Obama Has Just Begun: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Nov. 24, 2015 — Insidiously and inadvertently, Barack Obama is alienating the people and moving the country to the right.
Obama’s Phony War: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 19, 2015 — Tell me: What’s a suicide bomber doing with a passport? He’s not going anywhere.
Uncertain Leadership in Perilous Times: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 20, 2015— After great pain, a formal feeling comes—The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs.
Is Obama Too Busy Eyeing a Plum Post-Presidential Gig?: Barbara Kay & Robert Cutler, National Post, Nov. 17, 2015 — U.S. President Barack Obama characterized the terrorist acts in Paris last week as “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”
Obama Reminds Us That Pilgrims Were Refugees Once, Too: Roberta Rampton, Huffington Post, Nov. 26, 2015
The One-Minute Guide to Obama’s Foreign Policy: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Oct. 13, 2015
White House Hits Hoekstra on Libya Book: John Gizzi, Newsmax, Nov. 11, 2015
Allen West: Obama Made ‘Greatest Military Blunder World Will Ever Know’ in Iraq: Barbara Hollingsworth, CNS News, June 12, 2015
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review, Nov. 24, 2015
Insidiously and inadvertently, Barack Obama is alienating the people and moving the country to the right. If he keeps it up, by 2017 it will be a reactionary nation. But, counterintuitive as it seems, that is fine with Obama: Après nous le déluge. By sheer force of his personality, Obama has managed to lose the Democratic Senate and House. State legislatures and governorships are now predominantly Republican. Obama’s own favorable ratings rarely top 45 percent. In his mind, great men, whether Socrates or Jesus, were never appreciated in their time. So it is not surprising that he is not, as he presses full speed ahead.
Obama certainly has doubled down going into his last year, most recently insisting on letting in more refugees from the Middle East, at a time when the children of Middle Eastern immigrants and contemporary migrants are terrorizing Europe. What remaining unpopular executive acts might anger his opponents the most? Close down Guantanamo, let thousands more refugees into the United States, free thousands more felons, snub another ally, flatter another enemy, weigh in on another interracial melodrama, extend amnesty to another million illegal aliens, make global warming laws by fiat, expand Obamacare, unilaterally impose gun control? In lieu of achievement, is the Obama theory to become relevant or noteworthy by offending the public and goading political enemies?
An Obama press conference is now a summation of all his old damn-you clichés — the fantasy strawman arguments; the caricatures of the evil Republican bogeymen; the demagogic litany of the sick, the innocent, and the old at the mercy of his callous opponents; the affected accentuation (e.g., Talîban; Pakîstan, Îslám, Latînos, etc.) that so many autodidacts parade in lieu of learning foreign languages; the make-no-mistake-about-it and let-me-be-clear empty emphatics; the flashing temper tantrums; the mangled sports metaphors; the factual gaffes; and the monotonous I, me, my, and mine first-person-pronoun exhaustion. What Obama cannot do in fact, he believes he can still accomplish through invective and derision.
In the 2016 election campaigns, most Democratic candidates in swing states will have distanced themselves from the last eight years. Otherwise, they would have to run on the patently false premise that American health care is more affordable and more comprehensive today than it was in 2009; that workforce participation is booming; that scandals are a thing of the past; that the debt has been addressed; that Obama has proved a healer who brought the country together; that immigration at last is ordered, legal, and logical; that the law has never been more respected and honored; that racial relations are calmer than ever; that the campuses are quiet; that the so-called war on terror is now over and won with al-Qaeda and ISIS contained or on the run; that U.S. prestige aboard has never been higher; that our allies appreciate our help and our enemies fear our wrath; that Iran will now not go nuclear; that Israel is secure and assured of our support; and that, thanks to American action, Egypt is stable, Libya is ascendant, Iraq is still consensual, and the Middle East in general is at last quiet after the tumultuous years of George W. Bush.
