Kerry on Obama foreign policy: Charting and thinking vs. leading and winning

 

John Kerry’s going to give the Big Democratic National Security Speech tonight. He’s also doing his Big Audition for SecState in a second Obama administration.

There’s the expected leaks about the speech: “reckless,” “troops home,” “killed bin Laden.”

And here’s what Kerry himself had to say in the pages of Foreign Policy, with some helpful annotations:

  • “…it is the Democratic Party that almost all alone occupies that once bipartisan space in national security policy.”

Senator Kerry, being bipartisan with oneself is not bipartisanship.

  • “Our stalled effort in Afghanistan and our unnecessary and expensive effort in Iraq were coupled with a new and bellicose attitude toward friends and foes alike — the old versus the new Europe; Mission Accomplished; bring it on; and you’re either with us or against us. These were the slogans of an unfocused and at times reckless foreign policy.”

Every president says stupid things, and George Bush said many. But “mission accomplished” was an error of overconfidence in American power, not an apology for it. Contrast that with Barack Obama’s apologia for being America.

  • “The death of bin Laden should be celebrated instead of devolving into a debate over who deserves the credit.”

It is Barack Obama who made the debate about bin Laden into a question of credit, going so far as to run an ad suggesting Mitt Romney wouldn’t have done the same.

  • “Ours is a model for leadership in national security that thinks before it acts, allowing us to respond constructively to the dramatic changes in the Middle East.”

Acts how? To do what? It’s fine to think before you act, if thinking doesn’t take two years and acting isn’t made up of doing nothing.

  • “The president is committed to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.”

And the evidence of that is… collapsed talks with Iran? A failure to admit failure? Or the fact that in three years under Obama, Iran has made more progress toward a weapon than in the previous three decades?

  • “There has been much carping and complaining about Russia and China by the president’s critics. This bellicose rhetoric is all too familiar and tiresome. These nations play a role globally. China in particular is an integral part of the global economy. We have interests, and they have interests. Where there is common ground — like New START and Iran sanctions — we can work together. Where we can’t agree, as is the case with Syria, we pursue our own, independent course.”

What course is that? “Independence course” is yet another euphemism for doing nothin’.

On Tuesday, I wrote up a short list of how four years of Barack Obama have left the United States weaker and more vulnerable than we have been in many years. But let’s review the bidding:

  • Hating Republicans isn’t foreign policy.
  • Apologizing doesn’t mean restoring America’s leadership.
  • Demanding personal credit for killing bin Laden is no less tacky than claiming “mission accomplished.”
  • Thinking before you act is only relevant if you actually think, and um, act.
  • Promising to stop an Iranian nuke is worthless if you don’t have a plan to stop it.
  • Charting an independent course is a lot like thinking before you act. You need a course and you need to act, otherwise you’re pretty much just charting and thinking.  Not leading.

It’s time for a president who actually wants America to lead.

 

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 20
    MON
  • 21
    TUE
  • 22
    WED
  • 23
    THU
  • 24
    FRI
Monday, October 20, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Warfare beneath the waves: The undersea domain in Asia

We welcome you to join us for a panel discussion of the undersea military competition occurring in Asia and what it means for the United States and its allies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters

AEI’s Election Watch is back! Please join us for two sessions of the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What now for the Common Core?

We welcome you to join us at AEI for a discussion of what’s next for the Common Core.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brazil’s presidential election: Real challenges, real choices

Please join AEI for a discussion examining each candidate’s platform and prospects for victory and the impact that a possible shift toward free-market policies in Brazil might have on South America as a whole.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.