Liberal critics derided President Bush for engaging in cowboy diplomacy, or "going alone." Those same critics neglect to notice that Obama is employing a more dubious strategy than Bush. Obama has pursued a confused and aimless foreign policy based on the idea that he can personally sway foreign heads of state with his charisma. Unfortunately for our nation his "follow me because I'm charismatic" policy has proven to be devastatingly ineffective. Obama alienates our friends and appears cowardly by appeasing our enemies.
Obama was elected promising to improve the standing of America in the world; he has failed miserably. In September, Obama agreed to Russian demands and abandoned the Eastern European missile shield. This alienated allies Poland and the Czech Republic, who had risked much to participate in the shield, only to see Obama turn his back on them. This move signaled other countries that America does not stick by her agreements. Obama showed he will abandon America's friends when it is politically expedient.
Obama further caved to Russia by signing a nuclear agreement that could have been written by Putin himself. Obama gave the Russians everything they wanted without negotiating any significant benefits in return. The Russians agreed to a downsizing in their nuclear arsenal, but that downsizing was going to occur anyway. On all the important issues, including tactical nuclear weapons, missile defense, and verification Obama made serious blunders.
With this treaty as a backdrop Obama called a nuclear summit. Two of our closest allies skipped the event. Then Obama earned complaints from the foreign press because the whole event was essentially held in secret. Aside from agreeing on certain platitudes, the summit accomplished nothing.
In an attempt to further appease Putin, Obama refused to meet with Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia. This is embarrassing given that Georgia, as one of our most loyal allies, has contributed the most troops per capita in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, Obama met individually with the leaders of Ukraine, Turkey and Armenia, all nations friendly with Moscow. This is just another example of Obama seemingly punishing allies and rewarding enemies.
Neither Gordon Brown nor Benjamin Netanyahu attended the nuclear summit. According to Nile Gardiner of the London Telegraph, Obama treats both these allies with "sneering contempt." Obama offended the British out of a sheer lack of manners; remember the DVD set and the iPod for the Queen? His administration also sided against Great Britain in the dispute over the Falkland Islands. The British worry Obama has abandoned the longstanding "special relationship" between the U.S. and the U.K.
Obama offended Netanyahu by spitefully seeking to bully the prime minister, according to Israeli sources. At their most recent meeting in D.C., Obama presented Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands. When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Obama stated he was going to have dinner with his family and wheeled around and left the room. This sort of rudeness is unprecedented when directed towards a close ally.
After the contentious meeting, the U.S. announced that Obama may outline his own roadmap to peace in the Middle East which would require that Israel cease building settlements in Eastern Jerusalem. Talk about going alone; Obama unilaterally is demanding new internal housing policies in another sovereign nation.
The Obama and Bush administrations are essentially polar opposites with dramatically different results. Bush believed that it is better to be feared than loved. Obama is pursuing a policy based on the idea that he would rather be loved. The results have been abysmal. The crowning achievement of Bush's foreign policy, besides keeping us safe for eight years, was when Moammar Gadhafi abandoned his nuclear ambitions and agreed to open his country to inspectors after we had invaded Iraq to enforce years of U.N. resolutions. Progress was achieved through strength.
What has Obama achieved? China has refused to make concessions regarding its monetary policy, or move to put pressure on Iran. Ahmadinejad continues mocking Obama and the international community by pushing forward with Iran's nuclear ambitions. Obama has yet to get any new commitments for new troops in Afghanistan. Obama's position of negotiating through weakness is damaging the credibility of our once great nation.