The president of the United States gave a 6,000-word State of the Union address to the American people and, despite the fact the planet is blowing up with crises, conflicts, and misery, he might have devoted 600 words of it to foreign policy.
Of course, that may be because he has failed to deal with these problems adequately. Or even competently. Since SOTU is a speech for the president to toot his own horn, it’s hard to blow when his foreign policies blow.
With a dearth of foreign policy statements, there were several serious issues the president didn’t even bother to mention.
Here are a few, suggested by Josh Rogin writing in Bloomberg:
Yemen is the crisis du jour and it’s not surprising the president sorta forgot to mention it. Just a few months ago, Obama held Yemen up as an example of success of his counterterrorism policy. “This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years,” Obama said on September 10.
Today, Houthi tribesmen allied with Iran have taken over the capital city Saana, overrun the presidential residence, and are demanding virtual control of the government. Authority of the government is collapsing and things are so bad, the U.S. Navy has moved a couple of ships offshore to evacuate State Department personnel if it becomes necessary.
Failing to mention a failing state is perfectly understandable.
One of the most horrific terrorist attacks since 9/11 occurred in Baga, Nigeria, on January 3-5 when the terrorist group Boko Haram massacred 2,000 innocents in a bloodletting that was shocking even for them.
Boko Haram also recently attacked Cameroon, where they kidnapped nearly 100 civilians and murdered dozens more. They boast of the caliphate they are forming and vow to attack the west.
“What? Me worry?” (Alfred E. Neuman)
There was no mention of the “Arab Spring” in the State of the Union message because it doesn’t exist anymore. One might question whether it existed at all except in the minds of addle-headed western liberals who thought a leopard could change its spots, a tiger could change its stripes, and Arab Muslims could change their minds about democracy.
Why should Obama remind us that he backed the wrong horse in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and a host of other Arab countries? Arab Spring — out of sight, out of mind.
“Responsibility to protect” was the ostensible reason we went into Libya to help overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. He was killing civilians — something that shocked, shocked, I say, the preening moralists in the State Department led by Samantha Power. Now a bloody civil war is occurring that’s as confusing as it is tragic. No one’s in charge and the country is collapsing like a house of cards. Do we care who wins? If we could identify who’s fighting, that might be a start. But a myriad of warlords, militias, and jihadists fight among the ruins.
There are 200,000 dead in Syria at the hands of President Bashar Assad, so I guess “responsibility to protect” was thrown under the bus long ago.
Is this the first State of the Union address since…forever there was no mention of the granddaddy of all terrorist groups? But of course, al-Qaeda is smashed, its leadership is vernichten, its networks are destroyed.
Except AQ in the Arabian Peninsula just took credit for the terrorist attacks in Paris, AQ in the Maghreb is giving France and Algeria all they can handle, and ISIS, an offshoot of the old al-Zarqawi AQ group in Iraq, holds territory the size of Belgium and continues to expand despite the president saying last night:
In Iraq and Syria, American leadership — including our military power — is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group.
“Degrade” and “destroy” may be pushing the point. Hell, it’s busting the envelope. There was every reason for the president to avoid mentioning al-Qaeda when its franchises around the world are thriving.