Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Obama's First 100 Days

Michael Gerson in the Washington Post proposes a "thought experiment": considering the foreign-policy "achievements" of Obama's first 100 days, based on his campaign promises.

First up is Obama's pledge to meet with America's enemies without any conditions. Gerson quotes Kissinger: "When talks become their own objective, they are at the mercy of the party most prepared to break them off." Gerson paints a picture of Obama's, and America's, Chamberlainesque humiliation at the hands of Ahmadinejad as the press "... notes another of Obama's historic firsts: the first American president to meet with a Holocaust denier."

Gerson continues in the same vein, detailing Obama's disastrous meeting with Raul Castro as Hugo Chavez crows about Obama's "public apology for generations of American imperialism and militarism." Mexico and Canada, meanwhile, are incensed at being pressured to renegotiate NAFTA: "Why is the new president courting his enemies ... while insulting his closest friends?"

In Gerson's vision, the US military is outraged and demoralized as he yanks troops out of Iraq, undoing years of hard fought gains on the verge of success. Iraq devolves into renewed sectarian violence as a reprieved al Qaeda celebrates its "unexpected victory."

The conclusion:
Obama's 100-day agenda would be designed, in part, to improve America's global image. But there is something worse than being unpopular in the world -- and that is being a pleading, panting joke. By simultaneously embracing appeasement, protectionism and retreat, President Obama would manage to make Jimmy Carter look like Teddy Roosevelt.

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