Yesterday, John Gibson invited me onto his Fox radio show to talk about Barack Obama’s sudden outrage over a speech by George Bush that had nothing to do with him. Later, I YouTubed the segment in order to replay it here, and a couple of points struck me about the clips that Gibson played during the segment:
First, listen to how far Barack Obama has actually moved his foreign policy approach regarding Iran. Last summer, especially during the YouTube debate, Obama railed against the Bush administration policy, with “failed” being about the kindest term he could muster. Now, however, he has adopted the Bush policy towards Iran in toto. No talks with Iran until they end their nuclear-weapons programs, progressively tougher sanctions until they comply with international non-proliferation regulations and UN Security Council resolutions — that is exactly what the Bush administration has done since 2003.
What prompted this turn towards neocon policy? Obama can’t shake the consequences of his answer during that July debate and the promise of unconditional direct presidential-level talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the first year of his presidency. Even our allies, even those who thought Bush to be too hard line on Iran, don’t see what this would accomplish, other than boosting the prestige of Ahmadinejad and the mullahcracy’s hard-liners and further entrenching them in Iran. As John McCain put it yesterday, what exactly will Obama negotiate with Ahmadinejad? The destruction of Israel’s “stinking corpse”, or their grievances about the falsity of the Holocaust?
The meme du jour yesterday was that Barack Obama showed real spirit, real fight in his willingness to joust over foreign policy, as Chris Cillizza writes at the Washington Post. I’m sure that the Left will try to sell that spin, but that is not what happened yesterday. Barack Obama panicked over a speech in Israel that had nothing to do with himself or his party — it didn’t even mention contemporary Americans — and hysterically built it into a smear against him personally. He and some of his helpful Democratic colleagues tried to distract attention away from Obama’s foreign-policy blunder by insisting that a debate about his feckless approach was somehow out of bounds and at the same time demanded a debate on national security.
Obama didn’t come out swinging, he’s starting to drown. His Iran policy has swerved all over the map, and now he’s adopted the policy he called a huge failure. All of the shrieking and silly claims of victimization can’t hide the fact that he has no clue about foreign policy or even what appeasement means, and his drift from “without preconditions” to the Bush policy of diplomatic and economic isolation over the last few weeks clearly shows it.