Green Room

Obama: I, sir, am no Jack Kennedy

posted at 1:47 pm on September 21, 2009 by

Another nugget from Pres. Obama’s Sunday chat with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, this time on foreign policy:

JFK famously got his clock cleaned by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at their June 1961 summit meeting in Vienna.

He knew it too. Right after the meeting he confided to NYT columnist Scotty Reston that it was one of the “roughest” moments of his life. “He just beat the hell out of me,” Kennedy admitted.

So I asked President Obama if there were any similar moments over the last eight months where he took a step back and told himself: “Man, I need to step up my game.”

Here’s what he said:

OBAMA: You know, it’s an interesting question. I — I mean I don’t mean to be immodest here, but I don’t think I’ve had that moment with a — with a world leader, where I said gee, you know — you know, we’ve got to really tighten things up.

However, here is the Washington Post account of the Obama foreign policy to date:

European nations have refused to send significant numbers of new troops to aid the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan. Few countries have agreed to accept detainees held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Scottish officials ignored Obama’s plea to keep the Lockerbie bomber in prison, and U.S. efforts to head off a coup in Honduras were ineffective. North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons, Iran may be doing so, and Middle East leaders have rebuffed Obama’s efforts at peacemaking.

It is nice that the WaPo has noted this, though the failure of Pres. Obama’s “soft power” approach has been apparent for some time already. Despite the prospect of arms races in Asia and the Middle East, Obama remains bent on appeasing Russia and Iran, with unilateral nuclear disarmament plans so extreme that even the French are objecting.

I cheerfully admit that I did not know Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was not a friend of mine. But Jack Kennedy understood who our allies were, and what our national interests were. And Jack Kennedy understood when he got his clock cleaned by an adversary. When it comes to self-awareness, I am compelled to agree with Pres. Obama: he is no Jack Kennedy.

Update: It’s Almost Like the Russians Smell Weakness or Something.

Update x2: Ed Morrissey notes that The New York Times now has an assessment like that of the WaPo.

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Abby Adams on September 21, 2009 at 2:22 PM