Even the emperor’s most dedicated followers are now admitting how naked he really is.
Diplomacy is often a matter of grooming allies when you do not need them so you can have a basis when you do. From Obama’s first days in office when he returned the bust of Winston Churchill he has been careless with our relationship with our allies, while he has naively sought to turn our enemies into friends. By making claims without deeds he has lost the most valuable of leadership skills: trust.
Carter similarly thought he could charm the Russians into peace only to become dismayed when they attacked Afghanistan. Reagan achieved Russian Perestroika by strengthening defense and hitting them in the pocketbook. Reagan did not delay his attack on Libya with double talk, preening, golf outings, delays and uncertainty. He kept Libya contained as a result. Libya also voluntarily gave up nuclear arms as a result of our attack on Iraq. There is an effective place for force in foreign affairs.
Remember Nancy Pelosi visiting Syria after the Democrats took the House in 2006, against the strong advice of the White House who knew their enemy much better? Remember the Israeli attack on the Syrian nuclear facility in September 2007?
While this incompetent administration would not support Mubarek they did support Assad, and thus contributed to the mess in both countries, and in the entire region. By being spineless in their words and deeds they increase the chance of war by assuring our allies- Isarel- that they cannot be counted on. You cannot lead from behind when you are alone on the field. Leading from behind may be the most obvious oxymoron in political history.
This lack of trust is equally visible from his dismissal of his GOP counter parts on key pieces of legislation with such juvenile declarations as “we won the elections, we get to make the rules”. The lack of honesty and transparency (from the most transparent administration in history) over Benghazi, The NSA and IRS controversies creates a strong skepticism that makes his motives and facts questionable.
Perhaps there is a strong case to be made for a Syrian attack, but few want to follow a leader who leads from behind that they do not trust. Trust requires both character (honesty, respect) and competence. Obama has neither.
Meanwhile the Democrats risk losing their base of peaceniks and the Republicans who support his effort risk losing their base of those who still have some faith in constitutional law. Some are exhausted with wars in the Middle East and some just believe this action is poorly thought out and pointless.
But the glaring hypocrisy of those that criticized Bush for his actions taken with strong bipartisan support and dozens of allied nations who committed troops, now beating the war drums with no visible international support (France? really?) against another Mideast tyrant who poses a much smaller national threat is blinding. Even many of Obama’s supporters are speechless – or at least silent. Kerry’s rationalization that this action is promised to be so small that it is guaranteed to be ineffective does not exactly promote confidence or support for a questionable action with unquestionable risks.
The “reckless” foreign policy of Bush is now being emulated. Just as they emulated his base in Guantanamo which they promised to dismantle and never did. We haven’t seen such a betrayal since Lyndon Johnson who soundly defeated Goldwater as a warmonger (remember the mushroom cloud ad) and proceeded to place hundreds of thousands of boots on the ground in Viet Nam.
It is apparently much easier to criticize foreign policy that it is to enact when you are the one in power.