- - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

If anyone needs further evidence the White House is out touch with reality, it came in an official statement this week that President Obama has made the world a more tranquil place.

This was the White House’s exaggerated response to a well-documented, front-page Wall Street Journal story that concluded, “the breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn’t been seen since the late 1970s.”

The article also charged that under this administration, “U.S. global power seems increasingly tenuous.”

This should be obvious to anyone who’s been following foreign events — make that crises — since Barack Obama, a freshman senator with little if any real-world experience, was sworn into office in 2009.

The Wall Street Journal’s list of bungled foreign-policy challenges is Exhibit A:

Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its latest threats to take over more territory; the rise of a more lethal and expansive terrorist offensive in Iraq and Syria, and across North Africa; the failed negotiations with Iran over its plans to become a nuclear military power in the region; the explosion of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza; the electoral crisis in Afghanistan; and China’s expansionist efforts to claim territory beyond its borders.

Throw in North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s stepped-up military threats against South Korea, which include the firing of more than 100 rockets into the Sea of Japan, a few hundred yards from the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas.

Thugs and despots, drunk with power and with visions of military conquests, will test their adversaries’ resolve if they sense weakness that makes them think they can get away with murder.

Russian President Vladimir Putin tested Mr. Obama in the Ukraine and got away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Now Mr. Putin has trumped up a phony charge that Kiev sent a missile into Russia as he builds an excuse to send in his troops.

Mr. Obama is being tested as never before by people who are plotting to attack us. The latest threat comes from a new explosive developed by terrorists in Yemen and Syria that’s undetectable, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

“In some ways, it’s more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told ABC News in London on Sunday.

All of this unleashed a battery of testy questions from reporters at White House press secretary Josh Earnest’s Monday news briefing. Ed Henry of Fox News, noting The Journal’s article, asked him to respond to “the notion that the president is a bystander in all of these crises.”

Mr. Earnest defensively pointed to the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons and mediation of Afghanistan’s ballot dispute, among other things. “There have been a number of situations in which you’ve seen this administration intervene in a meaningful way that has … substantially improved the — you know, the tranquility of the — global community,” he said.

The once-compliant White House reporters were aghast at that remark. Jonathan Karl of ABC News asked, “Did you really believe that this president’s foreign policy has contributed to what you called the “tranquility of the global community?”

Mr. Earnest struggled to hold to his claim, but did not use the word “tranquility” again for the remainder of the news conference. There were plenty of other holes in his earlier responses, too.

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