Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

Obama's (and Hillary's) terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in foreign policy


What a week it has been for President Obama's foreign policy. And I don't mean that in a good way.

From the Associated Press : "The Taliban's warm-weather offensive has shown the insurgents to be bolder and better organized, holding more territory now than at any time since 2001, when their regime was overthrown by the U.S.-led invasion (of Afghanistan), according to recent U.N. estimates."

From CIA chief John Brennan : "(O)ur efforts have not reduced (ISIS's) terrorism capability and global reach. ... (ISIS) has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West. And the group is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the West, including refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel."

From the New York Times : "More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war. ... While dissent cables (within State) are not that unusual, the number of signatures on this document, 51, is extremely large, if not unprecedented."

So naturally, all anyone on the left wants to discuss is whether the Christians or the guns are to blame for an ISIS sympathizer's murder of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando over the weekend .

If I were them, watching the poisonous fruits of seven-plus years of naive foreign policy coming to bear all at once, I'd want to change the subject, too. Even more so if my goal were to elect one of the architects of these disasters, Hillary Clinton, as Obama's successor.

And if I were them, I'd also want to make a firestorm out of Sen. John McCain's perfectly clear comments about the consequences of all this failure. Democrats are tripping over themselves to link McCain's comment that Obama is "directly responsible" for the Orlando shooting to Donald Trump's conspiratorial blathering , but the context of McCain's remark  undermines that:

"'Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaida went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama's failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq,' a visibly angry McCain said as the Senate debated a spending bill. 'So the responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies.'"

Now, let's consider what it takes for our friends on the left to get outraged by this -- starting with their ignoring that they have been blaming everyone from Christians to the NRA to Congress for the attack.

And then let's consider that this apparent hypocrisy actually represents complete consistency. For if one wants to divert attention from the Obama administration's foreign-policy failures, what better way than to create a host of other scapegoats, including the man who outlined the administration's foreign-policy failures so succinctly?

I am not a Trump fan, as should be abundantly clear by now . But if I were him, I would spend most of my time on two lines of attack on Hillary: The first is that she would represent a continuation, and even a doubling-down, of the economic policies that led to the weakest recovery in decades. The second is that she helped Obama design a foreign policy that has resulted in homegrown terrorism, a slow return to military engagement in the Middle East, and a stronger, bolder adversary in Russia which is only complicating matters in Syria and elsewhere. Not only will Hillary struggle to answer concerns about those satisfactorily, particularly on foreign policy, but jobs/economy and terrorism happened to be the top two concerns of Americans in a recent poll -- surpassing 50 percent combined, and dwarfing everything else among all respondents, Republicans and independents.

Of course, voters will have concerns about how Trump would handle those issues, too. But at least he can promise something different from the morass we're seeing unfold right now.


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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.