Mr. Obama's much-touted "reset" of relations with Russia has been shown to be a Potemkin exercise, with the end of the pretense that Washington had a more friendly and reliable partner in President Dmitry Medvedev giving way to the reality that the unremittingly hostile and authoritarian Vladimir Putin has been calling the shots all along - and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Team Obama's massive investment (financial and political) in the United Nations has also proven a bust. Its willingness to diminish the U.S. role to more-or-less that of any other nation, while insisting on continuing to pick up more than a fifth of the organization's tab has reduced America not just to a paper tiger but a patsy, to boot. Meanwhile, the 57-member bloc known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is increasingly calling the shots, with help from the Russians and Chinese who can be relied upon to block anything remotely useful to us.
Matters are made vastly worse by President Obama's decisions to hollow out the United States military. As he memorably put it, "the nice thing about the defense budget is that it's so big, it's so huge, that a 1 percent reduction is the equivalent of the education budget." That sort of attitude has resulted in at least $460 billion worth of cuts in defense spending to date.
The associated damage is likely to be compounded by further reductions at the hands of the congressional supercommittee or, failing acceptance of its recommendations by the full Congress, via a meat-ax known as "sequestration." The latter would impose a further roughly $600 billion across-the-board reduction in Pentagon spending. The Obama administration's own civilian and uniformed defense leaders have warned that the effects of such a one-two punch would be catastrophic.
Should expertise on national security and foreign policy be a prerequisite for the presidency? The answer obviously must be a resounding "Yes" - especially in a world as dangerous as ours. Have we had it over the past nearly three years? The answer is equally resoundingly, "No."
We have to insist on a level of competence in the defense and foreign policy portfolio of our elected national leaders. In that connection, it is heartening that twoof the upcoming debates between Republican presidential candidates - one on November 12th at Wofford College in South Carolina and one sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and CNN in Washington on November 22nd - will focus on national security-related topics.
While the liquidations of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and a number of other high-profile terrorists on President Obama's watch are welcome, those accomplishments are, regrettably, more than offset by his serious failings like those noted above. The American people deserve, and need, a competent Commander-in-Chief. And they had better insist on getting one.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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