Michael Barone

 

The argument is being made in some quarters that, however unsuccessful Barack Obama's domestic policies have been, his record in foreign policy has been successful. But when you examine the claims of success, they seem a bit peculiar.

            Take the widely read New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Last week, he argued that Obama's "lead from behind" approach to Libya worked much better than what turned out to be the Bush administration's protracted involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

            He's certainly right in saying our troops are not mired down in Libya. But it's unclear how things will work out there, as it is in Afghanistan.

            As for Iraq, let's hope that military scholars Frederick and Kimberly Kagan are wrong when they say that the Obama administration's inability to achieve its goal of a U.S. troop presence there has converted what was a limited success into "retreat" and "failure."

            Remember that we were told that the election of Obama would make America more popular in the world and that his readiness to negotiate without preconditions with the leaders of countries like Iran and North Korea would make their leaders more willing to see things our way.

            "He was naive how much his star power," Friedman admits, "or that of his secretary of state, would get others to swoon in behind us." "Naive" is a kind way to put it.

            Obama seemed to think that the replacement of an uncouth Texan by a nuanced African-American would convert determined enemies of the United States -- a supposition that is one of those irritable mental gestures that pass for thought in the faculty lounge.

            Iran is run by a regime that has been committing acts of war against us for more than 30 years, starting with the seizure of diplomats -- a violation of the first rule of international law. North Korea is run by a gangster regime that starves its people and tries to prevent all contact with the outside world.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM