“The Russians managed to do what they wanted to do in Syria. Why not the United States? The answer has always been clear to me. Obama did not care enough. Not from him ever came a thundering demand that Russia and Iran get out and stay out. Behind the arguably persuasive reasons to do little in Syria was an emotional coldness. This was not Obama’s fight. Kellyanne Conway keeps pointing out that Hillary Clinton had no message. True. Neither for that matter did Obama. He waved a droopy flag. He did not want to make America great again. It was great enough for him already. The banner he flew was one of American diminishment. One could agree, one could not be proud . . . Since the end of world War II, American leadership has been essential to maintain world peace. Whether we liked it or not, we were the world’s policeman. There was no other cop on the beat. Now that leadership is gone. So, increasingly, will be peace.”
Richard Cohen, reliably liberal Washington Post op-ed columnist of long-standing, in his latest titled, “Thanks to no-drama Obama, American leadership is gone.”
Good for Cohen. Like George Will on the conservative side, Cohen will occasionally break through his biases to pronounce hard truth. Except to pacifists and isolationists, Obama’s foreign policy has made the world a far more dangerous place, and created a power vacuum that is being filled by Russia, Iran, China and terrorist organizations. Weak, feckless and inept, the President’s foreign misadventures and evasions have been substantially shielded from accountability by public apathy, media alibis, and Hillary Clinton’s bind, which prevented her from articulating her own criticisms of our current foreign weakness for fear that it would lose her the support of the blind Obama cheering section.
It is pretty clear that the timing of Cohen’s outburst was prompted by his own anger and feelings of betrayal at Obama’s abandonment of Israel in the recent vote to condemn settlements on the West Bank; Cohen is a staunch supporter of Israel. Another vocal liberal, Allan Dershowitz, based his assessment of Obama’s foreign policy entirely on the recent U.N. vote, saying on Fox News this morning,
“[History will see President Obama] as one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever…He called me into the Oval Office before the inauguration; he said he wanted my support, and he told me he would always have Israel’s back. I didn’t realize what he meant: That he would have Israel’s back so he could stab them in the back….What he did was so nasty, he pulled a bait and switch. He told the American public this is all about the settlements deep in the West Bank. And yet, he allowed he representative to the U.N. to abstain –which is really a vote for– a resolution that says the Jews can’t pray at the Western Wall, Jews can’t live in the Jewish Quarter [of Jerusalem] where they have lived for thousands of years. And he’s going to say, ‘Whoops! I didn’t mean that!’ Well read the resolution! You’re a lawyer, you went to Harvard Law School….This will make peace much more difficult to achieve because the Palestinians will now say ‘we can get a state through the UN’.”
Of course, if journalists, pundits and prominent public figures hadn’t been so committed to avoiding and suppressing any criticism of Obama’s bumbling Presidency and foreign policy for the past eight years, we might not have come to this point.
And yes, as with so much else, “this point” includes Donald Trump.