On foreign policy, Obama is lost in the 1980s

Last summer, as Hondurans attempted to keep their country from exploding into civil war, and President Obama prepared to trade away our plans for missile defense as a bargaining chip to strike an arms agreement with Russia, we editorialized thus:

Based on his reaction to President Manuel Zelaya's dismissal by the Honduran Congress, one might think that President Obama is still living in the 1980s…Obama has failed to see that the greatest threat to Latin American democracy today is not rightist generals or leftist guerrillas, but rather illegal usurpation by self-aggrandizing executives…

It would be a terrible miscalculation for Obama similarly to lose sight of contemporary issues and interests in a fog of obsolete arms-control ideology from the Soviet era…Russia is no longer our belligerent enemy.

Today, Jackson Diehl makes precisely the same observation, but with better detail and new corroborating data:

For help understanding the foreign policy headlines of the past week, let's return, briefly, to the spring of 1983, when Barack Obama was a student at Columbia University. What were the burning international issues of that time?

Well, first was the “nuclear freeze” movement…The Middle East, meanwhile, was still reeling from the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon – which was the apotheosis of the Zionist right's dream of creating a “greater Israel” including all of the Palestinian West Bank.

Back to November 2010. The Obama administration is devoting a big share of its diplomatic time and capital to curbing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank…Meanwhile, it has committed much of its dwindling domestic political capital to pushing a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia through a reluctant Senate.

So has nothing changed in the past quarter-century? In fact, almost everything has – especially when it comes to nuclear arms control and Israel's national objectives. What hasn't changed, it seems, is Barack Obama – who has led his administration into a foreign policy time warp that is sapping its strength abroad and at home.

 

We may have really been on to something.

Beltway ConfidentialUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City College union deal staves off layoffs, class cuts

One year agreement allows community college time to improve its finances

A Homeless Outreach Team member speaks with homeless people along Jones Street in the Tenderloin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed proposes another street outreach team to divert calls away from police

San Francisco would launch a new street outreach team to respond to… Continue reading

Rendering of proposed ball park at Howard Terminal (Courtesy photo)
MLB instructs A’s to begin exploring other markets while still pursuing downtown ballpark

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that it has instructed the Oakland Athletics… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants short stop Mauricio Dubon (1) breaks his bat on a ground out in the 4th inning against the Miami Marlins at Oracle Park on April 22, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Wood, bench power Giants past Rangers

After a bullpen implosion cost Alex Wood a win in his prior… Continue reading

San Fernando, CA, Thursday, April 29, 2021 - California Governor Gavin Newsom waves goodbye to friends after attending a press conference where he signed legislation that will provide a $6.2 billion tax cut to the hardest hit small businesses in the state at Hanzo Sushi restaurant downtown. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Most Read