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Parry writes: "A favorite neocon meme about President Barack Obama is that he is 'weak' - because he failed to bomb Syria, bomb Iran, sustain the U.S. occupation of Iraq and start a full-scale economic war with Russia over Ukraine. But an alternate way of looking at Obama is that he is weak because he has failed to face down the neocons."

Obama has failed to challenge neocons like Robert Kagen. (photo: Brookings Institute)
Obama has failed to challenge neocons like Robert Kagen. (photo: Brookings Institute)


Obama's True Foreign-Policy 'Weakness'

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

24 June 14

 

favorite neocon meme about President Barack Obama is that he is “weak” – because he failed to bomb Syria, bomb Iran, sustain the U.S. occupation of Iraq and start a full-scale economic war with Russia over Ukraine. But an alternate way of looking at Obama is that he is weak because he has failed to face down the neocons.

Since the start of his presidency, Obama has let the neocons and their “liberal interventionist” allies push him into militaristic and confrontational policies – even as he is criticized for not being militaristic and confrontational enough. There was the futile “surge” in Afghanistan, the chaotic “regime change” in Libya, excessive hostility toward Iran, intemperate demands for “regime change” in Syria, and hyperbolic denunciations of Russia for its reaction to U.S.-backed “regime change” in Ukraine.

The end result of all this U.S. “tough-guy/gal-ism” has been to get a lot of people killed without actually improving the lot of the people in the countries where the neocon-driven policies have been applied. In each of those cases, a more pragmatic approach to the political and strategic concerns represented by those crises could have saved lives and averted economic pain that only has fed more disorder.

Yet, Obama remains hypersensitive to criticism from well-placed and well-connected neocons. As the New York Times reported on June 16, Obama shaped his foreign policy speech at the West Point graduation in May to deflect criticism from a single neocon, Robert Kagan, who had penned a long and pedantic essay in The New Republic urging the projection of more U.S. power around the world.

In the essay, “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire,” Kagan “depicted President Obama as presiding over an inward turn by the United States that threatened the global order and broke with more than 70 years of American presidents and precedence,” wrote the Times’ Jason Horowitz. “He called for Mr. Obama to resist a popular pull toward making the United States a nation without larger responsibilities, and to reassume the more muscular approach to the world out of vogue in Washington since the war in Iraq drained the country of its appetite for intervention.”

As part of Obama’s effort to deflect this neocon critique, “the president even invited Mr. Kagan to lunch to compare world views,” Horowitz reported.

Kagan apparently sees himself as a vanguard for a new wave of U.S. interventionism, teamed up with his brother Frederick who devised the two “surges” in Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2009. Robert Kagan is also married to Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs who helped promote the February “regime change” in Ukraine.

According to the Times article, the husband-and-wife team share both a common world view and professional ambitions, Nuland editing Kagan’s articles and Kagan “not permitted to use any official information he overhears or picks up around the house” – a suggestion that Kagan’s thinking at least may be informed by foreign policy secrets passed on by his wife.

Though Nuland wouldn’t comment specifically on Kagan’s attack on President Obama, she indicated that she holds similar views. “But suffice to say,” Nuland said, “that nothing goes out of the house that I don’t think is worthy of his talents. Let’s put it that way.”

Counting on Hillary Clinton

Kagan also has hopes that his neocon views – which he prefers to call “liberal interventionist” – will have an even stronger standing in a possible Hillary Clinton administration. After all, not only did Secretary of State Clinton promote his wife, Clinton also named Kagan to one of her State Department advisory boards.

According to the Times’ article, Clinton “remains the vessel into which many interventionists are pouring their hopes.” Kagan is quoted as saying: “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy. … If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue … it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.”

Though Obama personally advocates a more multilateral approach to foreign policy – including ”leading from behind” as one aide famously explained – the President allowed the neocons to retain great influence inside his own administration.

After winning the election in 2008, he opted for a “team of rivals” approach that put the hawkish Hillary Clinton at State, retained Republican Defense Secretary Robert Gates and kept George W. Bush’s high command, including neocon-favorite Gen. David Petraeus.

