With Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally stepping down this past weekend, we are starting to see the inevitable transition to post-game commentary, where politicians switch from providing advice to grading performance.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) served as a great warm up for Republicans to get their analysis out the door, and with Monday arriving the media machine is gearing up to take their shot (aggregate news site Real Clear Politics already has eight articles on the subject gracing their front page). One of the more popular claims at CPAC was that Obama simply doesn't have a foreign policy. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, for example, claimed that the President had “no idea” what to do with the Middle East and that Obama's actions were actively endangering American national security.
While it might be true that Obama has failed to create an identity for his own foreign policy, that doesn't meant that he isn't following a map. Whether it is the result of drifting or deliberate choice, Obama's foreign policy is essentially the one he inherited from President George W. Bush.
Obama has continued to support the wars in the Middle East. He increased troop levels in Afghanistan and, despite his assurances that “combat operations” are over, continues to field approximately 50,000 troops in Iraq to provide security and assistance to the Iraqi government. Obama has followed the Bush plan on Iran, increasing the economic sanctions leveled against the country. And Obama has expanded on Bush's policy of pressuring foreign governments using American diplomats, Congressmen, personal phone calls and issuing government guaranteed loans to directly lobby heads of state to buy American products.
The Obama administration maintained a close relationship with Hosni Mubarak up until it became apparent that his regime would fall. The relationship with Mubarak had been strengthened under Bush due to Egypt's willingness to detain and torture suspected Al Qaeda suspects.
All of these policies were demonized by the Left and praised by the Right during Bush's tenure. How things change.