Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, believes that "[The White House's foreign policy] initiatives truly reflect Obama's view of America's international role. His is a world of rhetoric and talk, not power."
In an Op-Ed at The Los Angeles Times, Bolton mournfully opines:
The coming crash of U.S. diplomacy is not idle speculation about a remote future. Our declining prestige is already apparent globally; when all three Middle East negotiations fail conclusively, America's influence will fall further. Friends and adversaries alike are recalibrating their policies accordingly, particularly because the underlying causes of the three impending failures will spell trouble and misfortune elsewhere.
Obama's ongoing failures could have been avoided. A less ideological, more realistic and clear-eyed leader would comprehend American power and interests, knowing how to use the former to protect the latter, rather than making Obama's basic mistakes.
Obama's first error: misreading your adversary. There was never any chance Iran could be negotiated out of a nuclear weapons capability it has pursued for nearly 30 years. Efforts during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations demonstrated how Iran deftly uses negotiations to gain political legitimacy, buy time to continue work on its nuclear program and evade international punishment. Hassan Rouhani followed precisely this playbook as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator 10 years ago. He is doing so again today as Iran's president.
The second error: not knowing who your adversaries are. Obama argued for three years that Russia shared his objective of a peaceful transition from the Assad regime in Syria to something else. This was never true. Moscow's support for Assad (as well as Iran's, directly and through Hezbollah) guaranteed he would only depart feet first. The U.S. could either have aided Syria's opposition or tackled the problem's root cause: the mullahs' regime in Tehran. Obama chose to do neither. His equivocation regarding Syria's chemical weapons program has provoked giggles or dismay at White House weakness.
The third error: not knowing who your friends are. The Palestinians lack legitimate governing institutions capable of hard decisions, including making perilous concessions and compromises, and overcoming resistance by Hamas and other terrorists. Without such institutions, no long-term solution is possible. Negotiating with the Palestinian Authority has less substance than negotiating with a hologram. Perversely, however, Obama treats Israel as the problem.
At the center of this inept president’s foreign policy is the misguided belief that the reason America has adversaries is because it has allies.
With red lines painted here, there and everywhere backed up only by bluster and no balls whatsoever, it won’t be long before we have only adversaries and no allies anywhere in the world. With this man sitting behind the Resolute Desk, our very existence grows ever more perilous.