That fateful decision meant Obama never asserted personal control over his foreign policy, in part, because Gates, Petraeus and Clinton formed a kind of iron triangle to promote neocon strategies. In his memoir Duty, Gates said he and Clinton agreed on most issues and could push them in the face of White House opposition because “we were both seen as ‘un-fireable.’”

For instance, they teamed up in support of the ill-conceived Afghan “surge” of 2009 – which was devised by neocon theorist Frederick Kagan who sold this “counterinsurgency” plan to Gates. The “surge” led to another 1,000 or so U.S. deaths and many more Afghans killed without changing the trajectory of that ill-fated war. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite?”]

The neocons and “liberal interventionists” carried the day on other key policy decisions, such as the U.S.-supported bombing campaign over Libya in 2011. The aerial bombardments broke the back of Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces but also shattered the country’s political cohesion. After Gaddafi was ousted and murdered, radical jihadists seized control over much of the country (and killed four American diplomatic personnel in Benghazi).

At other points, Obama bought into the neocon narrative but dragged his heels about following their policy prescriptions. In Syria, Obama talked tough, saying President Bashar al-Assad “must go” and pushed the interventionist notion of helping “moderate” rebels, but Obama limited the U.S. role after recognizing that the Sunni-dominated insurgents had veered increasingly into radicalism.

Obama’s middling approach provoked heavy criticism from the neocons and the “liberal interventionists” who wanted him to intervene more aggressively in Syria by sending sophisticated weaponry to the “moderate rebels.” Obama also was excoriated for not launching a massive bombing campaign to destroy Assad’s military after a disputed chemical weapons incident outside Damascus last summer.

Turning to Putin

Instead, Obama accepted help from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to defuse the Syrian crisis by getting Assad to surrender his chemical weapons. But Obama’s halfway approach wouldn’t let him challenge administration hawks who treated Geneva negotiations for a Syrian political settlement as just another excuse to demand Assad’s departure.

Yet, based on this month’s elections, which Assad won handily, the Syrian president appears to retain a substantial base of support among Alawites, Shiites, Christians and other minorities as well as some secular Sunnis. Many Syrians seem to view Assad as the bulwark against a victory by radical Sunni jihadists who have flocked to Syria from around the Middle East with funding from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Persian Gulf states.

But Robert Kagan and the neocons see a new vulnerability for Obama now that the Sunni-jihadist war in Syria has spilled back into Iraq where an al-Qaeda spinoff, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, first emerged in reaction to President Bush’s neocon-inspired invasion in 2003. ISIS is spearheading an offensive that has routed the U.S.-supplied Iraqi army from key cities in the country’s north and west.

Referring to Obama’s completion of the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011 and his tepid response to the Syrian civil war, Kagan told the Times that “It’s striking how two policies driven by the same desire to avoid the use of a military power are now converging to create this burgeoning disaster.”

The neocons are also apoplectic about the prospect of the Obama administration cooperating with Shiite-ruled Iran to bolster the Shiite-led government of Iraq. The neocons, along with Israel and Saudi Arabia, consider Iran their top enemy in the Middle East.

For years, the neocons have been hyping the threat of Iran’s nuclear program as a rationalization to bomb Iran. They have been rooting for negotiations that would constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions to fail so the route to war would be opened, much as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants.

Since Russian President Putin helped avert a U.S. war against Syria and cooperated on negotiations for limiting Iran’s nuclear program, he now has emerged as the neocons’ most dangerous adversary on the global stage. And last year, the neocons quickly identified a Putin vulnerability in Ukraine.

Prominent neocons – including National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain – were at the forefront of agitation in Ukraine to overthrow the elected President Viktor Yanukovych and install a rightist regime hostile both to Russia and to Ukraine’s large ethnic Russian population.

