In honour of this week’s cringe-inducing nuclear summit in Washington, which represents yet another step towards American decline under the current US administration, here is a list of ten key reasons why Barack Obama qualifies as the most naïve president in US history.
Despite some strong competition from Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter, President Obama has spectacularly blown the opposition out of the water, on almost every level, from appeasing America’s enemies abroad to building the foundations of a European-style welfare state at home. The end result is an America that is weaker, more vulnerable to attack, and mired in mountains of debt. No other president in US history has done more to undermine the original vision of America’s Founding Fathers, while replacing it with a reckless and risky agenda that threatens America’s ability to lead the free world.
1. Obama believes unilateral disarmament will achieve a nuclear-free world
The Obama administration may dream of a day when the world is free of nuclear weapons, but its lofty vision bears no relation to the realities of the modern world. Even the president of France believes that President Obama needs to live in the real world, not a virtual one, which is a rather damning indictment of US leadership. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that Washington’s decision to cut its nuclear arsenal will encourage the likes of Iran and North Korea to disarm, and history has shown that a unilateral policy of disarmament will not prompt tyrannical regimes to change their behaviour.
2. Obama thinks evil regimes can be negotiated with
The naïve appeasement of practically every odious tyranny on the face of the earth has been a central hallmark of Barack Obama’s foreign policy. From extending the hand of friendship to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez, to turning a blind eye to horrific human rights abuses in Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Burma, the Obama administration has made the art of appeasement into an art form under the guise of “smart power”. It is a morally bankrupt approach to foreign policy, epitomised by the words of Obama’s special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force Major General J. Scott Gration, who declared:
“We’ve got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”
3. Obama doesn’t believe America is fighting a global war
Within weeks of taking office, the Obama administration dropped the phrase “Global War on Terror” in favour of “Overseas Contingency Operation”, and has gone to great lengths since then to emphasise that the United States is not engaged in a world wide war against Islamist terrorists who seek the destruction of America. As Vice President Joe Biden put it at last year’s Munich Security Conference, the US was involved in “a shared struggle against extremism” and a fight against “a small number of violent extremists (who) are beyond the call of reason”. Can you imagine Winston Churchill or Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring in 1943 that World War Two was a mere “struggle” against a small band of fascist extremists? Al-Qaeda killed over 3,000 Americans on 9/11, and their sole aim is the destruction of the West and the establishment of an Islamist caliphate. If that’s not a declaration of war I don’t know what is.
4. Obama believes increasing spending and raising taxes leads to prosperity
While even the Germans are balking at spending more taxpayers’ money to stimulate the economy or bail out failing members of the Eurozone, the Obama administration seems determined to build up ever greater levels of government debt, with vastly expanded entitlement programmes and government spending. At the same time, Paul Volcker, its chief economic adviser, is dangling the prospect of additional European-style taxes to pay for it all, the surest way to kill economic growth and stifle job creation. As the recent success of countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand attest, economic growth and prosperity is directly linked to limited government intervention, low taxation, and above all, economic freedom.
5. Obama thinks government-run health care is good for America
In the face of overwhelming public opposition, Barack Obama’s health care reform legislation represents the biggest expansion of government power in over 70 years, and is a major step towards a government-run health care system. It is a hugely naïve and risky social experiment in a nation whose success has always been driven by the principle of individual freedom. As I noted before, what we have just witnessed is a massive slap in the face for limited government and the principle of individual responsibility. Its net result will be the erosion of freedom in America, and a further undermining of the country’s economic competitiveness. This may be a political victory for the president and his supporters in Congress, but it is in reality a defeat for America as a great power, and another Obama-led step towards US decline.
6. Obama doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism
President Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t think that American exceptionalism is any different to the “exceptionalism” of other countries. He also believes that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold.” Not only is this a staggeringly naïve position to adopt as the leader of the world’s dominant superpower, but it is also an astonishing declaration that the United States is no better than any other nation, and has no right to project its values onto other countries – which is exactly what the US successfully did in Germany and Japan in 1945, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. It is both a striking abdication of world leadership as well as an egalitarian vision of the world, and one that significantly undermines American global power.
7. Obama believes alliances don’t matter
No American president in modern times has invested less effort in maintaining US alliances than Barack Obama. Whether it is siding with Marxists in Honduras against pro-American forces, condemning Israel, throwing the Poles and Czechs under the bus, or trashing the Anglo-American Special Relationship, the Obama administration has gone out of its way to kick its allies in the teeth while kowtowing to America’s enemies. Great Britain and Israel in particular have borne the brunt of Barack Obama’s disdain, with the leaders of both countries humiliated during visits to the White House. For a president who boasted in his election campaign of restoring America’s “standing” in the world, Obama has done a spectacularly bad job of preserving friendships with Washington’s closest friends.
8. Obama trusts Russia
A central element of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Moscow is the naive belief that Russia can be trusted as a partner of the United States, and that the treaty does not impose restrictions on America’s ability to deploy missile defences. The Russians in contrast have made it abundantly clear that there is a “legally binding linkage between strategic offensive and strategic defensive weapons.” In other words they expect to have a veto over a US missile defense system. The Obama administration has already bowed to Moscow’s demands to scrap US plans for third site missile defences in eastern and central Europe, and will no doubt surrender again when Moscow makes further demands. At the same time, there is no sign that Russia will support significantly stronger sanctions against Iran. In effect, Washington has gained nothing at all from its “reset” strategy towards Medvedev and Putin, but merely looks like a soft touch in the eyes of the Kremlin.
9. Obama believes the UN is indispensable
President Obama’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly last September has to rank as the most embarrassing so far of his presidency, cheered to the rafters by an audience that traditionally hates what America stands for. As I wrote at the time, this was a staggeringly naïve speech by President Obama, with Woodstock-style utterances like “I will not waver in my pursuit of peace” or “the interests of peoples and nations are shared.” All that was missing was a conga of hippies dancing through the aisles with a rousing rendition of “Kumbaya”. It was a speech fitting for a president who believes the United Nations is “indispensable” to the United States, and who thinks the UN Human Rights Commission is a force for good. In reality, the UN’s elites dedicate much of their efforts at undermining American power, persecuting Israel, wasting taxpayers’ money, and shielding human rights violators.
10. Obama believes a federal Europe is good for America
The Obama administration has gone to considerable lengths to back the development of a European Union defence identity as well as a European Union foreign policy, both of which will weaken the NATO alliance as well as the broader transatlantic alliance. This is the first US administration to actively back the rise of a federal Europe, and whose key players on European issues actually believe a united Europe is good for the United States. It is an extraordinarily naïve approach which will eventually bite Washington in the back. Even the spectacularly embarrassing appointments of both Herman Van Rompuy and Baroness Ashton as President and High Representative for the European Union have not succeeded in dimming the enthusiasm of the Obama team for the European project.