The neoconservatives at NBC News predictably savage Obama’s approach to foreign policy… wait…
posted at 10:01 am on January 21, 2015 by Noah Rothman
It is revealing that President Barack Obama’s aggressively liberal State of the Union address is being so excessively lauded today by the usual suspects. But precisely what they are praising is even more clarifying.
In yet another progressive wish list, Obama spent most of his time talking about domestic policy and did not dwell on America’s trials abroad. He touched on the threat posed by Russian aggression in Europe, but reassured his audience that the United States had the upper hand. He glossed over the dangers presented by the Iranian nuclear program and claimed that it had been largely halted by the compelling power of multilateral diplomacy. The president did not even mention al-Qaeda, the first time that has happened in a State of the Union address since February of 2001, and he insisted that the Islamic State’s advance had been halted. Finally, Obama gave a perfunctory nod to the spiraling, global, covert cyber war that has become a constant source of frustration for every major government on earth.
When Obama did deign to emphasize a matter of concern in the realm of foreign affairs, he did so only on the issue of climate change. Even that was primarily in order to take advantage of an opportunity to mock Republicans for daring to question the ever-evolving doomsday predictions of climate alarmists before praising himself for being so transcendently post-partisan.
Those that loved the speech loved it because it was a defense of liberal convictions. Those who did not, however, had the gall to scan the text for compelling and truthful content and found that it came up wanting.
Among those who took a baseball bat to Obama’s remarks were the arch-conservative Dick Cheney fans at NBC News. In the immediate wake of Obama’s State of the Union address, anchor Brian Williams and Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Richard Engel just dumped on the president’s borderline delusional assessment of his own efficacy on the global stage. (h/t Washington Free Beacon for pulling this clip).
“Richard, we woke up here in the States this morning – new ISIS video. Two Japanese hostages,” Brian Williams began. “They’re asking for $200 million, or they’re going to assassinate both of them. Video of a Russian intelligence ship cruising into the harbor in Havana; it might as well have been 1962. And then this on-again, off-again possible coup in Yemen, a U.S. ally.”
While we we’re taking stock of the foreign policy disasters that were revealed only yesterday, Williams forgot to mention renewed combat operations in Eastern Europe between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
Richard Engel delivered the coup de grâce: “It sounds like the president was outlining a world that he wishes we were all living in, but which is very different than the world you just described with terror raids taking place across Europe, ISIS very much on the move.”
Engel noted that Obama had insisted that coalition forces were “stopping ISIL’s advance” and added that, according to the military sources he is speaking with, “that just isn’t the case.” The NBC News reporter observed that ISIS forces are on the offense and are growing.
Engel took exception to Obama’s claim that his government had turned a page from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This was the year when 2,000 U.S. troops were sent back to Iraq,” he asserted.
“He talked about building the moderate Syrian opposition. That effectively isn’t happening,” Engel went on. “There is no real support for the moderate Syrian opposition. In fact, one military official told me that they are calling the moderate Syrian opposition the unicorn because they have not been able to find it.”
“So, there was a general tone, maybe even suspended disbelief, I think when he started talking about foreign policy,” Engel concluded. “There’s not a lot of success stories to be talking about in foreign policy right now.”
Watch how often today the popular media pushes the clip of Obama reminding Republicans that he won two national elections, a dig which received thunderous applause from the gallery of Democrats who are collectively starved for good news. That was his only triumph. The rest of the speech – and the accomplishments he touted — were perfectly debatable, and Obama’s claims regarding the advantageous state of America’s foreign affairs was downright fanciful. If this State of the Union address is remembered for anything, and they rarely are, it won’t be for the pep talk Obama gave forlorn Democrats. It will be for utterly misrepresenting the perilous international security situation.