The Feb. 22 coup in Kiev – and subsequent anti-Russian actions by the coup regime – prompted the regional authorities in Crimea to hold a referendum seceding from Ukraine and rejoining Russia, a move that Putin supported.

Crimea’s secession prompted hysteria across Official Washington, which billed the move as “Russian aggression.” As the rest of Ukraine descended into a nasty civil war, the neocons pushed for a new Cold War against Russia, including broad economic sanctions designed to undermine Putin by destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]

‘Chaos Promotion’

The neocons and the “liberal interventionists,” of course, couch all this chaos promotion as “democracy promotion,” even when their efforts involve overthrowing democratically elected leaders, like Yanukovych, and ignoring the will of the people, such as denying the desire of the Crimean people to escape the failed state of Ukraine and rejoin Russia. It seems elections are only valid when they come out the way the U.S. government prefers; otherwise, the elections are deemed “rigged.”

These U.S. interventionists also talk about respect for international law except when the rules get in their way, such as when they launched the aggressive war against Iraq in 2003, a crime against peace that unleashed havoc and death across Iraq and now much of the Middle East.

This neocon mindset can best be understood as an intellectual outgrowth of the 1990s when the United States emerged as the sole superpower and U.S. military technology advanced to levels beyond the capabilities of any other nation.

Many neocons viewed this moment as a unique opportunity for Israel to move beyond frustrating negotiations with the Palestinians over peace and to dictate whatever terms it wished. The new watchword would be “regime change” against any country that presented a threat to Israel or that supported Israel’s near-in enemies, Palestine’s Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Once the Mideast was remade to isolate Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel could do – or take – whatever it wanted.

This neocon strategy first surfaced in 1996 when leading American neocons, such as Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, went to work for Netanyahu’s campaign for prime minister. The U.S. neocons formalized their bold new plan in a strategy paper called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” The paper argued that only “regime change” in hostile Muslim countries could achieve the necessary “clean break” from the diplomatic standoffs that had followed inconclusive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

By 1998, the neocon-organized Project for the New American Century – with Robert Kagan as one of the co-founders – had targeted Iraq as the first Israeli enemy that would face “regime change,” a strategy that became feasible once neocon-backed President George W. Bush took office in 2001 and after the 9/11 attacks generated a U.S. hunger for revenge against Arabs, even if against the wrong Arabs.

There was, of course, the need for a misleading sales job to snooker the American people. So, we were given the fiction of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and the lie about Iraq’s Saddam Hussein teaming up with al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, when the two were the bitterest of enemies, Hussein leading a secular Arab government and bin Laden representing a fundamentalist Islamic movement.

The neocon thinking apparently was that once the U.S. military won a smashing victory, the American people wouldn’t really care about the excuses used to justify the war; they’d just be swept up in the excitement. But the bloody low-tech war that Iraqis fought against their foreign occupiers soured the American mood — and the absence of any WMD stockpiles angered much of the public.

Over the ensuing decade, the neocons have fought what amounts to a rear-guard action against their critics, a kind of strategic retreat with many key neocon operatives withdrawing to prominent think tanks (Kagan is at the Brookings Institution) and to important op-ed pages (Kagan has been a columnist at the Washington Post) while others (like Victoria Nuland) have behaved as a stay-behind force inside the government bureaucracy.

A Neocon Revival

Now, counting on the notoriously short memories of Americans and on the sympathy of the mainstream U.S. media (which also was complicit in Bush’s Iraq invasion), the neocons are reemerging from their secure positions and mounting a counterattack against Obama, whom they identify as not being one of them, but rather a “realist” who is not averse to collaborating with Russia or Iran in the cause of achieving peace or reducing tensions.

The neocons appear to have Obama on the run, having strategically cut him off from his erstwhile ally Putin because of the Ukraine crisis and having tactically seized the high ground of the mainstream media to blast away at Obama over the Iraq crisis.

The neocons, after all, are skilled at the art of propaganda and “information warfare.” Indeed, I first met Robert Kagan when he was working as a propagandist in President Ronald Reagan’s Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America. Kagan was in charge of palming off propaganda “themes” about Central America on a gullible Washington press corps.

