JUNE 3, 2015

U.S. foreign policy under President Obama is 'progressive,' but not 'pragmatic'

'The erosion of international relationships on his watch will be his legacy'

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WASHINGTON, DC – The publication, Foreign Affairs, described President Obama as a "progressive pragmatist" when it comes to foreign policy. 

Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, agrees that Mr. Obama is "a progressive in the socialist sense of the word, but he is hardly a pragmatist based on the numerous missteps of his administration.  It's beginning to appear that the erosion of international relationships on his watch will be his legacy when he leaves office."

Some of the Obama administration's "biggest blunders" involve U.S. interactions in the Middle East, according to Weber.  "Soon after President Obama took office he embarked on what was called an 'apology tour' of the Arab world.  But apparently he forgot that one of our staunchest allies in that part of the world has long been Israel.  He didn't take the time to stop off there or to address the concerns of the Israelis."

More recently, Weber noted, the administration has been "cozying up" to Israel's arch-enemy, Iran.  It's the hope of the White House that "skillful diplomacy" will cause the Iranians to give up or defer their nuclear ambitions.  "But, Iran stands pat as the U.S. gives in to concession after concession.  Meanwhile, the Ayatollahs in Teheran continue to make unveiled threats against Israel."

So dire is the situation in the Middle East that Israel may be making an unlikely new set of friends in the region.  A recent article in the Times of Israel quoted a prominent university professor who specializes in Strategic Studies who said: "In the Gulf, there is a particular concern over Iran and what appears to be the lackluster performance in Obama's administration in stopping them from getting nuclear weapons.  This will lead, if it hasn't already, to closer cooperation between Israel and the Gulf states." 

Meanwhile, recent polls in the U.S. indicate that there may be a measure of dismay among American Jews who have traditionally identified themselves as Democrats.  So, Mr. Obama gave a speech at a Washington synagogue that some say was an attempt reassure his party's Jewish base.  But apparently he did not do a good job because the speech was not so well received on either the right or the left. 

Political writer Aaron Goldstein, a socialist-turned-conservative, said the speech: "must be seen for what it is: a cynical means by which to make nice with the American Jewish community which although still solidly Democratic has become increasingly alienated from the Obama Administration due to its anti-Israel posture."

The New York Times said the speech: "offered no shifts in position, angering some pro-Israel leaders who said he had missed an opportunity to make concrete promises that would have allayed their concerns, such as by vowing to veto any anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations, including one calling for the creation of a Palestinian state."

Weber offered his own advice to the president.  He said that Mr. Obama needs to "wake up to the reality that Israel is perhaps the only ally we can trust in what is arguably the most volatile region on the planet.  He must see to it that the U.S. stands firm with the Jewish State.  We don't need to have their backs, as he put it; we need to stand side by side with them."

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