Green Room

Newsflash for Joe Biden: Obama has weakened national security

posted at 11:49 am on October 15, 2012 by

If there was one area where GOP vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan could have done better in his debate with loudmouth Joe Biden, it was in answering  claims by the vice president that were—to borrow his euphemism—“a bunch of malarkey.” Early on, Biden offered this fictional account of the state of the nation’s security:

And this talk about this—this weakness. I—I don’t understand what my friend’s talking about here.

We—this is a president who’s gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. This is a guy who’s repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again. This is the guy who brought the entire world, including Russia and China, to bring about the most devastating—most devastating—the most devastating efforts on Iran to make sure that they in fact stop [inaudible].

The claims are so at odds with the truth that it’s hard to know where to begin. Since Biden mentioned Russia, let’s start with that “ally” of the U.S. In fact, let’s start with this prophetic observation: “Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama…. I guarantee you it’s gonna happen.” The speaker was none other than Joe Biden—and for once he was right, although he was off by a few months. It wasn’t until November of 2008 that then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev blamed the Georgia war, Russia’s tanking markets, and declining bilateral relations on a “selfish” and “mistaken, egotistical and sometimes simply dangerous” America. The Obama State Department answered the slight in typically emasculated form, calling the speech “disappointing.”

Russia has since played Obama for a chump repeatedly. They did it again in late 2010, pretending to share Obama’s urgency to ratify a START treaty, then changing their mind. In February of this year, the Russians warned Israel and its ally, the U.S., against attacking Iran, implying “grave consequences” if they failed to capitulate. On its surface, the Russian threat was borne of a desire for new talks with the Iranian regime, but skeptics have noted Vladimir Putin’s desire to “strengthen his alliances throughout the Islamic world” while giving the West the finger.

During the debate Biden also went unchallenged when he scoffed at Romney’s assertion that Obama erred by not leaving a residual 30,000 troops in Iraq to keep the peace and ensure a successful transition to self-government. This would have required negotiating a status-of-forces agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but Obama didn’t think it worth the effort. He was more interested in keeping his campaign promise “to end” (not win) the war. The result has been a predictable power vacuum, which was quickly filled by Shiites from Iran. Despite protestations to the contrary, Iraq air space is now filled with Irani transports carrying arms to Syria.

Biden boasted for perhaps the ten-thousandth time that Obama had taken out 9/11 kingpin Osama bin Laden, even though many commentators at the time of the attack in 2011 acknowledged that bin Laden was no longer an important figure in the al Qaeda power structure and that his killing had been more symbolic than strategic. Al Qaeda itself, on the other hand, has been busy regrouping and recruiting. In spite of Obama’s claims on the campaign trail that the terrorist group is “on its heels,” al Qaeda engineered a prison break in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit last week, returning 100 dangerous dissidents to the battlefield. The terrorist group was also behind the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi that led to the killing—the first in 33 years—of an American ambassador.

Not covered in the debate but relevant is that Obama has failed to secure the southern border even as drug-cartel-related violence in Mexico spirals out of control and spills across into the U.S. Rather than at least remaining neutral while border states passed their own laws to deal with this crisis, the administration famously sued Arizona. And the president has yet to explain his reasons for invoking executive privilege with respect to the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, his Justice Department’s botched attempt to beat the cartels.

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