As a correspondent for the Associated Press and Newsweek, I dealt frequently with Kagan’s office and annoyed him and his team by subjecting their “themes” to scrutiny and often revealing them to be either disinformation or hyperbole.

For instance, one of the “themes” in late 1987 was to promote the claims of a Nicaraguan defector that the Sandinista government was building up an army for offensive purposes when the effort was clearly defensive, i.e., to resist U.S. aggression. At a Pentagon briefing, a senior Defense Department official elaborated on the supposed Sandinista threat by warning that there was nothing to stop the Sandinista army from marching through Costa Rica and capturing the Panama Canal.

While my journalistic colleagues dutifully took notes, I raised my hand and impertinently asked whether “the 82nd Airborne might not show up?”

It was in response to my lack of “team play” that Kagan took me aside one day with a warning that if I continued with such behavior, I would have to be “controversialized,” a process that involved having administration officials and pro-Reagan activists make me a special target for criticism and attack, which subsequently did happen.

A Skilled Propagandist

To this day, Kagan remains a skilled propagandist, casting current events in ways most favorable to the neocon cause. For instance, in his New Republic essay, he portrays the complex case of Ukraine, where his wife played a central role, in the most simplistic terms, ignoring the right-wing coup in Kiev that overthrew an elected president and the overwhelming vote for secession in Crimea where thousands of Russian troops were already stationed under an agreement with Ukraine.

Stripping away all the nuance, Kagan simply wrote: “the signs of the global order breaking down are all around us. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea was the first time since World War II that a nation in Europe had engaged in territorial conquest.”

Next, ignoring the fact that the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Iran is not working on a nuclear bomb and leaving out that Israel is the one nation in the Middle East that has covertly amassed a nuclear arsenal, Kagan added: “If Iran manages to acquire a nuclear weapon, it will likely lead other powers in the region to do the same, effectively undoing the nonproliferation regime, which, along with American power, has managed to keep the number of nuclear-armed powers limited over the past half century.”

Apparently forgetting his own role and that of the neocons in launching an aggressive war against Iraq and provoking the Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict that is ripping apart the Muslim world, Kagan added: “If these trends continue, in the near future we are likely to see increasing conflict [and] greater ethnic and sectarian violence.”

Kagan follows with a litany of alarmist warnings on par with the notion that the Sandinistas were about to march south and capture the Panama Canal in 1987 — and reminiscent of the neocon claims that Saddam Hussein was about to launch remote-controlled planes to spray the U.S. mainland with chemical weapons in 2003.

Here is how Robert Kagan, Hillary Clinton’s adviser and Barack Obama’s lunch partner, portrayed the emerging apocalypse: “Could the United States survive if Syria remains under the control of Assad or, more likely, disintegrates into a chaos of territories, some of which will be controlled by jihadi terrorists? Could it survive if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, and if in turn Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt acquire nuclear weapons? Or if North Korea launches a war on the South?

“Could it survive in a world where China dominates much of East Asia, or where China and Japan resume their old conflict? Could it survive in a world where Russia dominates Eastern Europe, including not only Ukraine but the Baltic states and perhaps even Poland? Of course it could. From the point of view of strict ‘necessity’ and narrow national interest, the United States could survive all of this. It could trade with a dominant China and work out a modus vivendi with a restored Russian empire.

“Those alarmed by such developments will be hard-pressed … to explain how each marginal setback would affect the parochial interests of the average American. As in the past, Americans will be among the last to suffer grievously from a breakdown of world order. And by the time they do feel the effects, it may be very late in the day.”

A Path Toward Peace

There is, of course, a more realistic and less hysterical way of viewing these global situations.

If Obama could work with world leaders to stop Saudi Arabia and other Sunni oil sheikdoms from funding Sunni extremists in Syria, a peace settlement could be worked out that might have Assad remaining in power for some transitional period. The neocon preference — to expand the Syrian civil war by having the U.S. intervene on the side of the mythical Syrian “moderates” – is much more likely to lead precisely to what Kagan fears, an expansion of jihadist terror.

