Bret Stephens lists the Obama administration’s 2015 foreign policy accomplishments in the Wall Street Journal this morning. He notes that the list will appeal those who wallow in political delusion. Surely, he makes a good point.
In his words:
For aficionados of political delusion, it must have been fun to watch Mr. Obama rattle off his list of foreign-policy accomplishments at his year-end press conference last month. There was the Paris climate deal, the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, the opening to Cuba—“steady, persistent work,” the president said, that was “paying off for the American people in big, tangible ways.”
Tangible means perceptible by touch. But the Paris climate accord is voluntary and unenforceable; the Pacific trade deal is unratified and unpopular, especially among Democrats; the opening to Cuba is “tangible” only if you enjoy taking your beach holiday in a dictatorship that, as my colleague Mary O’Grady has noted, made some 8,000 political arrests in 2015—that is, after it normalized relations with the U.S.
As for the nuclear agreement, it amounts, predictably, to another American hostage in the hands of Tehran. Iran conducted two ballistic-missile tests in the wake of the deal, both in violation of a legally binding U.N. Security Council resolution. When the administration murmured its intention to impose modest sanctions in response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the sanctions would violate the deal and ordered his defense ministry to accelerate its missile program.
“The White House on Wednesday morning sent a notification to Congress that the Treasury Department would announce at 10:30 a.m. new sanctions on nearly a dozen companies and individuals” linked to the Iranian missile program, the Journal’s Jay Solomon reported last week. “The White House sent a second email to congressional offices at 11:12 a.m. stating the sanctions announcement had been ‘delayed for a few hours.’ ”
As of this writing, the sanctions still haven’t been imposed. Forty-two minutes sets a Guinness record in diplomatic self-abasement.
Weak, ineffective, ineffectual, feckless, pusillanimous, pathetic… the Obama administration is making the Carter administration look tough by comparison. The suck-up to the Iranians is a complete disgrace.
You might think that Obama is in a class of his own when it comes to incompetence, or else you might be thinking that he is not playing for the home team. A man who declared himself to be a citizen of the world has dedicated his presidency to diminishing American power and influence around the world. In that we might say that he has succeeded.
In the week of the sanctions capitulation the Iranian navy test-fired unguided rockets within 1,500 yards of the aircraft carrier USS Truman as it was transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh executed a radical Shiite cleric and put an end to John Kerry’s fantasies of diplomatic settlement for Syria after it severed diplomatic ties with Tehran. China landed a plane on an artificial island built illegally in the South China Sea in an area claimed by Vietnam.
Obama is so full of himself that he probably believes that he has scored victory after victory. His self-delusion is so powerful that he probably believes that he stands above the petty affairs of world politics and is bringing a new world into being. He is does not even know that the world looks upon him (and us) with boundless contempt.
Each of these acts is an expression of contempt for Mr. Obama. Contempt is the father of lawlessness and the grandfather of violence. What happens when the next Iranian live-fire exercise lands a shell within 1,000 yards of a U.S. ship? Or 500?
Looking toward the new year, Stephens sees:
Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other allies will freelance foreign policies in ways over which we have little say, even as we are embroiled in the consequences. Moscow, Beijing and Tehran will continue to take hammers to the soft plaster of U.S. resolve as they seek regional dominance. The nuclear deal will become a dead letter even as Mr. Obama insists on fulfilling our end of the bargain. China will continue to build islands while buying us off in the paper currency of climate agreements and other liberal hobbyhorses. Russia will seek to test and humiliate NATO.