Even the incredibly liberal People Magazine have called 2014 what it was for the President. The magazine crowned the president “The Embattled Leader,” explaining,
Once upon a time, Obama embodied hope – for peace between races, among nations and across political lines. After six years in the White House (with 2014 being, arguably, his most difficult yet), the President, 53, may be one of the last still clinging to that hope. As he said when announcing his bold actions on immigration reform, “Whatever I think might make a difference, I’m going to be trying out up until my last day in office.”
This year there were some incredibly embarrassing, and public, foreign policies failures from this administration that led to his being named “The Embattled Leader.” Here are a few:
Pro-Russian Rebels Shoot Down MH17; No Significant World Response
On July 17, 2014 a Malaysian airways jetliner was shot out of the sky over Ukraine. By all appearances, pro-Russian soldiers appear to have been behind the downing, and the deaths of over 200 people from around the world. Their bodies were held hostage, their luggage rifled through, and stolen from. How did the international community respond? With silence, just as it responded to Russian aggression in Ukraine in general.
Prisoner Exchange for Deserter Bowe Berghdahl
President Obama, without notifying Congress or seeking its prior approval, unilaterally decided to agree to an uneven and dangerous prisoner exchange to secure the freedom of possible deserter Private Bowe Bergdahl. The circumstances of his capture have been withheld from the American people, even to today, yet indications that his imprisonment was made possible by his own actions. Gov. Bobby Jindal didn’t mince words in his response to the exchange:
I completely disagree, however, with the manner in which the Obama administration achieved Bergdahl’s freedom. This is a major departure from American policy, and one that could generate disastrous consequences for our soldiers, our diplomats, and any American who travels abroad.
When terrorists and criminals unequivocally know, as they did prior to this week, that the United States of America does not negotiate with them, they have far less incentive to abduct our citizens.
By its actions has the Obama administration inadvertently put a target on the backs of all Americans travelling abroad? Let’s hope not.
Refusing to negotiate with terrorists makes our people safer. Terrorists all over the world need to know that our interaction with them will be limited solely to our effort to destroy them.
The White House is now saying that Bergdahl’s release was nothing more than a prisoner exchange, which it contends is common in times of war. If we were to accept that notion, perhaps we should take a look at this so called “prisoner exchange. “ But the White House certainly doesn’t want you to do that.
When you look at the rap sheets of the five terrorists we released from detention at Guantanamo, it is ugly. These men were five hardened terrorists with blood on their hands, all of whom were deemed by the U.S. military to be “high risk” to return to the fight.
Then there is the small detail that President Obama likely broke the law – by failing to properly notify Congressional leaders — in the way he released the five terrorists being held at Guantanamo.
The sad truth is that this aspect of the story is a yawner. Why? Because it is now well established that the president has no problem breaking the law or making up his own rules. For instance, under what legal theory did the president delay the employer mandate in ObamaCare? There isn’t one.
The Release of Alan Gross from Cuba
Late breaking in December, 2014 was the release of American Alan Gross from Cuban custody in exchange for Cuban spies in American prisons and a change in U.S. foreign policy vis a vis Cuba. Jonathan Tobin of Commentary explains why this decision, again made without consent of Congress, was so ill-conceived,
There are two underlying dynamics to the decision that are deeply troubling.
The first is that this rapprochement has been achieved by blackmail by a vicious totalitarian state rather than an honest and open diplomatic process. Though we are supposed to believe that Gross’s freedom was incidental to the agreement, it’s clear that his unjust imprisonment raised the price of the payoff Obama was preparing to hand the Castros in order to achieve what he is claiming as a foreign-policy triumph. This is a clear signal to other tyrannies that Washington can be fleeced if a U.S. hostage can be held for ransom.
Second, while America’s efforts had not led to freedom for Cuba, it’s far from clear that what will follow the president’s decision will actually end the Cuban people’s long Communist ordeal. Here, the China precedent is both instructive and chilling. By cooperating in this manner the U.S. is going from a position of futile hostility against Communism to one in which it will be directly complicit in the efforts of this brutal regime to survive. Just as American economic ties helped the communists in Beijing to succeed where those in Moscow failed at the end of the Cold War, so, too, is it likely that all that will be accomplished here is an infusion of American cash and legitimacy that will give a failed, bankrupt yet vicious government a new lease on life.
Though he paid lip service to the cause of promoting freedom when he spoke today, as with so many of his foreign-policy initiatives, the president’s focus is more on repudiating longstanding American policies than on actually helping anyone in Cuba. Nor has he extracted a fair price for granting the Castros what they have been demanding for decades. At a time when Cuba’s main allies, especially Venezuela, are in extremis due to the fall in oil prices, this was the moment for the U.S. to get more than just the freedom of Gross. But, as he has done with the even more dangerous regime in Iran, Obama paid a lot and got nothing for the Cuban people.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and Republican Senator Marco Rubio didn’t mince words either. Rubio’s remarks immediately following the announcement are a must-watch for any freedom loving American.
North Korean Movie Censors Get “The Interview” Pulled from U.S. Theatres
What does it take for the companies in the United States to capitulate to North Korean demands? Apparently, a cyber hacking and seemingly empty threats of violence. The same day as Alan Gross’ release from Cuba, on December 17th, the top five theatre chains in the United States decided not to show the comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. For all Hollywood talks a good game about “truth to power,” their cowardice here shouldn’t be forgotten by Americans, because it certainly won’t be by foreign governments.
Please share any others you can think of that happened in 2014 in the comments below.