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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dent On America's Failed Foreign Policy

Let me tell you something about LV Congressman Charlie Dent. He's a foreign policy expert. I learned that when he once called me from Islamabad, probably not the safest place to be, right before the surge, Dent was unable to stop describing the people, right down to the decorated buses that are used as taxis. A former International Politics major, he pays attention to what is going on in an increasingly scary world.

That's more than I can say for President Obama

Dent released the statement below right before President Obama's televised but uninspired speech to the nation last night on the threat posed by ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Dent's more comprehensive views below, which sound as though they could have been uttered by President Kennedy, are more comprehensive. Obviously, we need a strategy. More importantly, we need real leadership.

"Tonight the President will speak to the country and propose a strategy for dealing with ISIS. The President is late coming to the table with a plan, and not just concerning ISIS.

“The Tide of War is receding," President Obama has declared. Except when it's not.

Just ask the people of Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. These conflicts, while complex and distinct, collectively represent the most serious threat to global peace and stability since the end of the Cold War. And I’m alarmed. We need decisive leadership and action.

These on-going situations raise two questions: When will the United States develop a real strategy to deal with ISIS? And when will Europe understand the threat posed to the post- Cold War order by the Russian revanchist Vladimir Putin and respond accordingly?

Both questions need coherent answers. I sense President Obama is too passive, disengaged and defeatist in tone at this point to deal with these real threats. Members of his Administration including – UN Ambassador Samantha Powers, General Martin Dempsey, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and even Attorney General Eric Holder – have made stark, sobering assessments about ISIS and Russian aggression only to be contradicted by the Commander-in-Chief. Caution and circumspection are laudable traits, but these attributes should not be excuses for inaction or indecision.

Putin is a determined, ruthless autocrat who knows what he wants as he seeks to establish a renewed Russian sphere of influence. By contrast, the hideous monstrosity of hatred, barbarism, fanaticism and delusion – better known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) – is a cancer that continues to metastasize as it works its wicked will across the Arabian desert – murdering, plundering and pillaging every gruesome step along the way.

The good news is there is a genuine consensus that ISIS must be defeated and that a containment strategy is not a viable option. The United States, Europe, the new Iraqi Government, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, the Kurds, Iran, Russia and what's left of Assad's Syria all agree on that point. The Sunni's of the region, especially the Sunni Arabs, must realize it is in their best interests to end ISIS and shoulder more of the responsibility in fighting the ISIS menace.

The United States, the indispensable nation, is conducting limited air strikes, reconnaissance missions, training and arming the Kurdish Peshmerga, protecting Christians, Yazidis and Turkmen -- while encouraging political reconciliation among Iraqi Sunni, Shia and Kurds. These actions by themselves have slowed ISIS but will not defeat them. If President Obama intends to establish a coalition of the willing, then he must lead the effort. The coalition will not form on its own without our leadership – period.

President Obama must have frank conversations with our partners and allies in the region, starting with Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Saudi Arabia needs to engage militarily. The Saudis have a capable, American trained and equipped Air Force. What is the House of Saud waiting for? ISIS is an existential threat to the survival of the Kingdom. It's time for Saudi King Abdullah to move beyond grand rhetoric and start acting.

ISIS is on the border of Turkey. Instead of inciting Islamists, cracking down on dissenters in his own country and making belligerent statements against Israel, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan should join the fight with ground forces. He should reinforce the courageous Kurds on the frontline, rather than taking comfort in a buffer zone provided by the Kurds along its southeast border.

If the United States continues to act as the region's Air Force, Americans must demand more leadership – skin in the game – from the Sunni nations who too often privately support American intervention but are too afraid of their own people to provide full throated public and material support.

And then there is tiny Qatar, mighty financier of Hamas and radical groups in Syria including ISIS. It is time for Qatar to choose sides: ISIS or the civilized world. We can move our military base elsewhere if they answer incorrectly. Stated another way, we can easily remove the American security blanket that protects them.

Our friends in Europe, too, must move beyond strong advocacy in support of NATO, ahem, the United States, to lead the charge against ISIS, which represents an immediate threat to their nations. Of course, Europe will always reserve the right to complain about their American protector, which provides nearly three fourths of NATO's funding. This is particularly galling given that only three of NATO's twenty five European members – the United Kingdom, Greece and Estonia – spend 2% or more of GDP on defense.

If ISIS isn't enough of a threat to move Europe to lead and act decisively in its own interest, then maybe Vladimir Putin is. And, let's not forget the three famous reasons for the establishment of NATO: to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down. Thanks to Putin, a repurposed NATO still must keep the Russians out and the Americans in.

But, what about the Germans? I say let them play to their weight.

Same goes for the Japanese, as an increasingly aggressive China threatens stability in the Pacific.

The civilized world that operates within the “rules-based order” needs Japan and Germany – the 3rd and 4th largest economies in the world – to shoulder more of the global security burden that falls almost exclusively on the United States. The challenges are simply too great and too many for us to take on such a disproportionate share of the responsibility. These two nations cannot remain mighty economic forces while outsourcing too much of their security interests to the United States.

With Putin's recent escalation and overt invasion of Ukraine, it's time that European leaders get serious about stronger sanctions. Business is pretty good with the Russians for Britain, France and Germany, but accommodating the crocodile Putin to protect commercial interests while he violates the territorial integrity of his neighbors hearkens back to darker days when another European tyrant was "appeased" for eerily similar behavior – until it was too late.

And, yes, it is past time to provide defensive weapons to the Ukrainian government, which simply wants Ukraine to be a territorially secure, sovereign, independent nation. While I oppose admitting Ukraine into NATO, Ukraine must be free to form economic and political associations however they wish. Moreover, Ukraine is ground zero in this latest clash between east and west. The proud and thriving Poles once lived this brutal reality. That ground has now shifted. Ukraine is the new Poland.

