Today the U.S. and Europe face a revanchist Russia that has invaded Ukraine. In East Asia, China has solidified its hold over the South China Sea, and its navy and growing military threaten Taiwan and beyond. Iran’s threat to Israel is on the rise and U.S. influence across the Middle East is on the wane. The U.S. military is increasingly incapable of confronting the threats the nation faces.
And that is all just for starters…
Making Russia Great Again
Russia would never have threatened Ukraine had it not been for Obama’s Russia reset.
Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, looked to Washington and saw weakness in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Georgia. Russian tanks likely would not be on Ukrainian soil today had Obama shown strength and resolve after Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008.
Candidate Obama equivocated between the Russian aggressor that illegally occupied Georgian territory and the pro-Western Georgian government of Mikheil Saakashvili.
“I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict,” Obama said in a written statement in August 2008. “Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint and to avoid an escalation to full-scale war. Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected.”
Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin sized up Obama and correctly predicted that Putin would invade Ukraine if he was elected.
“After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next,” Palin said.
No sooner did Obama become president did he rush to appease Moscow.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to Moscow to present Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red reset button.
“I would like to present you with a little gift that represents what President Obama and Vice President Biden and I have been saying and that is: ‘We want to reset our relationship and so we will do it together,’” Clinton said.
Obama canceled the Bush administration’s missile-defense plans. It entered into the New START Treaty with Russia. It pushed back against congressional efforts to pass the Magnitsky Act that was later used as a cudgel by Democrats against Donald Trump.
After the Syrian Civil War broke out and after Russia invaded Ukraine, Obama all but invited Russian intervention in Syria. That provided Russia with combat experience that its troops later applied in the second invasion of Ukraine.
Obama colossally misread Putin. He thought Putin was like Gorbachev. He was wrong.
Obama Set the Stage For the Rise of ISIS
Barack Obama signed a still highly classified presidential declaration in 2010 that set the stage for the Arab Spring uprisings called PSD-11. The directive opened the door to support for Islamist movements that overthrew the governments of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, as well as the destabilization of Syria.
The Obama administration provided covert support for jihadist movements in Libya and Syria. Many of these jihadists aligned with the Libya Dawn militias in Libya and the Free Syrian Army in Syria that defected to ISIS. The power vacuum created by the Obama administration’s policies opened the door for the rise of ISIS.
The administration provided assistance to groups with jihadist orientations through the CIA, on the basis they were anti-ISIS. No one knows how they were vetted. Some estimates suggest as much as $1 billion was thrown at these groups without much success.
Obama Does Little to Counter China in the South China Sea
When reports surfaced that China was building installations in the South China Sea, the Obama administration did almost nothing apart from lodging protests. Following Xi Jinping’s accession to the Chinese Presidency in 2012 he became increasingly belligerent when it came to asserting China’s claim to the entire South China Sea.
Pleading from the Obama administration to stop construction in the South China Sea did little to deter it.
“Over the past two years, US policy has failed to prevent China from largely succeeding in the de facto militarisation of the South China Sea,” The Financial Times reported in 2016. “Media reports suggest that when Pentagon officials and Pacific Command have pushed for a stronger response, the White House has consistently reined them in for fear of jeopardising Chinese support on global issues such as climate change.”
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.