With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the White House’s bizarre insistence that this shows how strong President Obama is, there is an outbreak of incredulity in the mainstream media. It seems like only yesterday they were mocking Mitt Romney for calling Russia our greatest geopolitical challenge, defending the president on his flip-flop on the red line on Syria (he was “flexible!”) and buying into his narrative that those who wanted sanctions against Iran, including, I guess, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.), wanted to wreck diplomacy.
Whether it is print, online or on air, the media have awoken to the unseemly reality that the president is out to lunch when it comes to Russia. And it doesn’t seem to stop there. Even one of the most dependable apologists for the president on the Middle East sounded downright incredulous in questioning the president’s twisted narrative about Israel, Syria and the Palestinians.
But Obama’s foreign policy malpractice did not appear overnight, nor does it stop with the White House. While in a spasm of appropriate skepticism the press might ask some probing questions, not only of him but of members of Congress and 2016 contenders.
1. To White House spokesman Jay Carney: Was the president referring to Hillary Clinton when he derided “those who believe that two years ago, or three years ago, there was some swift resolution to this thing had we acted more forcefully, fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the conflict in Syria and the conditions on the ground there?” Was Clinton right in retrospect that we should have acted when more options were available?
2. To Hillary Clinton: Was the president telling the truth when he said, ” I’ve looked at a whole lot of game plans, a whole lot of war plans, a whole bunch of scenarios, and nobody has been able to persuade me that us taking large-scale military action even absent boots on the ground, would actually solve the problem. And those who make that claim do so without a lot of very specific information”? Does you agree with the president that the United States won’t be able to defend Israel if the peace process fails?
3. To Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.): Was your comment criticizing Republicans for “tweaking” Vladimir Putin ill-advised? Do you agree with your father that Crimea should be back in Russia soon? (His father’s “institute” puts out this garbage: “It is becoming clear that the Nuland/neocon/NED campaign against Russia in Ukraine was probably a covert action intended to punish Russia for not supporting US/Israeli/Saudi and Turkish policy in Syria and to some extent with regard to Iran.”)
4. To Senate Democrats: Do you really trust the president’s judgment on Iran sanctions?
5. To Susan Rice: Has the PA at any time said it would recognize the Jewish state or give up the right of return? Why, then, does the president insist Mahmoud Abbas is a man of peace and Israel’s conduct threatens the peace process? Does the president no longer believe the United States will always stand by Israel? (Obama said that “if you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction — and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time — if Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.”) Did the PA offer to recognize Israel during the settlement freeze agreed to by Israel?
6. To Secretary of State John Kerry: Why are you surprised Russia acts like a 19th-century aggressor? Didn’t you see the invasion of Ukraine coming?
7. To Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): How long will you hold hostage an Iran sanctions bill that more than 70 senators will vote for? If you stood up to the president on trade authorization, why not on Iran?
8. To every Senate Democrat up for reelection: Do you agree with the president on Iran, Israel, Ukraine and other major foreign policy issues? If not, what are you doing to block those policies and push him toward better ones?