The hordes of young male migrants abandoning the Middle East for the West are merely analogous to past waves of immigrants and should be uniformly welcome. For Obama, there is no connection between them and his slashing of American involvement in the Middle East — much less any sense of responsibility that his own actions helped produce the crisis he now fobs off on others.
If an American president saw fit to attack fellow Americans from abroad, and lecture them on their illiberality, there are better places from which to take such a low road than from Turkey, the embryo of 20th-century genocide, and a country whose soccer crowds were recently shouting, “Allahu akbar!” during what was supposed to be a moment of silence offered to the Paris dead. Surely an American president might suggest that such grassroots religious triumphalism about mass death is much more reprehensible behavior than are his own fellow citizens’ demands to vet the backgrounds of refugees.
If you suggested to Obama that, in his search for a contrarian legacy, he should do something to stop the slaughter in the Middle East and be careful about letting in more unexamined refugees, in answer, he would be more likely to do less than nothing abroad and vastly expand the influx of migrants. Getting under his critics’ skin is about all that is left of a failed presidency. Many of our observers still do not quite grasp that Obama will end his presidency by seeking to get his opponents’ goat — and that his resentment will lead to some strange things said and done…
Abroad, from Obama’s post-Paris speeches, it is clear that he is now bored with and irritated by the War on Terror. He seems to have believed either that Islamist global terror was a minor distraction with no potential for real harm other than to bring right-wingers in backlash fashion out of the woodwork, or that it was an understandably radical manifestation of what was otherwise a legitimate complaint of Islam against the Western-dominated global system — thus requiring contextualization rather than mindless opposition.
A lot of ambitious and dangerous powers are watching Obama assume a fetal position, and may well as a consequence act foolishly and recklessly this next year. Not only Russia, China, and North Korea, but also Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, ISIS, and assorted rogue states may take chances in the next 14 months that they would otherwise never have entertained (given that America is innately strong and they are mostly in comparison far weaker) — on the premise that such adventurism offers tangible advantages without likely negative consequences and that the chance for such opportunities will not present itself again for decades to come.
At home, Obama feels liberated now that he is free from further elections. He thinks he has a legitimate right to be a bit vindictive and vent his own frustrations and pique, heretofore repressed over the last seven years because of the exigencies of Democratic electioneering. Obama can now vent and strike back at his opponents, caricaturing them from abroad, questioning their patriotism, slandering them for sport, and trying to figure out which emblematic executive orders and extra-legal bureaucratic directives will most infuriate them and repay them for their supposed culpability for his failed vero possumus presidency. The more contrarian he becomes, and the more he opposes the wishes of the vast majority of the American people, all the more Obama envisions himself speaking truth to power and becoming iconic of something rather than the reality that he is becoming proof of nothing. Hold on. We haven’t seen anything yet.
Washington Post, Nov. 19, 2015
Tell me: What’s a suicide bomber doing with a passport? He’s not going anywhere. And, though I’m not a religious scholar, I doubt that a passport is required in paradise for a martyr to access his 72 black-eyed virgins. A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the terrorists. Why was it there? Undoubtedly, to back up the ISIS boast that it is infiltrating operatives amid the refugees flooding Europe. The passport may have been fake, but the terrorist’s fingerprints were not. They match those of a man who just a month earlier had come through Greece on his way to kill Frenchmen in Paris.
If the other goal of the Paris massacre was to frighten France out of the air campaign in Syria — the way Spain withdrew from the Iraq war after the terrorist attack on its trains in 2004 — they picked the wrong country. France is a serious post-colonial power, as demonstrated in Ivory Coast, the Central African Republic and Mali, which France saved from an Islamist takeover in 2013. Indeed, socialist President François Hollande has responded furiously to his country’s 9/11 with an intensified air campaign, hundreds of raids on suspected domestic terrorists, a state of emergency and proposed changes in the constitution to make France less hospitable to jihad.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama, titular head of the free world, has responded to Paris with weariness and annoyance. His news conference in Turkey was marked by a stunning tone of passivity, detachment and lassitude, compounded by impatience and irritability at the very suggestion that his Syria strategy might be failing. The only time he showed any passion was in denouncing Republicans for hardheartedness toward Muslim refugees. One hundred and twenty-nine innocents lie dead, but it takes the GOP to kindle Obama’s ire.
