- - Friday, June 6, 2014


President Obama’s foreign policy is a disaster. He talks, but whatever he says carries no weight. Why? Let’s look at the record.

Mr. Obama and his team have squandered the hard-won security gains in Iraq, which is teetering on the brink of anarchy again. Disaster.

The president famously called the War in Afghanistan “the right war,” the war he was going to win. In truth, he never wanted to win; all he ever really wanted was to get out. Now, Afghanistan’s stability has come into serious question as international troops draw down. The U.S. spent 13 years in Afghanistan, and when we leave, the Taliban will be back and with al Qaeda. The president also famously once said al Qaeda was on the ropes. But al Qaeda’s flag is flying over more cities and villages in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa today than it did before Sept. 11, 2001. In fact, on May 20, CNN reported that the U.S. intelligence community is seriously concerned about a recent series of al Qaeda-based threats to attack American and other Western targets in Europe, as well as threats to launch attacks inside the United States. That doesn’t sound like an organization on the ropes. Disaster.

Egypt, which used to be an ally of the United States and a stabilizing force in the Middle East, is on the brink of either civil war or a military dictatorship and is dealing more and more with Russia. Disaster.

Mr. Obama ignored the Constitution and Congress to go to war in Libya “to stop the killing.” He so badly wanted to believe in the fantasy and that he’d won and stabilized Libya that he ignored a deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and cost four Americans their lives. Libya is no success — it is, in fact, so unstable that the Pentagon is reportedly moving military assets into place for a possible evacuation of Americans. Disaster.

The Syrian conflict, which began as a secular revolt, has taken on a radical Islamist dimension. Some reports have even suggested that radicalized Americans are training with the jihadists in Syria. Disaster.

The ill-advised interim nuclear accord between Iran and Western powers expires in July. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during a recent visit to China that he is in “no hurry” to reach a final deal over the country’s nuclear program. In a separate interview with China’s CCTV network, he demanded that the Obama administration pay Tehran reparations for “hostile policies” that have cost the Iranian people “much loss and damage.” Apparently, the $7 billion in frozen assets released by the Obama administration isn’t enough. Iran is still a state sponsor of terrorism, actively working to undermine countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Azerbaijan. It is actively working through surrogates such as Hamas and Hezbollah to destroy our closest ally in the region, Israel. The Iranians have also stepped up their efforts to confront the U.S. 5th Fleet and potentially close the vital Strait of Hormuz. Disaster.

In Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is openly laughing at us. Disaster.

In North Korea, the Kim Jong-un regime has stepped up its provocative attacks on the South and is threatening to test a third nuclear device. Disaster.

In Nigeria, about 275 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the radical Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram (thought to be connected to other terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda). The Obama State Department repeatedly resisted and blocked efforts to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group, throwing away a major opportunity to track and target this deadly organization before it grew into a regional threat. Now, hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls have been taken to be either sold into slavery or killed. Disaster.

Finally, Mr. Obama released five of the worst terrorists in the world (who should have been tried in a military court years ago) in exchange for a deserter who, according to military leaders who served with him, cost six soldiers their lives and endangered hundreds of others. The president violated the law to do it. Major, major disaster.

It seems no matter where the Obama administration turns its head, disaster follows. Our enemies are mocking us and our allies no longer trust us to keep our word. Confronting foreign-policy challenges requires leadership and statesmanship. Mr. Obama hasn’t demonstrated either.

Former Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican, was a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of its Europe, Eurasia and emerging threats subcommittee.

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