Almost every element of Barack Obama's once-heralded new "reset" foreign policy of a year ago has either been reset or likely soon will be.
Consider Obama's approach to the 8-year-old war on terror. Plans made more than a year ago to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay by January 2010 have stalled. Despite loud proclamations about trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, in a civilian court in New York, such an absurd pledge will probably never be kept.
Talk of trying our own former CIA interrogators for being too tough on terrorist suspects has also come to nothing. And why not put an end to the second-guessing of anti-terrorism protocols since the Obama administration, in a single year, has quadrupled the number of assassinations by Predator drones of suspected Taliban and al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan? After all, the targeted killing of hundreds of suspects is far more questionable than waterboarding three confessed killers.
The Obama administration seems to have embraced the once widely criticized Bush-Petraeus strategy in Iraq of gradual withdrawal in concert with Iraqi benchmarks. Indeed, Vice President Joe Biden in Orwellian fashion claims that our victory in Iraq may be one of the administration's "greatest achievements." Was it not a defeatist Biden who not long ago advocated the trisection of Iraq into separate nations?
And after months of waiting, Obama finally sent more troops to Afghanistan, adopting a surge strategy that looks a lot like Bush's 2007 escalation in Iraq -- this after he once assured the country that Bush's surge, in a tactical sense, "wasn't working."
Almost all of the once derided Bush anti-terrorism protocols are still in place -- wiretaps, intercepts, tribunals, and renditions. And given that there were more foiled radical Islamic terrorist plots in 2009 than in any year since 2001, President Obama will probably stop his outreach speeches to the Islamic world and his serial recitations of American sins.
Our efforts to reach out and negotiate directly with Iran failed. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton effectively acknowledged the impasse, citing the unexpected de facto military coup by the Revolutionary Guard. In any case, does anyone believe that more Obama speeches, videos, new diplomacy and imposed deadlines will halt an Iranian nuclear bomb?
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