The rest was mere petulance, dismissing criticisms of his Syria policy as popping off. Inconveniently for Obama, one of those popper-offers is Dianne Feinstein, the leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. She directly contradicted Obama’s blithe assertion, offered the day before the Paris attack, that the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIL) was contained and not gaining strength. “I have never been more concerned,” said Feinstein. “ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding.”
Obama defended his policy by listing its multifaceted elements. Such as, “I hosted at the United Nations an entire discussion of counterterrorism strategies and curbing the flow of foreign fighters.” An “entire” discussion, mind you. Not a partial one. They tremble in Raqqa. And “We have mobilized 65 countries to go after ISIL.” Yes, and what would we do without Luxembourg?
Obama complained of being criticized for not being bellicose enough. But the complaint is not about an absence of bellicosity but about an absence of passion, of urgency and of commitment to the fight. The air campaign over Syria averages seven strikes a day. Seven. In Operation Desert Storm, we flew 1,100 sorties a day. Even in the Kosovo campaign, we averaged 138. Obama is doing just enough in Syria to give the appearance of motion, yet not nearly enough to have any chance of success.
Obama’s priorities lie elsewhere. For example, climate change, which he considers the greatest “threat to our future.” And, of course, closing Guantanamo. Obama actually released five detainees on the day after the Paris massacre. He is passionate about Guantanamo. It’s a great terrorist recruiting tool, he repeatedly explains. Obama still seems to believe that — even as ISIS has produced an astonishing wave of terrorist recruitment with a campaign of brutality, butchery and enslavement filmed in living color. Who can still believe that young Muslims are leaving Europe to join the Islamic State because of Guantanamo?
Obama’s other passion is protecting Islam from any possible association with “violent extremism.” The Islamic State is nothing but “killers with fantasies of glory.” Obama can never bring himself to acknowledge why these people kill and willingly die: to advance a radical Islamist millenarianism that is purposeful, indeed eschatological — and appealing enough to have created the largest, most dangerous terrorist movement on Earth. Hollande is trying to gather a real coalition to destroy the Islamic State, even as Obama touts his phony 65. For 11 post-World War II presidencies, coalition leading has been the role of the United States. Where is America today? Awaiting a president. The next president.
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 20, 2015
After great pain, a formal feeling comes—The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs— In the days after Paris Emily Dickinson’s poem kept ringing through my mind as I tried to figure out what I felt—and, surprisingly, didn’t feel. I did not, as the facts emerged and the story took its full size, feel surprised. Nor did I feel swept by emotion, as I had in the past. The sentimental tweeting of that great moment in “Casablanca” when they stand to sing “La Marseillaise” left me unmoved. I didn’t feel anger, really. I felt grave, as if something huge and terrible had shifted and come closer. Did you feel this too?
After the pain of previous terror incidents, from 9/11 straight through to Madrid 2004 (train bombings, 191 dead), London 2005 (suicide bombers, 52 dead) and Paris 10 months ago (shootings, 17 dead), the focus was always on the question: What will the leaders—the political and policy elite—think? This attack immediately carried a different question: What will the people think, Mr. and Mrs. Europe on the street, Mom and Pop watching in America? What are the thoughts and conclusions of normal people who are not blinkered by status, who can see things clear? …
So again, the only question: What to do? On this issue the American president is, amazingly, barely relevant. The leaders and people of Europe and America will not be looking to him for wisdom, will, insight or resolve. No commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces can be wholly irrelevant, but to the extent one can be, Mr. Obama is. He has misjudged ISIS from the beginning—they were not, actually, the junior varsity—to the end. He claimed last week, to George Stephanopoulos, that ISIS has been “contained.” “I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” he said just before Paris blew.
