Rich Galen

Here's what I hate: When reality overtakes your favorite theory and you look like a blithering moron.

It happens to me with some regularity, so I know what I'm talking about.

Remember back in 2008 when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama couldn't wait to answer questions during debates so they could trash George W.?

Remember how we were told that once W. was out and Obama was in that the world would be so relieved that we would all be able to live in peace and harm-oh-nee?

That dreaded reality.

Barack Obama was going to close Guantanamo. Remember?

Still open.

Barack Obama was going to change that stupid DHC system of color codes. Remember?

Color codes still in effect.

Obama would withdraw combat troops from Iraq.

There are 50,000 U.S. troops still there and they aren't walking around in sun glasses, Hawaiian shirts, and flip-flops. They're patrolling in night vision goggles, ceramic vests, and combat boots.

Barack Obama did away with the "War on Terror" and changed it to something like "Foosball on Terror" with the promise that it would cause the bad guys to want to come over for some Shawarma and hummus and talk about how the Afghanistan national soccer team would be a real force in the 2014 World Cup.

The terrorists are still at war with us whether we're at war with them or not. Notwithstanding that Barack H. not George W. has been strutting astride the world stage since noon January 20, 2009, the U.S. Department of State has had to issue a "travel alert" warning U.S. citizens about the dangers of traveling to … Europe. Not Kandahar. Not Tehran. Not Tikrit.

Europe.

The Eifel tower in Paris. The Spanish Steps in Rome. The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Europe.

This is how the alert begins:

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe. Current information suggests that al-Qa'ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks."

The other countries and regions for which there are travel alerts are India, Bolivia, and Kenya.

And France. And Germany.

It's not just Obama and Bush. If you've followed the saga of how the Brits have treated former Prime Minister Tony Blair, you'll be interested to know that, according to the Voice of America:

"London raised its threat assessment to high for citizens traveling to France and Germany."

Here's the somewhat more dire warning from the Foreign Office: "Like other large European countries, the French authorities continue to consider that there is a high threat of terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers."

Apologies are due Mr. Blair, as well, I think.

According to the International Herald Tribune (a division of the New York Times) which is based in Paris:

A "travel alert" of the kind issued Sunday is considered to be far less disruptive than a "travel warning" that would advise Americans to stay away from certain high-threat areas.

In case you were thinking of changing your plane ticket from CDG (Paris) to LHR (London) consider this from the Herald Tribune quoting the British home secretary, Theresa May, on the American alert:

"As we have consistently made clear, we face a real and serious threat from terrorism," Ms. May said in a statement Sunday. "Our threat level remains at severe -- meaning that an attack is highly likely."

According to the French news service Agence France-Presse (AFP), "U.S.-based airlines reported no noticeable increase in ticket cancellations Sunday after the United States and Britain warned their citizens of an increased risk of terror attacks in Europe."

As of 9:00 last night neither Delta Airlines' nor American Airlines' web pages (I am a million-miler on each) contained any mention of the travel alert for Europe.

While official Washington has been focused on the departure of Rahm Emmanuel as the White House Chief of Staff, and Larry Summers as economic advisor, it should be focused on the President's national security team.

As abysmal as Obama has been on domestic policy (9.6 percent unemployment comes to mind) his foreign policy is even more inept. And more physically dangerous.

George W. Bush and Tony Blair saw the world as it is: Dangerous, especially for those who show evidence of weakness.

Barack Obama sees the world as he wishes it to be: A Coca-Cola commercial in which teaching the world to sing "perfect harmony" will solve everything.

It made for a wonderful TV ad, but not very effective foreign policy. I wish Bush and Blair were still in office.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.