If Obama would jettison the neocon narrative about “Russian aggression” in Ukraine – when it’s clear that Putin was reacting defensively to Western intervention, not plotting to reassert the Russian empire – a peaceful resolution of that crisis would be fairly easy to achieve along the lines of a cease-fire plan unveiled by Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko and endorsed by Putin.

The neocon notion that Russia is on the march to conquer the Baltic states is unsupported by any intelligence or other evidence. Russia’s annexation of Crimea resulted from a unique set of circumstances, including the U.S.-backed overthrow of the elected Ukrainian president and a popular referendum in Crimea seeking membership in the Russian Federation. It is nutty to suggest that it was some template for a grander “Russian imperialism.”

Indeed, Kagan is not only spinning conspiracy fantasies but – as often is the case with neocons – he is promoting schemes that could facilitate the outcome that he professes to abhor. Possibly the fastest way for the United States to lose its leadership role in the world is through overextension of its global power and overspending on its military might.

The more that Kagan and other neocons push for U.S. suppression of any imaginable threat to U.S. supremacy the more certain it is that America will slide into a precipitous decline – and the more dangerous that collapse may be both for Americans and the rest of the world.

President Obama seems to recognize this reality in his inclination to cooperate with Putin and other leaders to resolve crises, but Obama lacks the nerve to finally stand up to the neocons. That is his true “weakness.”

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-7 # indian weaver 2014-06-24 15:35
Basically and simply, "in other words", Obama is a coward, period. That is Obama's overwhelming character defect which makes him the perfect fascist baby boy toy for the Wehrmacht. Clueless to the max, a spineless diaper wrapped dung hole. Incredibly to me, I voted for this small time loser. Never again. I trust no one in the government, at best.
 
 
+1 # Pikewich 2014-06-25 14:40
I don't think he is a coward. To be a coward you would have to be afraid to do the right thing.

I think Obama is SOLD OUT like most of Washington.
 
 
-2 # Radscal 2014-06-24 17:04
Once again, Mr. Parry presents Mr. Obama as being driven to execute the NeoCon agenda, apparently against his own desires. I doubt that. Mr. Parry is an astute observer of U.S. foreign policy, so I wonder why he gives Obama such slack?

Perhaps he's hoping to provide a political path for Obama to reverse course.
 
 
+7 # RMDC 2014-06-25 06:23
Perry is right. Obama is weak. But not weak in the way neo-c0ns like Robert Kagan say. He's weak because he bends over to the neo-con demands. He's weak because he won't tell the neo-cons to go fuck themselves. He's weak because he's allowed all the neo-cons from the Bush era to remain in his State Department. He's weak because he won't stand up against the war mongers and fascists in the corporations and banks who are looting the world and US.

Obama promised hope and change. He's weak because he has not stuck to his campaign promises.
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2014-06-25 12:11
Do you think someone forced Mr. Obama to keep Mr. Gates as Secretary of Defense, or to continually appoint General Petraeus to new roles and appoint Ms. Nuland as Asst. Sec.of State where she fulfilled her husband's and Mr. Brzezinski's goals for Ukraine?

As I wrote above, I doubt that.

This noble "team of rivals" approach followed by an inability to withstand their will, ignores the fact that Mr. Obama knew what these people wanted before he appointed them, and as the years went by, he promoted them and added more like-thinking NeoCons to his Administration.

That he followed their advice is obvious. Whether he did so by weakness or design seems to be the question. Mr. Obama doesn't strike me as such a weak-willed push-over as you and Mr. Parry claim.
 
 
-14 # WFO 2014-06-24 18:01
Mrs. Kagan is doing gods work in Ukraine, just like all the chosen do for us across the world.

Obama has to deal with reality and he knows who butters everyone's bread. Obama is a strong leader and knows what he is doing.