After the attacks Mr. Obama went on TV, apparently to comfort us and remind us it’s OK, he’s in charge. He prattled on about violence being at odds with “universal values.” He proceeded as if unaware that there are no actually universal values, that right now the values of the West and radical Islam are clashing, violently, and we have to face it. The mainstream press saw right through him. At the news conference, CNN’s Jim Acosta referred to the “frustration” of “a lot of Americans,” who wonder: “Why can’t we take out these bastards?” The president sighed and talked down to him—to us. He has a strategy and it’s the right one and it’s sad you can’t see it. Let him prattle on about climate change as the great threat of our time.
All he can do at this point is troll the GOP with the mischief of his refugee program. If he can’t work up a passion about radical Islamic violence, at least he can tie the Republicans in knots over whether they’re heartless bigots who want to prevent widows and children from taking refuge from the Syrian civil war. This is a poor prioritizing of what faces us. The public is appropriately alarmed about exactly who we might be letting in. It would be easy, and commonsensical, to follow their prompting and pause the refugee program, figure out how to screen those seeking entrance more carefully, and let in only the peaceable. If that takes time, it takes time.
If Mr. Obama had wisdom as opposed to pride and a desire to smack around the GOP—a visit to Capitol Hill this week showed me he’s thinking a lot more about them than they are about him—he would recognize the refugee issue as a distraction from the most urgent priorities. Those would include planning for and agreeing on how to deal with both the reality and the aftermath of a parade of possible horribles on which we should once again concentrate—anything from shootings in Times Square to suicide bombings in Washington to a biological device in, say, Greeley, Colo. It would include planning for any military activity that might likely follow such an event or events.
If what we are experiencing now results in an epic collision, are we ready? Deeper attention now will go to candidates for the presidency. Hillary Clinton Thursday delivered a speech on her strategy to face the current crisis; it sounded a lot like Mr. Obama’s strategy, whatever that is. But Paris should have impact on the Republican debate that has cropped up the past month about defense policy. It’s been approached as a question of spending. That may quickly come to look like the wrong approach…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Barbara Kay & Robert Cutler
National Post, Nov. 17, 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama characterized the terrorist acts in Paris last week as “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.” But the terrorists and those whom they represent clearly do not share those values. As journalist Mark Steyn noted, these acts are “an attack on the West, on the civilization that built the modern world.” Yet Obama continues to obfuscate the specific nature of the attack, and in a manner consistent with his approach to Islamist terror in general. We have a hypothesis as to why.
Obama will still be a young man when he leaves the presidency. His multiple policy failures (which are failures by his own self-imposed yardsticks: Russia, Iran, Israel-Palestine, Syria) will not have diminished the capacious ego that he brought, and which brought him, to the White House. What post-presidency career would Obama consider worthy of his future attention and efforts? Few jobs of Olympian prestige are available, and his self-admittedly vast self-esteem might diminish the list still further. Ambassador to Kenya? We think not. No, we agree with a number of other observers that Obama has his sights set on the office of United Nations Secretary-General.
If there is a litmus test for becoming UN Secretary-General, then that is winning the approval of the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (nearly 30 per cent of all UN members). For seven years, Obama appears to have bent over backwards to avoid hard truths that may offend them. This sycophantic behaviour has produced the American foreign policy failures, whose consequences are before us. More than any of his predecessors, President Obama has been unable to distinguish the bright line between America’s national interest and his own career interests.
Tactically clueless, drawing “red lines” in public and then just as publicly erasing them, Obama has often appeared to lack any game plan at all. The only really continuously traceable thread in the tapestry of Middle Eastern troubles since 2009 has been his efforts to maintain a teflon image-coating. Of course, this is also partially a legacy of the Chicago school of one-party politics that spawned the political Obama. Recall, for example, the large proportion of votes in the Illinois legislature to which Obama responded “present” rather than “yea” or “nay.” He was already keeping a blank slate as clean as possible, so that American voters might project any and all hopes and dreams onto an eventual presidential candidacy.
