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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "Go Big, Get Crazy": If Pigs Had Wings

Obama's foreign policy is beyond broken. It is irreparable, and even Obama's foreign policy cheerleader at The Washington Post, David Ignatius, has woken up to the meltdown.

In a WaPo opinion piece entitled "Obama tends to create his own foreign policy headaches" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-damage-to-obamas-foreign-policy-has-been-largely-self-inflicted/2014/05/06/d3e7665a-d550-11e3-aae8-c2d44bd79778_story.html?hpid=z2), Ignatius finally acknowledges:

"Under Obama, the United States has suffered some real reputational damage. I say that as someone who sympathizes with many of Obama’s foreign policy goals. This damage, unfortunately, has largely been self-inflicted by an administration that focuses too much on short-term messaging. At key turning points — in Egypt and Libya during the Arab Spring, in Syria, in Ukraine and, yes, in Benghazi — the administration was driven by messaging priorities rather than sound, interests-based policy."

Or stated otherwise, Obama's foreign policy has been all about imagery with no accompanying substance. As every tin-pot dictator in the world has come to know, Obama talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk.

Meanwhile, however, over at The New York Times, Thomas Friedman continues to proffer windy advice to a president who is standing at the side of the road without gas or any sense of direction. In his latest Times op-ed entitled "Go Big, Get Crazy" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/07/opinion/friedman-go-big-get-crazy.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0), Tom Terrific concludes:

"Putin may think he’s Superman, but, the fact is, America, Europe and the Ukrainian reformers collectively have the ability to generate the Kryptonite that would render him powerless: European unity, Ukrainian government legitimacy and U.S. energy. Those are the things of which he is most afraid. What they all have in common, though, is that they’re hard, entail serious choices and will require extraordinary leadership to achieve. So watch all these fronts. I can assure you that Putin is [sic]."

Superman? Kryptonite? Regrettably, this truly is comic book material.

"European unity"? Of the kind demonstrated by the EU in the face of Assad's use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians? More than 140,000 Syrians are dead and some 9 million Syrians have abandoned their homes (Syria has a total population of 22 million), but Europe couldn't give a damn. On the other hand, if Israel announces the construction of a dozen new apartment buildings in East Jerusalem, watch Europeans go wild.

Ukrainian government legitimacy"? Corruption is interwoven into the fabric of that nation's governance. As reported by the Kyiv Post (http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/transparency-international-slams-ukraine-as-most-corrupt-in-europe-332965.html):

"In its 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index released today, Transparancy International slammed Ukraine, calling the country the most corrupt nation in Europe and the fifth most corrupt in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Ukraine tied for 144th place in the ranking with Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Iran, Nigeria, and Papua New Guinea. That ranking placed it ahead of several Central Asian post-Soviet states, including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan."

Which leaves us with Friedman's call for a revolution in US energy policy, including a revenue-neutral carbon tax. But with the Democrats facing the worst midterm election results in 20 years (see: http://time.com/87792/2014-midterm-elections-poll/), don't be expecting any new legislative initiatives from the Obama administration.

Take Friedman's advice and "watch all these fronts"? My advice to Tom, "If pigs had wings, they would fly."

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