The economy has never been stronger, the stock market has never been higher, and we have never had it better.
 
 
+4 # RMDC 2014-06-25 06:41
Perry is right. Obama is weak. But not weak in the way neo-c0ns like Robert Kagan say. He's weak because he bends over to the neo-con demands. He's weak because he won't tell the neo-cons to go fuck themselves. He's weak because he's allowed all the neo-cons from the Bush era to remain in his State Department. He's weak because he won't stand up against the war mongers and fascists in the corporations and banks who are looting the world and US.

Obama promised hope and change. He's weak because he has not stuck to his campaign promises.

Perry is right.
 
 
+1 # Pikewich 2014-06-25 14:41
This is satire, right?
 
 
+9 # Activista 2014-06-24 18:19
Excellent analysis by Parry - would add some notes -
Parry: "Yet, based on this month’s elections, which Assad won handily, the Syrian president appears to retain a substantial base of support among Alawites, Shiites, Christians and other minorities as well as some secular Sunnis. Many Syrians seem to view Assad as the bulwark against a victory by radical Sunni jihadists who have flocked to Syria from around the Middle East with funding from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Persian Gulf states."
reality ...
Syria's Election Shows Depth of Support for Assad - ABC ...
abcnews.go.com › International
ABC News
Jun 4, 2014 - For all the serious flaws in Syria's election, it underscored the ... Without Sunni support, however, Assad's rule would have collapsed long ago ..."
 
 
+4 # Activista 2014-06-24 18:27
"President Obama seems to recognize this reality in his inclination to cooperate with Putin and other leaders to resolve crises, but Obama lacks the nerve to finally stand up to the neocons. That is his true “weakness.” great analysis ...
in the current US political reality (congress, media, AIPAC) - Obama stands tall ...
We did not bomb Syria (Israel does), we negotiate with Iran (after how many years), NATO is impotent ...
Obama failure (thank you Hillary) is Libya - www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/22/coups-terror-nato-war-in-libya-west-intervention-boko-haram-nigeria
 
 
+2 # robcarter.vn 2014-06-24 23:21
Well put In fact I think Putin os leading obiwan well nd will go down as a good World leader
 
 
0 # jojo5056 2014-06-25 05:46
Well done Parry.Just a suggestion of merit--Knock off the bogus term NeoCon.
Term was adopted to hide Jewish connection in Washington.
Here we have Liberals in power since 2008 and still Democrouts that supposed to have infiltrated GW Bush regime are still called New Conservatives. Both parties are one of the same animals-Kosher blessed. Give Americans a break--most need to be educated.
 
 
0 # bmiluski 2014-06-25 09:16
President Obama has done a lot more than anyone gives him credit.
Faced with a political party that would rather see the destruction of this country then to see him suceed, he has still managed to put through a lot of pro U.S. legislation with ObamaCare as the most lauded.
You people have to remember, President Obama has to deal with people who have the power with just one click of a mouse to crash the stock market or close off oil/gas delivery lines. He walks a tight-rope and has to know when to give. Do I approve all of his decisions...NO. ..but then I don't know what choices he'd been given.
 
 
+5 # lfeuille 2014-06-25 10:15
Well, he could have declined to appoint the Neocons in the first place. He could have appointed people who agreed with his stated positions during the election, the positions, we voted for, who would not have undermined him at every turn.
 
 
+3 # harleysch 2014-06-25 10:24
What nonsense! The "people who have power with just one click of a mouse to crash the stock market" should have been put in prison, for their illegal and corrupt swindling, instead of protected by Obama's Justice Department. For Obama, Too Big to Fail means Too Big to Jail!

He could have done what FDR did, with the Pecora Commission, put them (e.g., Blankfein, Dimon, et.al.) on trial for their lawless manipulation of markets, which have bankrupted millions, forced families out of homes, etc.

Instead, Obama has continued to bail them out, given them free money ("Quantitative Easing") to create a new stock market bubble, while touting the "new jobs" created -- most of which are low-wage, temporary or part-time, with no benefits.

