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Tags: john bolton | obama | iran | syria | ukraine | foreign policy

John Bolton Tallies Cost of Obama's 'Depressing' Foreign Policies

By    |   Wednesday, 18 February 2015 07:21 AM EST

President Barack Obama has permitted one crisis after another to get out of hand and when he finally decides upon a course of action, it is too little and too late, John Bolton writes in The Wall Street Journal.

The former United States ambassador to the U.N. under George W. Bush and now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Bolton took a hawkish line against what he characterized as Obama's "too-little-too-late temporizing."

The president should have moved swiftly to provide offensive military aid to Kiev to help it repulse Russian-sponsored rebels seeking to partition Ukraine. Now, even if Obama belatedly provides the weapons the Ukrainians asked for, it is probably "too late" to reverse Vladimir Putin's aggression, wrote Bolton.

Citing Alexander Hamilton's Federalist No. 70, Bolton wrote that the founder expected that in foreign policy the president would lead with "dispatch."

Instead, Obama's method of operation is rooted in "indecisiveness" and equivocation — influenced by his "mistrust of America's presence in the world; inadequate interest, knowledge, focus and resolve."

This has left him with a "record of dithering" that is "long and depressing," wrote Bolton.

The president believes that "America's presence in the world contributes to problems as much as solving them" resulting in his trademark "withdrawal and passivity" approach, wrote Bolton.

Obama squandered a chance to exploit Iranian popular unrest in 2009 after rigged presidential elections returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. He has responded to Iran's quest for nuclear weapons with ineffective sanctions and an unconvincing "all options are on the table" mantra, wrote Bolton.

"Now we are nearly too late to stop the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism from acquiring nuclear weapons," Bolton said.

Similarly, the president has stood by as North Korea refined its ICBM capabilities to levels that could threaten the West Coast.

He frittered away the possibility of helping "moderates" in Syria against the regime of Bashar Assad. His assertion that the U.S. had "red lines" on the use of chemical weapons was left to peter out.

By pulling out of Iraq in 2011 without a "status of forces" agreement, Obama set the stage for greater Iranian influence in Baghdad. Now, his "feeble proposed authorization for military force against Islamic State should top the list of prime too-little-too-late exhibits."

His wavering approach to the collapse of Yemen parallels his earlier mishandling of Libya's disintegration, wrote Bolton.

Meanwhile, Beijing watches Obama's "weakness and irresolution," anticipating that faltering U.S. leadership will also mark the administration's motif in the Pacific.

Obama's failure "to act when it could make a difference only feeds the appetites of aggressors," recalling Europe's disastrous policy of appeasement before the outbreak of World War II, Bolton concluded.

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President Barack Obama has permitted one crisis after another to get out of hand, and U.S. enemies are taking advantage of his ineptitude, John Bolton writes in The Wall Street Journal.
john bolton, obama, iran, syria, ukraine, foreign policy
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 07:21 AM
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