The Five Obama Foreign Policy Tests:
Obama's Not Even Sworn In Yet But
Russia, Terrorists, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran
Have Started the Testing of Obama
Americans were assured that the world couldn't wait until the election of a President Obama--and it was true. The world didn't wait until Obama officially takes office on January 20 to start testing the former junior senator from Illinois.
Joe Biden called it during the presidential campaign: Within six months, Barack Obama will be tested by countries around the globe if he won. [Joe Biden: Elect Obama and We’ll Have an International Crisis]
The Mainstream press didn't address Biden's comments much--other than feature numerous campaign spokesmen "clarifying" Biden's remarks. Obama's lack of experience or credentials wasn't a topic for polite MSM conversation: it was much more pleasant to write about what "Change" really meant.
Within hours of Barack Obama winning the 2008 election, Russia announced it was putting missiles next to NATO countries. This wasn't the only wake-up call for the new administration. There are other countries and groups seemingly lined up to see what the United States' response will be to global challenges.
We've picked out four of the earliest ones.
- Test #1: Russia and Europe
From Obama's First Diplomatic Test:
The day after Obama's election, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev publicly threatened to deploy missiles near the borders of two NATO allies to counter the Bush Administration's plans to install antimissile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Russian announcement, rolled out during an elaborate ceremony, was timed to put one of the most contentious issues between Moscow and Washington on Obama's table right away. Obama and his advisers took it as an intentional provocation aimed at testing the President-elect.
TIME then makes an amazing statement: "In fact, Obama's biggest challenge lies not in the tone he takes with the Russians but in the substantive policy choices he makes."
What is this? Won't "acting presidential" pacify the Russians? It certainly worked on the American Mainstream Media during the election. It seems a little late in the game for TIME to talk "substantive policy choices" after the election.
Unlike the MSM, Russia will not be swayed by a confident Obama style only. Like their invasion of Afghanistan during Jimmy Carter's term, the Russians will be watching U.S. responses and adjusting their policy accordingly.
- Test #2: Iraq and Afghanistan
Obama ran a relentless campaign against George W. Bush--who wasn't a candidate. But Obama will find that it was Bush's surge policy--in stark contrast to Obama's plan to beat a hasty retreat--that carried the day in Iraq.
From early indications, Obama will roughly follow the Bush agenda for Iraq; no doubt disturbing his anti-war supporters who helped him secure the Democrat nomination. It's been quiet in Iraq the last several months: some want to declare victory.
But the incoming Obama administration may be tested by all parties in Iraq, including the Iraqi government.
Al-Qaida seems detested, dejected and defeated, but they may be lying dormant. They will monitor developments and American policy and look for any openings to test the new president.
Afghanistan is a different matter.
The Afghan central government is corrupt; NATO allies--with the exception of Britain--are not much good once shooting starts; and, the Taliban appears to be getting stronger as the war wears on.
It's promising that during the campaign, Obama did support the war in Afghanistan. So, cutting-and-running is probably not his first option from the opium capital of the world.
Obama has also said that he recognizes the situation in Afghanistan is worsening. What actions will he take in response?
- Test #3: Biological and Nuclear Terror
From Panel Fears Use of Unconventional Weapon:
An independent commission has concluded that terrorists will most likely carry out an attack with biological, nuclear or other unconventional weapons somewhere in the world in the next five years unless the United States and its allies act urgently to prevent that.
In a report to be released this week, the Congressionally mandated panel found that with countries like Iran and North Korea pursuing nuclear weapons programs, and with the risk of poorly secured biological pathogens growing, unconventional threats are fast outpacing the defenses arrayed to confront them.
“America’s margin of safety is shrinking, not growing,” the bipartisan panel concluded.
Pakistan is a particular area for concern, with terrorists with an eye toward causing death and destruction likely to come from that U.S. ally. It's suspected that the Mumbai terrorists came from Pakistan, where they likely trained and prepared.
“Pakistan is an ally, but there is a grave danger it could also be an unwitting source of a terrorist attack on the United States — possibly with weapons of mass destruction,” the report said.
- Test #4: India and Pakistan
ABC News called Mumbai "Obama's first foreign policy test". From Mumbai: Obama's First Foreign Policy Test:
American officials believe the terrorists may be Pakistani extremists bent on turning the disputed Kashmir region along the border with India into a separate Islamic state.
As Obama continues to work with the current administration to prepare for a seamless transition, history shows that foreign policy and national security cannot be put on hold during presidential transitions.
Mumbai was seen by some, including Melanie Phillips, as another battle in the worldwide Jihad now being fought.
One wrong move and the world could witness the first nuclear war between the countries on the Indian subcontinent.
- Test #5: A nuclear armed Iran
Iran is not going to change its headlong pursuit of nuclear weapons--or its reasons for acquiring them--because of pleasant talk, smiles and handshakes. The Islamic Republic respects one thing: power.
What actions will a President Obama take?
Hopefully, they'll be wiser than the policies of ex-president, Jimmy Carter.
From Obama's First Foreign Policy Tests
Successive, Democratic and Republican U.S. administrations have appeased the Islamists in Iran, starting with the catastrophic Carter administration, which secretly assisted the Islamist overthrow of the pro-U.S. Shah, a modernizing monarch, in a craven, cynical attempt to curry favor with the Ayatollah Khomeini.
China Confidential analysts believe that Iran's Hitlerian maniac-in-chief, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (whom President-elect Obama has offered to meet in face-to-face talks) is determined to announce a major nuclear breakthrough in time for this February's 30th anniversary celebrations of the Islamic Republic.
Five tests for President-elect Obama.
The world will be watching to see how he scores.
Americans hope he gets a passing grade.
by Mondo Frazier
image: dbkp file