Category Archive 'Charles Lipson'

20 May 2014

Charles Lipson on Obama’s Foreign Policy Meltdown

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My Yale classmate, Charles Lipson is Professor of Political Science, specializing in international relations and international political history, at the University of Chicago.

This Chicago Tribune editorial demonstrates that Obama has lost the moderate professoriate,

At a recent meeting with two dozen Chicago leaders, some Democrats, some Republicans, I asked a simple question, “Can anyone name a significant American achievement in world affairs over the past five years?”

The room was completely silent. Since the group had traveled widely, I posed a second question, “Have any of you visited countries where relations with America are better than five years ago?” Again, silence.

These were people who zip all over the globe and deal with senior officials. Many had backed Barack Obama’s historic presidential candidacy in 2008 and his re-election in 2012. Yet they were stumped when asked to name any recent achievement in American foreign policy.

Over the past few months, I have posed the same questions to a variety of groups, some American, some European and Asian. Can anyone think of a major American success on the global stage? Can anyone name a stronger bilateral relationship? Silence. There’s usually an awkward pause before they begin grumbling about America’s sinking stature and incoherent policies. …

Today, the Obama strategy is a smoking ruin, torched by reality. That’s why nobody, including Hillary Clinton, can name any foreign policy achievements. The president has not acknowledged these gaping failures or devised a new approach beyond his rhetorical “pivot to Asia,” which infuriated our allies in Europe and the Middle East.

The president needs to articulate a coherent new strategy to contain a belligerent Russia, a rising China, a nuclear-obsessed Iran, and a resurgent al-Qaida terror network. He needs to finalize trade agreements with Europe and Asia, both to buttress our economy and to strengthen our alliances. He needs to stop voting “present” on the Keystone XL pipeline and give Canada an up-or-down decision. He needs to assure Europe that America is rapidly developing alternatives to its dependence on Russian natural gas. In short, he needs to stop lurching, rudderless, from crisis to crisis, outmaneuvered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Iranian mullahs, and even the Syrian Baathists. It’s time for the president to discard his old, failed strategy, formulate a new approach, and offer some leadership before he, too, passes the baton.

This editorial is behind a subscription firewall. To get around it, just Google “America’s meltdown abroad.”


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