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It’s been more than a week since the refusal of the president to attend Scalia’s service and it still rankles. It was a perfect chance for a passive aggressive personality; without lifting a finger, he was able to flip the bird to millions of Americans. Townhall columnist writes on President Demeanor.
When President Bill Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky was exposed, it was a new low for the office of president. It wasn’t the first affair by a president (or Clinton), not by a long shot. But the fact it was with an intern and he committed perjury behind it demeaned the office in a way that hadn’t been done before.
It turned the 2000 election partially into a referendum on restoring the dignity, or at least the veneer of it, to the office. Thanks to the words and deeds of Barack Obama, that dignity needs to be restored yet again.
Disagreements over policy are common, and natural, really. And presidents have used language they, perhaps, would like to have back in hindsight. But their actions, at least their public actions, generally have been presidential. No more.
With President Obama’s public refusal to attend the funeral service for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, he demeans the office in a way that transcends politics and exposes him as a small man who never grew into his job. …
… The man could not bring himself to show up to the funeral of a sitting Supreme Court Justice. Let that sink in. Having his spokesman state publicly he wouldn’t rule out golfing instead exposed the man in the office as, yet again, as demeaning the office.
That Press Secretary Josh Earnest tweeted Friday the president would be working with staff on finding a replacement for Scalia this weekend rather than attending his funeral is just the latest in a long line of examples showing President Obama acting anything but presidential.
Some presidents have risen to occasions and grown in office, Barack Obama has had ample occasions, and on far too many of them he shrank. …
More from Kyle Smith on president petulant.
Gratuitous. Nasty. Petty. Spiteful. Insulting. Just plain rude. When the rhetoric of a major party’s leading presidential candidate falls to this level, we should be scornful.
So, how is it OK when it isn’t just a presidential candidate, but a president, who does it?
Donald Trump’s policy of demeaning and snarking his political opponents has been a favorite habit of President Obama for the last eight years. Obama is perhaps the first president who believes that leading the country and playing to the beliefs of the extremists in his own party amount to the same thing, and like Trump fans, Obama fans are motivated in large degree by sheer hatred.
They love to hear their idol channel their rage by bashing people they don’t like.
Obama’s latest, silent insult — leaving a spokesman to explain he had better things to do on a Saturday than attend the funeral of a 30-year justice of the Supreme Court — isn’t surprising when you consider the mean-spirited things he says virtually every time he steps in front of a microphone.
This week Obama spokesman Josh Earnest bashed Sen. Chuck Schumer, who objected to cuts in counterterrorism funding for New York. Earnest said, in essence, why listen to this fool on anything if he opposed the Iran deal, especially since “most Democrats” were in favor? …
So how is barry doing elsewhere. Charles Krauthammer sums up foreign policy.
1. In the South China Sea, on a speck of land of disputed sovereignty far from its borders, China has just installed antiaircraft batteries and stationed fighter jets. This after China landed planes on an artificial island it created on another disputed island chain (the Spratlys, claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam). These facilities now function as forward bases for Beijing to challenge seven decades of American naval dominance of the Pacific Rim.
“China is clearly militarizing the South China Sea,” the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command told Congress on Tuesday. Its goal? “Hegemony in East Asia.”
2. Syria. Russian intervention has turned the tide of war. Having rescued the Bashar al-Assad regime from collapse, relentless Russian bombing is destroying the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, creating a massive new wave of refugees and demonstrating to the entire Middle East what a Great Power can achieve when it acts seriously.
The U.S. response? Repeated pathetic attempts by Secretary of State John Kerry to propitiate Russia (and its ally, Iran) in one collapsed peace conference after another. On Sunday, he stepped out to announce yet another “provisional agreement in principle” on “a cessation of hostilities” that the CIA director, the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff deem little more than a ruse.
3. Ukraine. Having swallowed Crimea so thoroughly that no one even talks about it anymore, Russia continues to trample with impunity on the Minsk cease-fire agreements. Vladimir Putin is now again stirring the pot, intensifying the fighting, advancing his remorseless campaign to fracture and subordinate the Ukrainian state. Meanwhile, Obama still refuses to send the Ukrainians even defensive weapons.
4. Iran. Last Thursday, Iran received its first shipment of S-300 antiaircraft batteries from Russia, a major advance in developing immunity to any attack on its nuclear facilities. And it is negotiating an $8 billion arms deal with Russia that includes sophisticated combat aircraft. Like its ballistic missile tests, this conventional weapons shopping spree is a blatant violation of U.N. Security Council prohibitions. It was also a predictable — and predicted — consequence of the Iran nuclear deal that granted Iran $100 billion and normalized its relations with the world.
The U.S. response? Words. …
OK, we know Krauthammer is not a fan. How about the liberal Daily Beast? Here they are in How Obama Lost the Mideast to Putin.
