Obama's national security flop
By Jennifer Rubin
Published: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
President Obama, conservatives have long suspected, is not much interested in foreign policy. National security leaks? No one knows what became of that faux investigation. Benghazi? The president couldn't bother to stay in the loop when American lives were imperiled.
Then there is our greatest national security threat, Iran. The Associated Press and The Times of Israel reported that Iran has picked 16 new locations for nuclear plants and “discovered new uranium resources in the country that will put its reserves at 4,400 tons compared to 1,527 tons three decades ago.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sounded the alarm that Iran was approaching “a red line.” Did Obama even mention any of this? No, he was running around the country this past weekend catastrophizing about an invented budget crisis. For all intents and purposes, Netanyahu is now the West's protector. (Surely no one can conceive that the president who nominated Chuck Hagel for Defense secretary would plan and execute a military strike on Iran.)
To the extent he thinks about national security, Obama is transfixed by liberal nostrums:
The United States causes many of the world's problems.
Israel is an oppressor.
We spend too much on defense.
While that may be acceptable banter for the Harvard faculty lounge, it is downright scary when it comes to the president of the United States. How scary? In addition to the president's lack of focus on Iran, his administration's carelessness with national security secrets and his going AWOL during the Sept. 11 attack in Libya, consider that the president is ready to put a feeble crony in charge of the Pentagon.
Given Hagel's abject unfitness (verging on confusion about national security and our various policy positions) and his admission that he will have much to learn about the Defense Department, one can only imagine that underlings will control Pentagon operations while political hacks in the White House will make the big calls.
With regard to Afghanistan, the president is pulling up stakes prematurely. In Iraq, the absence of U.S. forces on the ground has ushered in a new round of sectarian violence and opened the door for Iran's growing influence. Even in arguably his greatest success, the use of drones, Obama has left a policy void.
Finally, the president caterwauls about tiny cuts in domestic spending but slashed away at defense before the sequester and then structured the sequester to have a disproportionate impact on defense.
If the president pursued our foreign adversaries with the same vehemence with which he does his Republican opponents, was as devoted to funding the military as he is to thinking up additions to the liberal welfare state and showed as much attention to national security as he does to sequester histrionics, we could rest easy. For the remainder of his term, however, we'll have to rely on France, Israel, our superb (albeit underfunded) military and plain old luck to prevent national security catastrophes.
Jennifer Rubin is a columnist for The Washington Post.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- On regulatory ‘autopilot’: Anchors on the economy
- The Thursday wrap
- Saturday essay: A special tinsel
- Christmas in Connellsville: Catch the spirit
- PSERS time bomb: Tick, tick, tick, tick ...
- ObamaCare: HIT’s hit
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes