What Obama’s foreign policy priorities should be

Although foreign policy issues were noticeable largely by their absence from the 2012 political debates, global risks and challenges to America have not disappeared.  In fact, with Barack Obama now safely past his last encounter with voters, it is entirely predictable that the scope and pace of national security threats to the United States are likely to increase substantially.

Our global adversaries long ago sized up Obama as weak and inattentive, addressing foreign and defense issues only when he had no alternative.  Unlike the long line of presidents, Republican and Democratic, since Pearl Harbor, whose highest priority was protecting the United States against external dangers, Obama’s agenda was always domestic.  And not only were national-security issues low-priority, Obama never saw the world as dangerous for the United States and its friends and allies.

Obama’s strategy was summed up in the  famous “open microphone” conversation with Russia’s then-President Medvedev, when Obama asked Russia to give him “space” until after Nov. 6, when he could be “more flexible” on national missile defense.  Our adversaries fully understood that Obama’s plea was not limited to Russia and not limited to missile defense.  Unfortunately for the United States, our foes correctly concluded that a re-elected Obama would continue his first-term policies, to their advantage and America’s disadvantage.

And it has already begun.  Although he will not be re-inaugurated until Jan. 20, Obama’s second term actually started two months ago on Sept. 11 in Benghazi.  The murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others by terrorists attacking our consulate demonstrated conclusively that Obama’s entire worldview of global terrorism was badly flawed.  Contrary to Obama’s ideology and his campaign rhetoric, the war on terrorism is not over, al Qaeda has not been defeated, and the Arab Spring has not resulted in pro-Western, democratic regimes in the Middle East.  In fact, al Qaeda is stronger than before and America’s strategic position in the region has steadily deteriorated.

As the Medvedev conversation demonstrated, Obama simply trying to get past the November election.  In just days afterward, we saw not only more evidence that the Benghazi murders were unrelated to the White House’s fantasy explanation, based on an offensive Internet video about Mohammed, but that on Nov. 1 Iran had fired on a U.S. drone flying over international waters, and that Attorney General Eric Holder knew in late summer of CIA Director David Petraeus’s affair with his biographer.  Conveniently for Obama’s political strategy, none of this became public pre-Nov. 6.  One can only guess about what else remains hidden from public view.


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