Obama’s Last Big Foreign Trip…A Bust

So, Barack Obama was going to make one last splash in foreign policy (kind of like a belly flop?) while he was still in office. In the past seven-plus years it hasn’t been a fruitful area for him to venture into, but he was going to give it one more try. This time it was the G20 summit in China. Well, it didn’t really start out all that well.

When Bobo landed, the Chinese decided not to wheel out the stairs for him to come down. When the press got off the plane (finally), and were shown to the area where they always film the president coming off the plane, there were heckled and told to leave by a group of Chinese. When they explained it was “our airplane and our president”, one angry Chinese told them, “It’s our COUNTRY!”.

There have been several other squabbles between the Chinese and the Americans over things the White House felt had been negotiated eons before, such as where the 12 members of the press that were traveling with the president would be stationed during the meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. When the American advance team got to the room, they were told there was no room for the 12 member press pool. There was fighting between the two sides when it came to access to the site, and there was fighting about who was going to be allowed in from the White House Staff.

All of this of course, was spun as “minor inconveniences that we normally experience in a foreign country” by the White House. But then again, it just underscores the lack of respect that the Obama administration has been receiving around the world due to the president’s lack of decision making skills. China, like Russia, has decided long ago with this guy that they can now take full advantage of America because the president isn’t going to do anything about their aggressive behavior. Oh, they’ll talk a good game in public, and for the media, but behind the scenes? Nope…it’s run roughshod over Bobo and leave tire-marks on his forehead. This is just one of the many problems the United States gets to encounter because we have a commander-in-chief that is scared to make tough decisions.

What about the Spratley Island controversy? What about Chinese hacking of American companies? What about trade imbalances, and currency manipulations? Where do you think the Chinese are going to cave in any of these negotiations? The answer is simple. They aren’t going to cave. They are going to push until somebody pushes back at them. Russia is doing the same think with Ukraine and Crimea. And the US response has been non-existent. And like Hitler in the 1930’s, both of these countries are going to keep pushing until they start World War III. Of course, Obama will be out of office at that point, so it won’t be his fault. After all, he can’t be blamed for anything that happened after he left office (hello Iran Nuclear agreement?).

The man has been a loser as a president. No foreign policy accomplishments, just foreign policy caves. And he has made the United States the laughing stock of the world. And we are seriously considering putting someone in as a successor that wants to continue the same policies? If we do, we have no one to blame but ourselves!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

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13 thoughts on “Obama’s Last Big Foreign Trip…A Bust

  1. Well Desert, I will not dwell on the minor problems that you blow up like tRump’s hair as they are unimportant. I would rather focus on the Crimea and Ukraine thing.

    I have a question for you, which you probably won’t answer or that lightweight Lorra B or Rifleman who basically is a cut and paste expert, what should our response should have been, aside from talk? Do we respond militarily and how? Do we want to invade another sovereign nation and what would be Putin’s response? Do we bomb them? Do we send military aid, how much and to whom? I believe our response would the same as that of the president that did not exist between 2001 and 2009 to the invasion of Georgia, nothing. Even Grandpa McCrackey of Arizona who was running at the time had no real response.

    So all you conservative foreign policy experts out there, what should have done, why and what would be the Russkies response.

    I look forward to your responses because this should be a few laughs.

    • Snarky, as I’m sure you are aware, there are no easy answers, and since, for the moment, the world has neither blown up nor seen a row of Eastern Europe dominoes fall — you are arguing from a position of strength. Have you read Clancy’s (or his co-author’s/successor’s) take on this issue? “Tom Clancy Commander in Chief: A Jack Ryan Novel”? It’s almost like reading a current history book on the Ukraine/Crimea… except that it was written beforehand and ends up with a somewhat different status quo.

