Thursday, March 13, 2014


  Two new posts from The Lion:

Daily Show host Jon Stewart ran clips of regressive pundits on Fox attacking President Obama for being weak and for an ineffective foreign policy.  As proof, they pointed to the "mom jeans" the president wore while tossing out the first pitch at a baseball game.  By wearing "mom jeans", Obama became the 21st century equivalent of Neville Chamberlin.

     At last weeks regressive religious revival meeting in Washington D.C. (CPAC), Republican regressives took to the stage to attack the President for being feckless and timid, weak and soft when it comes to foreign policy, in particular in dealing with Iran and Syria and now Russia.  The President is a doormat being stepped on and muddied by foreign leaders eager to test his metal.  Even as these attacks drew hoots and hollers from the audience, what wasn't said was a deafening.  At no point did any speaker sight former presidents George W. Bush or George H.W. Bush, or their party, as examples to be emulated and the reason why Americans should again elect Republicans to the White House.

     Republicans promise not to wear "mom jeans", but beyond that they range from fuzzy to fanciful in their critiques.  They don't like the President's diplomatic strategy with Iran.  What do they propose instead?  A few, most notably Sen. John McCain, would use military force to bomb and destroy Iranian facilities.  This despite the widely accepted belief a military attack could only delay the inevitable while crushing any moderates left in the country and justifying Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon to its people.  It would also justify Iran's use of asymmetrical warfare through the use of Hezbollah and Hamas in attacks on Israel, soft American targets around the world, attacks on shipping or attempts to shut down the straights of Hormuz possibly driving the cost of a barrel of oil to $200-$300.  (can you imagine what would happen to our economy if oil jumped to that price?  It would make the depression of 2007-2008 look like a walk in the park...oh, also imagine if we were exporting energy too and what that would do to the price?)  Others, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio or Texas Senator Ted Cruz, want more economic sanctions.  More economic sanctions would do nothing to affect Iran's military budget (look at North Korea) and would guarantee they would walk away from any new or ongoing negotiations since there would be no advantage to them.  Still other Republicans say let Israel do it for us.  Nothing could be a bigger disaster for us were that to happen.

     These same critics attack Obama on Syria.  Once again McCain and others say we should use military force to topple Assad.  These are the same voices which screamed to get into Afghanistan and Iraq and we saw how well that turned out.  Some say Obama should have armed "moderate" rebels in Syria.  When pressed, none of the President's critics can identify who is moderate and who is Al Qaida.  (these same congressional experts called for arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan much to the benefit of the Taliban and Bin Laden.)  Maybe we should have a no fly zone over Northern Syria they say.  They are silent when confronted with what to do about resistance from allies in the region and Europe...what the rules of engagement would be and what would be done if a plane is shot down...where they would get the money to pay for this plan.  (perhaps we can cut back further on food stamps, day care tax credits and the earned income tax credit while cutting taxes more for the 1%)

     All of this perceived weakness and stumbling by the President is directly responsible for Putin's actions in the Ukraine we are told.  If Obama had bombed Syria after Assad had used chemical weapons...if he would have bombed Iranian nuclear facilities...if he had armed some rebels, any rebels in Syria...if he carpet-bombed Libya after the attacks in Benghazi...Putin would never have dared to invade the Ukraine.  Really?  You mean the same Putin who invaded and annexed parts of Moldova and mean that Putin?  You mean the Putin who moved into Georgia with impunity while George W. Bush was attacking and bombing and invading Afghanistan and Iraq?  That Putin?

     All of the weeping and gnashing of teeth by regressives cannot hide the fact they have nothing to offer as an alternative policy or solution to these problems or to growing unrest in Africa, Egypt, Thailand, or anywhere else.  They accuse the President of playing checkers while Putin plays chess, yet when asked how they would differ from the President's policies they look like deer caught in the headlights and manage to sputter how they would be stronger and more resolute.  Not one regress is advocating military force in the Ukraine.  They offer no plan on how to get the European Union to back strong economic sanctions.  (something the E.U. seems determined to avoid)  When asked for alternative proposals, they are mute.  The only comments they offer are how the "mom jeans" wearing president is at fault or is too soft and not up to the task at hand.  This is the equivalent of playing with matches in a room filled with gasoline.  They undercut the President...give the impression of disunity in the nation...provide aid and comfort to our enemies and hurt our ability to bring pressure on Europe to step up.

     Obama has not helped his own cause very much.  Hillary Clinton sounds more hawkish and strident than John Kerry.  Obama did blink in Syria when he ignored the red line he himself laid out.  (remembering of course that Congress at the time made it clear it would not support the use of force in Syria.)  The attack in Benghazi was a debacle and his attempt to restart his relationship with Putin and Russia has yielded view dividends and looks naive.  (although Syria has increased the pace of getting rid of chemical weapons and Iran is still at the table talking and Russia at least didn't torpedo these efforts)

     President Obama faces allies economically dependent on Russia who are reluctant to take Putin on and seem to be willing to even let him have the Crimea if he is nice about it.  (shades of Munich)  These same allies are not much better when it came to Syria and Iran.  Despite this, the President has to forcefully respond to the Russian aggression and he must be creative since military force is off the table.

     It is tiring and disheartening to watch politicians who offer no plan of their solution...take no political risk...have no responsibility for foreign policy...refuse to stick their necks out and then attack the President for being weak and soft because of the style of jeans he chose to wear when the last time most of them, and their party were in power they invaded two sovereign states on specious grounds, cost the American taxpayers over $1 trillion in treasure and the loss of thousands of young soldier's lives in blood in what is now recognized as a foreign policy disaster of biblical proportions.

     I'll take mom jeans over that any day.


  1. How DARE this President try to avoid war? The nerve!!??!!

  2. I am not sure this is about war vs. diplomacy as much as it is about continuation of the theme and policies proposed by PNAC. The corporate plutocracy promotes force to infuse fear in those who would disagree or fail to align with American special interests.To them, it matters little if the U.S. is the only remaining superpower if it cannot impose its will on smaller countries.