not supporting Iran’s Green Revolutionaries during an uprising that could have meant the end of the theocratic regime there: “It took ten days for President Obama to make strong statements in defense of them. Too late. The protesters had been abandoned.” He points out that our ineffective attempts at “soft diplomacy” with Iran – “the continued preferred course taken by President Obama” – are simply perceived “as weakness and evidence that the U.S. is frightened.”
Herschensohn goes on in the book to identify foreign policy failure after failure under Obama across the globe, from the Czech Republic and Poland, to Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, to Iran and Syria, to Afghanistan and Pakistan, to North Korea and China, even Honduras and Canada, and even above the globe – as Obama reverses Kennedy’s quest for supremacy in space. He finishes with a discussion of how Obama has downgraded our military capability, and what that means for America’s position of world power:
We know that every time any great power has given the perception of military reduction, some other power or powers immediately started to fill the vacuum. Always. Not sometimes, but always...
The U.S. does not need to use the power of every weapon it has, but the U.S. does need to prove that it is willing to use every weapon it has for survival – and mean it.
Obama’s Globe was published prior to the recent Libyan embassy debacle, which takes Bruce Herschensohn’s litany of foreign policy catastrophes on Obama’s watch to exponential new heights – or depths, more properly. Even so, Herschensohn makes an airtight case. At one point he quotes the inaugural words of President John F. Kennedy: “Let every nation know whether it wishes us well or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Herschensohn’s message is, Obama has let every nation know just the opposite.
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