The Middle East is in flames. Just as Iraq was President George W. Bush’s catastrophic legacy, Syria will be Obama’s. Bush’s sins of commission wrought no less chaos than Obama’s sins of omission. …
… so much of this could have been avoided, if President Barack Obama had displayed two qualities in his foreign policy: leadership and strategic vision.
We know he lacked a strategy because, well, he told us so. And there was no moment of more memorable spinelessness than when Syrian President Bashar Assad crossed Obama’s chemical “red line” with impunity.
However which way Obama is remembered for his domestic record, I—and no doubt many other foreign policy pundits—will forever be gritting our teeth at the sheer arrogant indifference he displayed to the unraveling of the Middle East, and the rise of the Russian Bear. Putin stared Obama down; Obama cowered and blinked. …
… The consequences of Obama’s stunning lack of vision will be felt in Europe, too, in more ways than one. As Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kurds, Turkey, Russia and various jihadist terrorist factions such as ISIS and al Qaeda fight over the Middle-Eastern jewel, half of Syria’s population has become displaced. Hundreds of thousands are fleeing to Europe, and the resulting cultural civil strife this has sparked will only bolster those—like Putin—who seek to break up the European Union. …
And here is the German internationalist Der Spiegel on the Syrian Debacle. Instapundit has the story.
… The war has long since ceased being solely about Syria. The country has become Ground Zero of global geopolitics, an unholy mixture of Russia’s desired return to superpower status, an increasingly authoritarian Turkey, tentative US foreign policy, the Kurdish conflict, the arch-rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Islamist terror and the inability of a divided, crisis-ridden EU to do much of anything.
The war in Syria has transformed from a civil war into a world war.
It has long since reached Europe in the form of millions of refugees, terror attacks in Paris and attacks on tourists in Tunisia and Istanbul. And America, which has long been the leader of the West and guarantor of security in Europe, has refused to get involved. . . .
The man who could answer many of these questions is saying very little these days about Syria, despite the recent drama. In the past, Barack Obama has said that Assad must step down and he still refers to him as “a brutal, ruthless dictator.” At the same time, though, Obama is doing nothing to counter him and there are no signs that he has anything up his sleeve either.
The New York Times recently wrote that it is difficult to distinguish between Putin’s and Obama’s Syria strategies. Meanwhile, historian and journalist Michael Ignatieff and Brookings Institution fellow Leon Wieseltier lamented in the Washington Post, “It’s time for those who care about the moral standing of the United States to say that this policy is shameful.”…
Victor Davis Hanson compares today to the time before WW II.
… Had the U.S. kept its military strong after World War I, and had it entered into a formal alliance with its former World War I partners, Germany never would have risked a second war against the combined strength of a fully armed Britain, France, and United States.
Instead, Hitler assumed the U.S. either could not or would not offer much military help to his intended European targets.
Why, then, did a relatively weak Nazi Germany between 1939 and 1941 believe that it could take on much of the world, and inspire Axis partners such as Italy and Japan to follow its suicidal lead?
The answer is obvious. British and French appeasement, Soviet collaboration, and American isolation had together convinced Hitler and his Axis allies that the victors of World War I were more eager to grant concessions at any cost than were the defeated.
The world of 2016 is eerily beginning to resemble the powder keg of 1939 Europe.
Iran, China, and North Korea, along with radical Islamic terrorist groups, all have particular contempt for Western democracies. Almost daily, various aggressive nations or organizations seek provocation by shooting off intercontinental missiles, boarding American boats, sending millions of young male Middle Easterners into the West, and issuing unending threats. China is creating new artificial islands to control commercial routes to and from Asia. …
John Hinderaker, using a WaPo editorial, posts on the failures of our Cuba policy.
The Washington Post editorial board documents the pathetic failure of the Obama administration’s Cuba policy under the bleak headline: “Failure In Cuba.” Whether it is a failure, of course, depends on what you think Obama was trying to achieve.
President Obama’s opening to Cuba seems to be failing to live up to its declared goals. When the end to a half-century of hostility was announced in December 2014, the proclaimed U.S. purpose was to “unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans,” to “engage and empower the Cuban people,” and to “empower the nascent Cuban private sector,” among other things. …
Yet there is scant evidence so far of a sea change in Cuba — perhaps because Mr. Obama continues to offer the Castro regime unilateral concessions requiring nothing in return.
So, it’s not just Iran. It is Obama’s foreign policy.
Since the United States has placed no human rights conditions on the opening, the Castro regime continues to systematically engage in arbitrary detention of dissidents and others who speak up for democracy. In fact, detentions have spiked in recent months. The state continues to monopolize radio, television and newspapers.
Which raises the question: does Barack Obama actually want Cuba to be free of socialism?