      It’s a dangerous situation, and despite the natural view of Trump as being more of a potential warmonger than Clinton, the opposite might actually end up being the case: Clinton wouldn’t be a warMONGER per se… but her reasonable and sane approach to solving conflicts peacefully *could* easily end up tempting several of the crazies we’re currently facing around the world into action. And at that point Clinton, particularly feeling the onus of being our first female president and not wanting to go down in the history books as weak, would no longer be the meek, mild, reasonable, sane female that some of those crazies might have been expecting. But by then it’ll be too late: we’ll be in the middle of a war.

      Trump on the other hand, being viewed as a likely militarist crazy himself, might make Putin, ISIS, Kim Jong Il, and whoever’s pushing China’s expansion into the South China Sea and sharpening its eye on Taiwan, think twice about what they might end up with if they don’t move back to playing nice in the playpen. Meanwhile, despite his image, I don’t see Trump as likely throwing out military into anything currently out there in the world: the President isn’t a despot, even if he/she wants to be, and a Congress and a set of military leaders who would never dare countermand or interfere with an overly aggressive response by Clinton might very well throw some sand in the gears of any overreaction by a Trump presidency.

      I never, ever, expected that I’d vote against a woman for US President if I saw one run, but this time, whether it’s for Trump or one of the third parties, I think I’ll be voting against Clinton.

      – MJM, the co-creator and first graduate of the first fully interdisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree program in the U.S. — Manhattan College, 1973.

    • Actually Snarky, let me be clear about what the REAL answer should have been. See, it’s tough to answer this in the present day because the weakness of the president has caused the whole situation. IF Obama had been a strong world leader instead of a wimp, this type of situation never would have happened. But he lost the respect of the world leaders…including Putin and Jinping. That meant that the Russians, the Chinese, the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Iranians, the Iraqis, hell, the French and the British could take advantage of us knowing full well that nothing would happen. Why? I don’t have a clue as to why. Maybe Obama was so focused on making “transformational changes in the US government” that he forgot that his job was to lead in the eyes of the world as well. Maybe he just is a wimp, I don’t know. You would have to ask him. What would I do at this point? I would make damn sure we elect someone that is going to be strong and not take the crap of getting kicked around the playground. This was brought on by a leader’s weakness. It can only be solved through strength, and no, I wouldn’t answer anything militarily. This president doesn’t have the capability to do that successfully. No one would believe it’s a sincere message…more like another joke that we’ve become in the world.

  2. So Desert, let me sum up the answers posted here, a Tom Clancy novel and basically I don’t know. Your assessment of the Middle East and Obama is incorrect. The French and the British post WWI along with the president who shall not be named basically fucked that up. We should leave because the area is incredibly tribal, clans and family and we can never sort out.

    Russia has always wanted a warm water port for their ships and the Crimea fit the bill. The Ukraine is a bit more dicey as there has always been a tense relationship between these two countries. Remember that Ukraine was the first country to break from the old soviet Union back in 1989. Putin has a shitload of problems, Chechnya which has fought him to a stalemate, Chechen Muslims that have committed terrorists acts even into the heart of Moscow, i.e., the subway bombing a few years ago, the economy is in shambles because of the low energy prices and their currency is a couple of nasty events (mostly energy) that will turn it into toilet paper. The natives are restless and he is not as popular as you would think in Russia. So, what he is doing is the old distraction act, making his citizens afraid of something (whatever) and saying who is to blame, the West.

    The break up of the Soviet Union made them a second tier country on the world stage. Puty is doing these things to bring Russia back to the top tier. He never wanted to cut a deal with Obama in China over Syria because Assad his guy. He was never going to let Assad ground his air force. This was just to get him some perceived power.

    Bottom line, within the geographical of Russia, they can do whatever they want and there is nothing we can do about it.

    FYI, Hillary is a right of center hawk on defense and world affairs. Trump is an ill informed blow hole. Release the returns oranje boy.

