The Hill: What does the world look like without American leadership in some form, when necessary, or a risk possibly worth taking? The headlines tell the daily story. Our foreign policy must be pragmatic, not of immediate convenience or wishful projection, as the Obama administration has employed for the past five years. President Obama’s precipitous withdrawal in policy approach and militarily has consequences.
By David Webb
What does the world look like without American leadership in some form, when necessary, or a risk possibly worth taking? The headlines tell the daily story. Our foreign policy must be pragmatic, not of immediate convenience or wishful projection, as the Obama administration has employed for the past five years.
President Obama’s precipitous withdrawal in policy approach and militarily has consequences. We see these consequences playing out in Gaza, Ukraine, Europe at large, Libya, Iraq, Asia, South and Central America and in other geographic areas of growing global concern. This is more than a military issue and includes economic and cultural leadership. Other presidents have at times recognized the necessity for a world with American leadership and acted accordingly, based on existing intelligence. It is also fair to acknowledge the harm done to our intelligence apparatus in recent years by the administration. Now we rely too heavily on non-American assets, which brings into question the quality of our overall intelligence and the context necessary to make sound choices. Were all administration actions in the past successful? The answer is no. It never will be. The same applies to future administrations.
Political hindsight is not 20/20, therefore it is unrealistic to expect or project current decisions or views as such. The 20/20 projection of the Obama foreign policy and worldview is where the fundamental flaw begins. The Obama administration, Secretary of State John Kerry and an inept national security team, as well as the likes of Ben Rhodes of Benghazi video fame, view the world as they would perceive it to be. The world has not or ever will be as perceived. Globally, reality overcomes perception every time. There are too many factors and actors. In many cases control is temporary, and long-term control in the span of decades a wishful illusion over necessary and periodic evolution.
Is Obama leading or reacting? The answer is he believes he is leading. But because that is not true leadership, or even communicated properly, the result is that the administration is reacting. The recent Gaza debacle by Kerry under Obama’s foreign policy stance is further evidence of this failure. In the administration’s view, it is 1963 in the Middle East with respect to Israel, and it favors a return to the 1967 borders as part of its strategy.
Continued lack of leadership domestically and lack of accountability in multiple scandals demonstrates to the world a rudderless administration. This infuriates many of our allies and emboldens our enemies.
What we need are realistic decisions, which come with the uncertainty of success or disaster. Foreign policy and diplomacy are about choices. At times choices are limited and at best not ideal. The Obama administration needs to connect the dots globally. The left’s constant drumbeat of a global community is consistent in avoiding the connected effects of nation states’ actions and a widening multinational radical Muslim terrorist militancy. In a vacuum of leadership, Russian opportunism under Vladimir Putin will spread. Outright bad actors Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Taliban, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and many more who share the same ideology are attacking daily.
Here are the important questions we must ask of the loyal opposition known as the Republican Party, of presidential hopefuls and congressional and senatorial candidates. We must ask the same of the Democrats.
(1) What is your foreign policy stance and how will you carry it out with respect to the situation in __________?
(2) How will you use economic power?
(3) How will any of the aforementioned parties adjust as needed when a policy goes badly, or well, for that matter?
(4) Who are the world stage actors we can work with?
(5) Will your foreign policy approach have accountability even on a sliding scale, and how will this be enforced?
(6) We are in a civilization struggle with radical Islam in every form. Other nations like Russia deal with similar issues and act dangerously in the vacuum of American leadership. What is your war footing? What is the American people’s war footing?
Webb is host of “The David Webb Show” on SiriusXM Patriot 125, a Fox News contributor, and has appeared frequently on television as a commentator.