A Word of Caution for The "Blame Obama" Crowd
by RUTH KING
March 3, 2011
No! I am not getting soft on the present administration, but many of President Obama’s missteps in foreign policy are the direct outcome of the failures of his predecessors.
First: North Korea:
On October 23, 2000, President Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made history as the first US Secretary of State to visit North Korea.
Albright was flush with her “success” in bullying Israel on behalf of Yasser Arafat and she had an illustrious political career in backing such winners as Senator Edward Muskie in his campaign for the presidency in 1976; as advisor to Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro in 1984; and senior policy advisor to Michael Dukakis in 1988.
This is how she assessed her trip when asked by Jim Lehrer on October 30, 2000: “Did you accomplish what you set out to accomplish in North Korea?”
Her answer: “I did, because I wanted to obviously meet with Kim Jong Il, a leader with whom no American official had met. President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea had met with him. But I had a chance to meet with him and talk with him, as it ended up, for almost 12 hours — six official hours and then various dinners and performances. And the point was to try to see how we could significantly reduce the threat from the missiles that the North Koreans have been producing. And I think that we have been, in a step-by-step way, been able to open some doors. The work that I did is now going to be followed up by meetings with technical experts, and we’re going to take it step by step.”
About missiles, she added: “Well, he’s basically prepared to look at some kind of an exchange in terms of this idea that he actually originally had raised with [Russian] President Putin about if we would launch some peaceful satellites for him instead. But he basically, I think, is prepared to take some important steps.”
And Kim Jong Il did indeed take some important steps. By 2006 he was testing and lobbing missiles.
Fast forward to the Bush Administration:
President Bush called North Korea a member of the “Axis of Evil” but in June of 2008 Washington removed Pyongyang from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and released vital fuel and food supplies. Then in July of 2008 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met North Korea's Foreign Minister urging him to abandon nuclear weapons. She gushed: "We didn't get into specific timetables, but the spirit was good because people believe we have made progress." Frank Gaffney Jr. of the Center for Security Policy commented on the whitewashing of North Korea in a column Bad Deal-all carrots and no stick:
President George W. Bush Thursday formally abandoned the last vestiges of a once-robust policy towards a North Korean regime he had rightlysaid he “loathed.” Worse yet, he is doing so in the face of Pyongyang’s manifest contempt exhibited through, among other things, its serial refusal even to provide promised data about the status and disposition of its nuclear arsenal, let alone to eliminate it.
The Middle East And Terrorism:
Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia and Bush kowtowed. In the aftermath of the 9/11 jihad, President Bush made strong statements to the United Nations, the Congress and the American public. However behind the limelight he engaged the Saudis, locus of the enablers and financers of the 9/11 terrorism in a series of meetings with U.S. officials, on September 19 and 20, 2001, in Washington D.C., followed by talks with with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Riyadh on October 4, 2001, and with Vice President Dick Cheney later that year to discuss joint efforts to “combat terrorism”.
Further by September 20, the President expunged the link between Islam and terrorism. We were told that we were confronting a “fringe” which had hijacked a noble religion.
By April of 2002 Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia visited with the President at his ranch at Crawford Texas. That Southern hospitality to tyrants was repeated in April 2005, and reciprocated as scores of United States officials, including the President and Vice President were dined and not wined at the Royal Ranch in Jenadriyah or at the royal farm in Rawdhat Khuraim, near Riyadh.
What are friends for?
But the Saudi friends had their own cute little agenda known as the King Abdullah Arab Peace Initiative which they proposed in 2002 at the Beirut Summit of the Arab League on March 28, 2002: it had the following so very original ideas: The proposal, offered Israel recognition by the Arab countries if Israel would just:
- 1.withdraw from all territories occupied by Israel since 1967.
- 2.provide a just solution to the Palestinian refugees.
- 3.recognize the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
President Bush called this a “positive development” and guess what? In June 2002 President Bush outlined his very own plan known as the “road map” which just about repeated every relevant paragraph of the Saudi plan. And, for good measure he invited France, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia to the orgy and the road kill of Israel.
In April of 2004 President Bush hailed Israel’s suicidal withdrawal from Gaza which ushered in Hamas,as “courageous “ and “historic.”
For good measure the President and Condoleezza Rice called for a territorially “contiguous” Palestinian state in February 2005….a notion that boggles the mind. Did they look at a map? Contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank would require the disappearance of Israel.
In the twilight of the Bush Administration, this homily was delivered by Hamas Minister Yunis al-Astal (thanks to Andrew Bostom) on April 11th, 2008.
“Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs [i.e., Jews, Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166, and other foundational Muslim texts] in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam – this capital of theirs [Rome] will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe. I believe that our children or our grandchildren will inherit our Jihad…
And this is pretty much the message that jihadist cleric Anjem Choudary will deliver on March 3, 2010 in a demonstration at the White House this week.
Oh, I almost forgot about Iran the other star of the Axis of Evil…..President Bush did nothing, nada, but spout platitudes.
Again, President Obama has implemented obeisance to Arab thugs and virtual indifference to Islamic terrorism set into motion by his predecessor.
President Obama is being criticized by his snail like response to Libya. Frankly from the point of view of preventing a hostage situation, his policy seems sound, especially when compared to the Libya policy of his predecessor.
After 18 years of American sanctions, on December 19th, 2003 Muammar Gaddafi announced that he would give up his nuclear programs and ambitions. Perhaps the sight of Saddam Hussein captured in his skivvies intimidated Gaddafi, who is reputed to wear lipstick and high heels and maybe even ladies’ lingerie?
The Bush administration response was swift and stupid. The economic embargo was eased, and the United States opened a liaison office in Tripoli and reestablished diplomatic relations with a notorious thug and friend of Idi Amin and Liberia’s genocidal Charles Taylor. Furthermore Gaddafi was the mastermind of the Lockerbie air disaster which killed 270 civilians on a Pan Am flight. Shortly after his emergence as Condoleezza Rice’s new best friend in the fight against terrorism, he issued an edict that all his opponents will be killed wherever they are.
Most galling of all, he was even invited to a Mideast Peace conference in Annapolis!
Again, Obama inherited our thug in Tripoli from his predecessor.
Last: Energy Independence:
In 2005 President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque N.M. The 1,724-page behemoth offered tax breaks and loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants, clean coal technology and wind energy. The bill has gone nowhere. OPEC still holds us over a barrel and the dim wits in congress have only legislated dim bulbs.
In his defense I have to add that congress stonewalled every effort at domestic drilling and nuclear energy. But now with the Middle East in turmoil and the oil producing nations in peril, Obama is left with no real energy policy from his predecessors.
It is a counterproductive cop out to blame everything on Obama. History does bite back. It makes much more sense to promote clear thinking among legislators and insist that they focus more on foreign policy.