    • Yeah…but that’s not what you asked me. You asked me what our response should have been aside from talk. That was your request. I told you that at this point, with this president we don’t have another response. We blew that opportunity. You know the old, “You have one chance to make a first impression” line? Well, he made it. It said, “I’m a very weak leader, an even weaker person, and certainly not at all concerned with what you are doing in your country.” Despots and dictators take that as “walk all over me”. That was the real problem. You don’t need to go back to World War I and talk about the British and the French. You only have to go back to an Apology Tour at the start of 2009. THAT is all this is about. He blew it then. He was seen as weak and ineffective at that point in time. The whole point is, Obama cannot change this. His character is steeled in the minds of those who are now taking advantage of him. And he doesn’t have enough time left in office to get anything done even if he did. HE brought this whole reaction on himself, and HE is the one to blame. I know liberals don’t like to take the blame for anything…they want a Republican to come along and clean up their messes (which the Republicans usually do)…but in this instance, like the instance with so many things Obama has his finger prints on, this is HIS problem. I can’t fix HIS problem, and at this point neither can he.

  3. Michael, you may have noted in my ID here the word historian and that should tell you something about what I consider background reading. According to you if I read Ken Follett’s trilogy of the 20th Century, it will bring me up to speed on Europe and America during this period or would I rather read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August or Joseph Stillwell and the China Experience, A.J.P. Taylor’s history of the Great War, Basil Rausch’s From Munich to Pearl Harbor, Eric Goldman’s The Crucial Decade and After, David Halberstram’s The Fifties or his book The Best and The Brightest, Francis Fitzgerald’s Fire in the Lake, Mark Kurlansky’s 1968, Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower. You tell Me

    Tom Clancy was an insurance salesman who had many clients who were formerly in government that gave him background.

    Interesting story, after 9/11 Lawrence Wright was investigated by the Secret Service and who know who else in the government because of his research and knowledge of Al Qaeda, yet Tom Clancy was never investigated because of his book Debt of Honor. Double standard?

    I highly recommend The Looming Tower, learn something real for a change.

    • I’ll check out The Looming Tower, but stand by my rec on the Clancy book. Sure, it’s fiction, but it shows how things can develop and are not always well-controlled in international frictions: a very dangerous fact in a world with big red buttons to push.

      Re Debt of Honor: I most certainly did have thoughts about how Clancy must have felt, but somewhere along the line out there I read an article that argued Clancy, far from “giving Al Quada” ideas, was simply taking a real security concern that had been longstanding and under-prepared-for and showcased how real the threat was.

      I don’t know if my perceptions were accurate, but it seemed to me that Clancy took a hiatus from his writing for a while after 9/11.

      – MJM
      P.S. I’m currently re-reading a book that made a great impression on me when I read it about 45 years ago: Senator Ernest Gruening’s “The Vietnam Folly.” It’s not quite as earthshaking as I remember it, but perhaps that’s just because I’ve grown more aware of how governments operate. Back in the early 70s I was still quite shockable in that regard.

  4. Michael, another book on Viet Nam I read about forty years ago was by Phillip Caputo titled a Rumor of War. What make the book interesting is that he served in Viet Nam as a Marine in the mid 60’s and then covered the fall in 1975 as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Might be a little dated now but was one of the first books by a Nam Vet. One quote I remember from the book is regarding a battle. He said it was just like the movies only without a sound track.

    Hope you enjoy The Looming Tower as it is a great read and easily digestible, meaning my significant other read it and really enjoyed it, much to my surprise. It’s a history of Al Qaeda.

    Senator Ernest Gruening, I believe he was a Senator from Alaska and I believe he migrated to Senator J. William Fulbright’s camp on Viet Nam.

    I recommend anything by Barbara Tuchman, a historian without any formal training and at least one Pulitzer. I am currently re-reading her book A Distant Mirror, about Europe in the 14th Century. My current passion in Medieval history, something I picked up in college but always an interest in. This century redefined Europe and was the basis for how it is today. The Black Death played a huge role.

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