Obama’s choice of Cairo for his pandering speech to the Islamic world in June 2009 capped his four-continent “apology tour” for U.S. foreign policy. During this trip he was caught in a photograph bowing to the Saudi king, for which he was widely criticized. (Benjamin Franklin had declined to do this at the Court of St James’s, where it was protocol, explaining that the representative of a democratic republic does not bow to a sovereign monarch.)
Also in 2009 Obama scandalously refused to support Iran’s “Green Revolution,” disappointing the youth and middle classes of the country who sought to topple Teheran’s tyrannical mullahcracy. Finally, rather than acknowledge the anti-Americanism of the al-Qaeda-related terrorists who planned and executed the 9/11 anniversary attack on the U.S. diplomatic Benghazi compound in 2012, Obama and his minions sought to put the blame on an anti-Islamic video by an obscure Texas preacher, despite having (as we know now) real-time information from sources on the ground about what was really going on.
Never once in his seven years in office has Obama described acts of Islamic terrorism as such, not even the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood by Army Major Nidal Hasan, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he opened fire and, in handwritten and typed documents sent to the media on the eve of his trial, declared that “Islam was brought to prevail over other religions.” Obama ludicrously dismissed the tragedy as “workplace violence.” His preferred locution for Islamist terrorism is “extremism,” which mistakes the form of political violence for the essence of declared motivation.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s term expires in early 2017. One supposes that a President Hillary Clinton would welcome having Obama in such a position. Yet even a Republican president who only pays lip service to the UN might not look askance at having a former U.S. president of any party in that role.
Meanwhile, Obama is reported to be hedging his bets by seeking to raise no less than $1 billion for his presidential library and add-on foundation. He wishes in this way to avoid Bill Clinton’s mistake of raising only $250 million for his own library and leaving additional fund-raising for his post-presidential career, notably from foreign donors. The appearance of corruption around this, with his wife as secretary of state, has been the subject of no little media attention.
Obama’s capacity for speechifying combined with his political packaging brought him to the presidency. It cannot be excluded that they will bring him a plum job at the United Nations. And what could be plummier than the office of Secretary-General? There would be no pesky reporting requirements to the U.S. Congress, no real performance benchmarks to worry about. It may be the only office that he would not consider beneath him.
We do not begrudge Obama the job of UN Secretary-General. In fact, we approve of it. It is a job where words are considered more important than action, and where his flowery speeches will be at home. He may not do much good there, but he would also be prevented from doing much further harm. Indeed, we would regret that he did not go straight to the UN from the U.S. Senate, but for the fact that this would probably have meant eight years of Hillary Clinton in the White House: a fate, alas, that looks likely to come to pass after all.
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Obama Reminds Us That Pilgrims Were Refugees Once, Too: Roberta Rampton, Huffington Post, Nov. 26, 2015—President Barack Obama urged Americans to show generosity to Syrian refugees in his Thanksgiving message on Thursday, reminding them that the Pilgrims who came to America in 1620 were themselves fleeing persecution.
The One-Minute Guide to Obama’s Foreign Policy: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Oct. 13, 2015 — We who follow U.S. foreign policy, and especially the Middle East, sometimes get asked whether Barack Obama is a community-organizing naïf way out of his depth or a brilliant ideologue who knows exactly what he is doing. Is he inept or purposeful? Does he see his foreign policy as a failure or a success?
White House Hits Hoekstra on Libya Book: John Gizzi, Newsmax, Nov. 11, 2015—The White House hit back hard Tuesday afternoon at charges in a new book by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra that the Obama administration is primarily responsible for turmoil in Libya through its support of the overthrow of strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Allen West: Obama Made ‘Greatest Military Blunder World Will Ever Know’ in Iraq: Barbara Hollingsworth, CNS News, June 12, 2015—President Obama’s decision to ignore his generals’ recommendations and withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, leaving behind a power vacuum that is being exploited by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is “probably the greatest military blunder the world will ever know,” Lt. Col. Allen West (Army-Retired) told CNSNews.com.