Defining America’s Foreign Policy


On May 28, 2014, President Obama attempted to layout a clear and decisive foreign-policy vision to recent graduates at West Point. Obama argues for a contradictory foreign policy that relies on NATO and the United Nations while insisting that “America must always lead on the world stage”.

The speech offered no clear mandate for action and no clear framework for a strong and committed American presence in the world. Peel away the rhetoric, and the message was retrenchment and abandonment of responsibility.

The foreign policy we have today lacks a strategic framework that could shape U.S. engagement in the world. As a result, the U.S. has been lurching from crisis to crisis.

This was the overall message delivered to Senators Tuesday by retired U.S. Marine General James Mattis, former CentCom Commander Admiral William Fallon, and former Army Vice Chief General Jack Keane.

“Don’t announce when you’re going to withdraw troops and don’t broadcast military options you’ve ruled out if you want to be successful in war”, Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee. By making clear what the U.S. won’t do, the White House fuels a perception in the Middle East that the U.S. is starting to disengage.

“American influence in this volatile region is as it’s lowest point in four decades”, Mattis noted as he concluded that “there is an urgent need to stop reacting to each immediate vexing issue in isolation”.

Gen. Keane was more blunt in his assessment of the Obama adminstration’s policy in the Middle East describing it as a “failure”. Keane continued, “the unequivocal explanation is U.S. policy has focused on disengaging from the Middle East, while our stated policy is pivoting to the East”.

Our allies in the Middle East have little to no confidence in U.S. leadership and question our resolve as U.S. policy makers have ignored the harsh realities of the rise of our enemy in radical Islam. Moreover, they will not accurately name the movement as radical Islam.

“We choose not to define it, nor explain its ideology and most critical, we have no comprehensive strategy to stop it or defeat it”, stated Keane.

This sentiment was duly reflected on Monday by the former Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Speaking to the National Defense Industry in Washington, Flynn criticized the adminstration for refusing to go as far as to even label our enemies. “You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists” while “accepting a defensive posture, reasoning that passivity is less likely to provoke our enemies”, said Flynn.

Flynn then unloaded on the White House stating that Obama’s blueprint of “retreat, retrenchment and disarmament are historically a recipe for disaster”.

This recipe is even more disastrous given the fact that our enemies know the leadership in the White House is more concerned with exerting political pressure on the military rather than using the military to exert pressure on our adversaries.

Thus, our enemies actively exploit this disconnect under the notion that the White House essentially disregards the concerns of current and former intelligence and military officials within our own government and those of our allies.

The most concerning example of this disconnect comes with the inevitable crisis on the horizon that this adminstration has created by condemning Israel while condoning Iran.

This was brought to the forefront last week as an “unnamed senior U.S. official” claimed “Netanyahu spat in our face” and vowed “there will be a price” for the Prime Minister’s accepting House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress on the threat of radical Islam and Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel has been condemned for it’s stance on Obama’s temporary nuclear agreement with Iran as the President threatens to veto any further sanctions passed by Congress.

The adminstration’s anger at Israel reached a tipping point this week when Daniel Kurtzer, an Obama campaign foreign policy advisor, suggested to the New York Times that the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, should be “reprimanded or removed” for passing along the speaking invitation from Speaker Boehner.

Rather than focusing their grievances on the very real threat faced by a nuclear-armed Iran, the Obama White House is focused on diminishing the credibility of one of our staunchest allies. By undermining Israel the Obama adminstration undermines itself in any future negotiations with Iran.

Without Israel, specifically their ability to exert force if sanctions fall through on Iran, Obama will have relinquished a key dynamic in pressuring Iran in a final nuclear deal. Thus, because of his political ambitions the President will be forced to negotiate a final nuclear agreement from a position of weakness as any real threat to Iran won’t be credible.

Obama’s foreign policy is irresponsible, dangerous, and suicidal. The military has been purged of it’s leadership by men such as Keane, Fallon, Mattis, and Flynn because of their refusal to play politics. It is distressing to see four star General’s speak of how dire the consequences have become under this adminstration’s foreign policy of disengagement.

Obama’s doctrine has shown us that America no longer has an effective way to operate within an infinitely complex environment as the Commander in Chief makes decisions based upon his own core set of principles that are opposite of American ideals.

As Gen. Keane noted, “given the emerging security challenges and limited resources, the need for well crafted regional defense strategies in an overall integrated defense strategy and posture is clear. Yet, this is not what we do”.

Instead of reevaluating our foreign policy we wait for the next attack, however big or small, then respond by micromanaging the threat without actually defeating it.

The greatest danger to the United States, as history has shown us, does not arise from vigilance or the arrogance of American power, but from unpreparedness or an excessive reluctance to fight.

Under Obama we not only exhibit the latter, but we apologize for the former as we accept the fallacy of moral equivalence by blaming America first.