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Obama Foreign Policy Under Fire from His Former Defense Secretaries

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President Obama has been boasting of his foreign policy prowess, in part by criticizing other world leaders. Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal cited Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent article in The Atlantic based on his interview with the President, in which Obama aimed criticism at Prime Minister David Cameron of England and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, among others:

David Cameron comes in for a scolding on U.K. military spending, as well as for getting ‘distracted’ on Libya. Nicolas Sarkozy, the former and possibly future president of France, is dismissed by Mr. Obama as a posturing braggart.

But according to several officials who served in high level national security positions under President Obama, it is the President himself who has made some major blunders and bad decisions that have damaged our national security and weakened our leadership position in the world.

The Fox News Channel recently aired a special on the state of the military and the challenges it has recently faced titled “Rising Threats—Shrinking Military.” It has received almost no coverage from the mainstream media, despite the fact that numerous former Obama administration officials used this opportunity to lambast the President’s policies toward Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and more. Their criticisms span the entire length of President Obama’s two terms in office. Perhaps it is the very fact that these people are speaking out against President Obama’s flawed leadership as commander-in-chief that has led to an almost complete media blackout. And it raises the question, why didn’t they speak out much sooner, when it might have made a difference?

“According to the report, [former Defense Secretary Robert] Gates was told to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the defense budget after already having slashed it,” reports The Hill. “I guess I’d have to say I felt double-crossed,” Gates told Fox News. “After all those years in Washington, I was naïve.”

US News & World Report also briefly highlights how Gates claims that Obama chose to push for Egypt’s leader Hosni Mubarak to leave despite the advice of his national security team.

“Literally the entire national security team recommended, unanimously, handling Mubarak differently than we did,” said Gates. “And the President took the advice of three junior backbenchers, in terms of how to treat Mubarak—one of them saying, ‘Mr. President, you gotta be on the right side of history.’”

As we have repeatedly reported, both Obama and the press regularly try to bolster President Obama’s legacy at the expense of the truth. The truth is that President Obama’s signature legacies, such as his deals with Iran and Cuba, involved reaching out to totalitarian regimes, and making deals that were terrible for the U.S., but great for Cuba and Iran.

In fact, there is no signed deal with Iran, and the Iranian regime has repeatedly made clear that they have no intention of abiding by what the Obama administration claims are the terms of the deal. Iran has shown complete contempt for Obama and the U.S. since collecting more than $100 billion of previously frozen funds. In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef al Otaiba argued that “Since the nuclear deal, however, Iran has only doubled down on its posturing and provocations. In October, November and again in early March, Iran conducted ballistic-missile tests in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.” He added that “It is now clear that one year since the framework for the deal was agreed upon, Iran sees it as an opportunity to increase hostilities in the region.”

Other than a short mention given to Gates’ comments, the media coverage of this Fox News special has been superficial at best. One of the most stunning aspects of this documentary, however, is how many eminent voices spoke out against the President: former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary Gates, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and former Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn all criticized Obama’s wartime strategy during his time in office.

When President Obama was elected he did so as a candidate strongly opposed to the Iraq War.

“Even at the time, it was possible to make judgments that this [Iraq war] would not work out well,” claimed then-candidate Obama in 2007, according to Reuters. Yet after gaining office President Obama’s opposition to leaving troops in Iraq seemed both political and idealistic.

Panetta stressed how important it was to keep the American military in Iraq to maintain stability. “It was really important that we try to maintain a military presence there [in Iraq], in order to make sure that the gains that had been achieved, [through] a lot of blood, by the United States as well as Iraqis, that those gains could be maintained,” he said.

President Obama completely withdrew our troops from Iraq, announcing at the time, in December of 2011, that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” Now Iraq is overrun with brutal Islamic State jihadis and Iranian-backed militias, effectively overthrowing that “self-reliant Iraq” that President Obama spoke of in 2011.

During the Fox News special, Panetta also criticized swapping Bowe Bergdahl for the Taliban Five. “I don’t mind, obviously, the effort at negotiation, but you don’t just walk in and say, ‘Oh, yeah, we’ll give you five bad guys,’” he said. “What assurance do we have that they’re not going to wind up blowing up innocent Americans?”

Again, it seems that President Obama continues to make the world more and more dangerous by appeasing the enemy, yet calling each situation a success on his part. As we wrote when Bergdahl was charged with “misbehavior before the enemy,” swapping this deserter for Taliban leaders only encourages future kidnappings of members of our armed forces.

Although President Obama did intervene militarily in Libya alongside a coalition of forces, some critics argue that he has been loath to commit U.S. forces to necessary conflicts. Flynn told Bret Baier that it looked like President Obama was afraid of using the U.S. military. “I think that he looks at the United States military and sees it as a threatening application around the world than actually as a useful tool,” he said. When Obama capitulated on his red line against Syria using chemical weapons, Flynn says the United States “demonstrated weakness instead of strength.”

“Secretary Hagel told us the President’s decision damaged American’s credibility,” noted Baier in the report.

While the Fox News special report largely avoided discussing the Benghazi scandal, the September 11, 2012 terror attacks demonstrate how President Obama’s policy of leading from behind and refusing to commit troops has led to the death of Americans abroad.

This Fox News special report demonstrated that President Obama’s credibility has been in short supply as he continues to use the military for social engineering instead of winning wars. But don’t expect any coverage from the mainstream media, no matter how convincing, or influential, the figures are who condemn Obama’s mismanagement of our military.

You can watch the entire Fox News special, “Rising Threats—Shrinking Military” here.



 

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