On foreign policy, his team, of Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, etc., are the same as the neo-cons, pushing "regime change" on behalf of the global banksters, who follow the Obama-backed coups with IMF austerity, which is impoverishing nations such as Greece and now Ukraine.

There is no excuse for Obama. That McCain or Romney would have been worse does not justify Obama's turning his back on those who voted for him, expecting something better!
 
 
0 # bmiluski 2014-06-25 13:53
You people keep forgetting that FDR did not have the obstructionist Congress that Obama does. During his time people from across the aisle actually talked to one another, listened, and compromised. In the history of the United States, 168 presidential nominees have been filibustered, 82 blocked under President Obama, 86 blocked under ALL OTHER PRESIDENTS.
As it turns out, "unprecedented" is apt description for almost every boulder in the stone wall of Republican obstructionism Barack Obama has faced from the moment he took the oath of office. From the GOP's record-setting use of the filibuster and its united front against Obama's legislative agenda to blocking judicial nominees and its admitted hostage-taking of the U.S. debt ceiling, the Republican Party has broken new ground in its perpetual quest to ensure that Barack Obama will be a one-term president.
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2014-06-25 16:57
FDR was having so many of his programs rejected by Congress, that he tried to "pack" the Supreme Court so as to override Congress.
 
 
+1 # Pikewich 2014-06-25 15:10
Obama has done far less than he promised and in many ways moved our world backwards toward totalitarian dictatorships, except where the policies carried out under his administration have resulted in failed states and chaos.

Every middle east country our government has interfered with under Bush and Obama is a mess.

Is that the "Hope and Change" we voted for?
 
 
0 # tclose 2014-06-26 08:17
I agree with bmiluski - we don't have a full appreciation for what Obama has to deal with. The Presidency, as even FDR found out, has built in limitations in its powers; Obama is constrained as to what he can or cannot do when the Congress (and even the Supreme Court) thinks differently; he already is getting serious flak from Congress in taking unilateral action on many fronts.

As a result, he has had to choose his battles - and the people he has had to choose is a part of the battle, imo.

I fault Obama more on not being able to communicate more effectively to the American people, to more effectively explain his direction and undercut the lies and deception of the Neocons and right-wingnuts.
 
 
+1 # Buddha 2014-06-25 11:24
This is one of the times when everyone is wrong. Those who have pushed failed interventionist policy after policy in the Middle East for the last 70 years are wrong. But also those who think America can now just go neo-isolationis t are wrong as well. As much as I wish we could just pull back and guard our own shores, as global population stresses, poverty stresses, Global Climate Change stresses, all come to a head, I fear we are going to be entering an age of global insecurity and war. And history has shown that opportunistic forces always take advantage of times of unrest and social upheaval. Think not just China and Russia, but also the likelihood that the entire Middle-East will become engulfed in sectarian violence...and one side there has the bomb.
 
 
+3 # Pikewich 2014-06-25 14:38
"But an alternate way of looking at Obama is that he is weak because he has failed to face down the neocons."

"Kagan is quoted as saying: “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy. … If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue … it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.".

Obama is not "weak". He is "SOLD OUT"

A vote for Clinton will be to sell out bigger time.
 
 
0 # Dion Giles 2014-06-26 03:08
The Neocons who threaten the world are joined at the hip with Israel and the global Zionists. Israel is the elephant in the loungeroom no matter how much the phoney demands of political correctness call on everyone to avert their eyes. Neocon policies are in total synch with the urgings from Israel and the Zionist IUPAC lobby in the USA. This is developing into a new and potentially disastrous confrontation with Russia. Ironically, and for reasons that defy analysis, Russia, as the Soviet Union, despite its veto power allowed the UN to foist the birth of Israel and the brutal Nakba on the Palestinians and the endless threats from the racist, expansionist settler enclave on the world.

What Obama and every preceding and current Western leader lacks the guts for is to stand up to outfits like IUPAC and weed them out of political and social life.
 

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