Obama’s FP speech is a failure

Council on Foreign Relations

At West Point today, President Barack Obama laid out his vision for U.S. foreign policy,  calling for the need to avoid both unnecessary military entanglements and isolationism. CFR President Richard N. Haass said the speech lacked a clear strategic rationale. “It seemed to be a speech that didn’t so much lay out a clear path of what he favored so much as what he opposed. It was against isolation; it was against indiscriminate intervention; it rejected too much use of force but also rejected too little. It was an attempt to essentially carve out a form of involvement in the world that avoided any and every excess, but with one or two exceptions, it didn’t provide any specifics.”

For Foreign Affairs, Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution argues that “Obamas overall foreign policy doesnt add up to much, in large part because he is explaining it so tepidly.” OHanlon suggests two broad themes for the president: “First, he should champion the United States successes in the war on terror more confidently. He does not need to be George W. Bush, but a little dose of Ronald Reagan might help.” On Asia-Pacific policy: “Instead of just reiterating that the so-called pivot or rebalance is alive and well, how about giving a clearer sense of what the United States is going to do in the region now that it is supposedly back?”

OHanlon concludes, “The West Point speech was not one of Obamas best efforts and will not by itself solve the problem. But it was a start.”

Read “The Obama Defense” on ForeignAffairs.com.

In 2007, while still a U.S. senator, Obama laid out his foreign policy vision in the pages of Foreign Affairs. “The American moment is not over, but it must be seized anew,” he wrote. “To see American power in terminal decline is to ignore Americas great promise and historic purpose in the world. If elected president, I will start renewing that promise and purpose the day I take office.”

Read “Renewing American Leadership” on ForeignAffairs.com.

More analysis:

Haass Huffington Post column, “Fixing Our Foreign Policy: Twelve Ideas From a Sometimes Critic.”

CFR Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams Washington Post op-ed, “Obama Just Accidentally Explained Why His Foreign Policy Hasn’t Worked.

CFR Senior Fellow Janine Davidson’s blog post, “Whats Next for Afghanistan?

CFR Senior Fellow Max BootCommentary op-ed, “Obamas Split-the-Difference Foreign Policy.”

About CFR

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.


May 29, 2014 | 8 Comments »

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8 Comments / 8 Comments

  1. It’s a big mistake to criticize Obama’s foreign policy under the assumption that it’s an American foreign policy. It’s not. Obama is a Kenyan, Muslim usurper of the American presidency who hardly has this country’s interests at heart.Just look at what he’s done in the Mideast with his support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Wake up America.

  2. Obama’s foreign policy is really quite simple, betray or abandon America’s allies, and empower or simply run in fear from America’s enemies. And blame Bush for every problem in the world!

  3. “…needed a dose of Reagan…” Huh? This guy Obo is the anti-Reagan. He is the figurehead of all those survivors of those late 60s- early 70’s folks who wanted to (in the words of Jim Morrison) “burn the whole sh**house down”. SDS, Carmichael,H Rap Brown, et al. His PRIMARY aim is, as has been noted umpteen times and ignored by the comatose electorate, the transformation of America. Which he has been doing via IRS, Obiecare,DOJ, and creating a parallel and aggressive universe for Islam within the US and A. On foreign policy, its a combination several factors, including but not limited to good ole’ lefty anti-imperialism ( with Israel cast as a colonial imperialist), selective disinterest, and encouragement of the fundamentalist Muslim ummah, which he thinks will unite the mideast.

  4. @ BethesdaDog:

    Whoops! Wrong link. I mixed two web addresses for the two D.C. area conservative talk radio stations to which I regularly listen. One was WMAL. The one with Hugh Hewitt is a Salem station. The correct link is


    This station carries Hugh Hewitt, Frank Gaffney, Dennis Prager, Mike Medved, Bill Bennett, Lars Larson and Mike Gallagher, Sean Hannity, among others.

    The other station carries Rush Limbaugh, John Batchelor, Michael Savage, among others. I often stream these local stations on computer rather than pick up the broadcast since the stream is often better, particularly during bad weather, like the frequent summer storms. You can go to the website of any radio host who interests you and most likely find a computer stream, so you can listen anywhere in the world. In addition, John Batchelor and Frank Gaffney have podcasts or audio files you can listen to at a later date. Batchelor’s are on ITunes. Last night I listened to a broadcast from last week. Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents is usually on Batchelor’s show every week and you can hear his views on Middle East developments.

  5. Here’s a link to Hugh Hewitt’s posts on the Obama speech. He discussed the speech with two very bright guys, Pete Wehner (a former Bush speechwriter and a writer for Commentary Magazine) and Bill Kristol. The audios of the show are up too.


    Look for the two posts Hugh made on Thursday, May 29th, since he scrolls his posts as he makes them, and by the time you go to this page, they might have rolled down.

  6. Hugh Hewitt really went off on this speech on his Wednesday radio show. Hugh, who used to work in the Reagan WH, part of the time writing speeches, could not stop talking about how bad and cliche’d it was. He really jumped on something Obama said about every time there’s a war being a nail we’re not the hammer, or something along those lines. Later, he got Bill Kristol into the act. They’ve got a real bunch of amateurs and hacks in the White House, like that guy who was interviewed by Bret Baier on Fox and called him “Dude.” This is how bad it has gotten. Obviously, there was so little substance to the speech, but evasion and negativism about America’s role in the world. This man is such a horrible defeatist. It’s what the west has come to, and Putin and the Chinese (not to mention the Iranians) are laughing their asses off over this clown. If you have a Salem radio affiliate, you might check for a weekend replay of the Hewitt show, or else try http://www.1260wmal.com and look at the weekend schedule to see if there are some Hewitt rebroadcasts. There should be. This guy Obama is just a disaster..a total disaster. You folks in Israel who complain about Bibi, and his lies and so forth, I don’t think he’s 1/10th as bad as this guy. I don’t know if he, Bibi, will run from a fight, when it really counts. Yeah, he hasn’t attacked Iran yet, but I don’t know if he will shrink from a fight when it’s on the line. At least he knows how to fire a gun and will advance in the face of hostile fire. He did that in ’73. This character Obama would never go near a gun. He’s a total coward.