Obama is a strong commander-in-chief. No troop withdrawals now.
Guardiano 10 - Writer and analyst who focuses on political, military, and public-policy issues. [John R. Guardiano “Obama's Defense Budget,” The American Spectator, 2.4.10 @ 6:07AM, pg. http://spectator.org/archives/2010/02/04/obamas-defense-budget]
Historical perspective and contextual understanding also are required. Obama, remember, inherited two wars, an omnipresent terror threat, and the greatest military in the history of the world. So it is not surprising that as president, and as commander-in-chief, he hasn't simply and recklessly dismantled and disarmed the U.S. military.
Yet, that seems to be the ridiculous and ahistorical standard against which the media judge the president. And, of course, given this standard (or grading curve), the president looks like a stellar performer and a strong commander-in-chief.
Give Obama credit for not being reckless; he is not. If he were reckless, then he would have foolishly and precipitously withdrawn troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama, however, has not done that; in fact, quite the opposite: He has sent tens upon thousands of more troops to Afghanistan and is adhering, essentially, to the Bush administration's deliberative, conditions-based plan for troop withdrawals from Iraq.
The president recognizes that a sudden and precipitous withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan would be an unmitigated national security disaster for the United States.
A drawdown signals weakness. Enemies will respond to his weakness
Morris 09 - Former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton [Dick Morris, “Obama's Weakness Issue,” RealClearPolitics, June 24, 2009, pg. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/06/24/obamas_weakness_issue_97145.html]
If foreign policy issues actually involve war and the commitment of troops, they can be politically potent. But otherwise, the impact of international affairs on presidential image is largely metaphoric. Since foreign policy is the only area in which the president can govern virtually alone, it provides a window on his personality and use of power that domestic policy cannot.
When President Clinton, for example, dithered as Bosnia burned, he acquired a reputation for weakness that dragged down his ratings. It was only after he moved decisively to bomb and then disarm the Serbs that he shed his image of weakness. It took President H.W. Bush's invasion of Iraq to set to rest concerns that he was a "wimp." Jimmy Carter never recovered from the lasting damage to his reputation that his inability to stand up to Iran during the hostage crisis precipitated.
So now, as North Korea defies international sanctions and sends arms to Myanmar and Iran slaughters its citizens in the streets, President Obama looks helpless and hapless. He comes across as not having a clue how to handle the crises.
And, as North Korea prepares to launch a missile on a Hail Mary pass aimed at Hawaii, the Democrats slash 19 missile interceptors from the Defense Department budget.
The transparent appeasement of Iran's government -- and its obvious lack of reciprocation -- make Obama look ridiculous. Long after the mullahs have suppressed what limited democracy they once allowed, Obama's image problems will persist.
While Americans generally applaud Obama's outreach to the Muslims of the world and think highly of his Cairo speech, they are very dissatisfied with his inadequate efforts to stop Iran from developing -- and North Korea from using -- nuclear weapons. Clearly, his policies toward these two nations are a weak spot in his reputation.
His failure to stand up to either aggressor is of a piece with his virtual surrender in the war on terror. Documented in our new book, "Catastrophe," we show how he has disarmed the United States and simply elected to stop battling against terrorists, freeing them from Guantanamo as he empowers them with every manner of constitutional protection.
Obviously, the Iranian democracy demonstrators will not fare any better than their Chinese brethren did in Tiananmen Square. But the damage their brutal suppression will do to the Iranian government is going to be huge. The ayatollahs of Tehran have always sold themselves to the world's Islamic faithful as the ultimate theocracy, marrying traditional Muslim values with the needs of modern governance. But now, in the wake of the bloodshed, they are revealed as nothing more than military dictators. All the romance is gone, just as it faded in the wake of the tanks in Budapest and Prague. All that remains is power.
China, of course, fared better after Tiananmen because of its economic miracle. But Iran has no such future on its horizon. The loss of prestige in the Arab world and the end of the pretense of government with popular support will cost Iran dearly.
In the meantime, Obama's pathetic performance vis-a-vis Iran and North Korea cannot but send a message to all of America's enemies that the president of the United States does not believe in using power. That he is a wimp and they can get away with whatever they want. A dangerous reputation, indeed.
Weak Obama makes global wars inevitable. One test of resolve will open the floodgates
Hanson 09 – Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History @ Hoover Institution, Stanford University [Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, “Change, Weakness, Disaster, Obama: Answers from Victor Davis Hanson,” Interview with the Oregon Patriots, Resistnet.com, December 7, 2009 at 3:52pm, pg. http://www.resistnet.com/group/oregon/forum/topics/change-weakness-disaster-obama/showLastReply.]
BC: Are we currently sending a message of weakness to our foes and allies? Can anything good result from President Obama’s marked submissiveness before the world?
Dr. Hanson: Obama is one bow and one apology away from a circus. The world can understand a kowtow gaffe to some Saudi royals, but not as part of a deliberate pattern. Ditto the mea culpas. Much of diplomacy rests on public perceptions, however trivial. We are now in a great waiting game, as regional hegemons, wishing to redraw the existing landscape — whether China, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, etc. — are just waiting to see who’s going to be the first to try Obama — and whether Obama really will be as tenuous as they expect. If he slips once, it will be 1979 redux, when we saw the rise of radical Islam, the Iranian hostage mess, the communist inroads in Central America, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, etc.
BC: With what country then — Venezuela, Russia, Iran, etc. — do you believe his global repositioning will cause the most damage?
Dr. Hanson: I think all three. I would expect, in the next three years, Iran to get the bomb and begin to threaten ever so insidiously its Gulf neighborhood; Venezuela will probably cook up some scheme to do a punitive border raid into Colombia to apprise South America that U.S. friendship and values are liabilities; and Russia will continue its energy bullying of Eastern Europe, while insidiously pressuring autonomous former republics to get back in line with some sort of new Russian autocratic commonwealth. There’s an outside shot that North Korea might do something really stupid near the 38th parallel and China will ratchet up the pressure on Taiwan. India’s borders with both Pakistan and China will heat up. I think we got off the back of the tiger and now no one quite knows whom it will bite or when.