Where do we go from here? No need to re-litigate the past – such as President Bush's controversial decision in 2003 to invade Iraq, or President Obama's decision to remove all American forces from Iraq in 2011 over the objections of so many in the national security establishment. Both decisions are history.

Yes. We must learn from them, but we must also deal with the here and now.

President Obama must provide real leadership in both the Middle East and Europe. Hitting the links after condemning the beheading of James Foley sent a terrible message that the President is not only disengaged, but detached from what's happening in the world. It’s time for President Obama to get off the 15th Tee, and stop blaming social media for the cause of people’s concern about the very real crises taking place. Facebook didn't send the “Little Green Men” (non-uniformed Russian soldiers), artillery and tanks into Ukraine, nor did it dispatch ISIS on its terror parade through Syria and Iraq. The Commander-in-Chief saying he has no strategy or plan for ISIS is dismaying to say the least.

Vice President Joe Biden says: “we will follow ISIS to the gates of hell.” I assume hell is ISIS-controlled Syria. If that’s the plan – to return American ground forces to Iraq and into Syria – what is the exit strategy from hell? And will our friends, allies and partners join us on this mission to hell and back?

Congress will insist on a say in this matter. That’s why President Obama should view Congress as more than a speed bump on the road to enacting his agenda. Congress must be a partner with the President in addressing these grave challenges that our country and the world face today.

Events are unfolding rapidly. As I said earlier, I’m alarmed. I wish there was some indication that the President is too.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

More Republican talking point issued by the Military Industrial Complex to their chicken hawk stooges in Congress. The entire Obama is always wrong shtick is getting so old.

Anonymous said...

Considering his views on Palestine, Dent's foreign policy is hypocritical at best, bought and paid for by AIPAC at it's core.

Whenever I hear republican saber rattling about Middle east threats, I am reminded how just about every Middle East expert on the planet ruefully warned that a US invasion of Iraq, and the unseating of Saddam Hussein will only lead to opening the floodgates for radical fundamentalist groups to pour in and take over these destabilized regions, leading to civil war, terrorism and things like 'ISIS'.

People like Dent and those who support him need to lace up their boots, load their weapons and get over there to personally deal with the problem they ignorantly created.

Anonymous said...

Charlie can fight his wars with his children-not mine.

Anonymous said...

That's precisely the problem with conservative warmongers. They're all for starting wars, but not so much the actual 'fighting' part.

Just look at the hypocritical warmongering Bush administration, nothing but a collection of chickenhawks....

http://www.awolbush.com/whoserved.html

http://www.nhgazette.com/chickenhawks/

Anonymous said...

That's precisely the problem with conservative warmongers. They're all for starting wars, but not so much the actual 'fighting' part.

Just look at the hypocritical warmongering Bush administration, nothing but a collection of chickenhawks....

http://www.awolbush.com/whoserved.html

Anonymous said...

Dent a foreign policy expert? So he saw something on his taxpayer funded trip to Pakistan. Let me guess, he thinks Dick Cheney should be in charge. Dent's greatest skill is getting re-elected by being worse than the Taliban when he is in campaign mode. Your slavish support of Dent nearly approaches your pathetic worship of your mancrush.

WRMaurer said...

My friend and I went to a town meeting held by Dent in midst of the Iraq war. My friend had two sons serving. Mr.Dent was well known to our area for state service and respected for his seeming concern for listening to all views. On this occasion he glibly dismissed the thought of investigating the actions Bush took entering Iraq. I lost my temper enough to be contentious and louder than I am normally comfortable with. Perhaps it was his tone acting as if an investigation was silly. It is now known Bush, on a month vacation, was warned by the CIA a month before 9/11 that there was indication Osama was planning an attack [perhaps with planes] and Bush sent him off with a "You covered your ass" remark. The 6 week war to be paid for by the Saudis etc. turned into twelve years and continuing. Nothing to see here. Dent, foreign policy expert? No. Political hack? Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with the two previous comments. I met Charlie Dent once and it was like talking to a mannequinn. Bush dragged the country into war and now we can never get out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The above comments come from Partisans who would attack Dent if he single-handedly fought off ISIS.

Dent had something to say. Obama is more concerned about getting back out on the golf course.

Anonymous said...

We've come a long way from the Styrofoam columns of Denver. Name one country that has as much or more respect for the US than before Obama took office.

WRMaurer said...

With respect to my previous comment. My opinion of Dent changed that day. You can not refute the factual failures of Bush's Iraq policies nor Dent's complicity in glossing over them. Your response is partisanship. Obama's policies are, at times, very poorly expressed and have met with mixed results. Refusal to criticize Bush makes Dent the partisan. Additional facts Saddam and Osama, we later learned, were ideological opponents and Paul O'Neill, Bush's treasury secretary, released a map, dated in early February 2001 [a few weeks after Bush took office] outlining how to divide the Iraq oilfields. An investigation of the reasons for attacking Iraq was and is more than warranted.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the propagandists and apologists are out in force today defending the indefensible.

The fact is that we are not safer after six-plus years of Obama. Putin is slowly piecing the Soviet Union back together after Hilary’s “reset”, Al-Qaeda is still alive despite Biden’s denials, and ISIS is rapidly expanding its territory.

Yet it’s all Bush’s fault. Never mind that a relatively small residual force left in Iraq would have held ISIS back. Instead, Obama has squandered the gains made by our soldiers – achieved with their blood – and gave it away to the terrorists.

I’m tired of watching my fellow Americans get beheaded while our idiot President tries to figure out if that’s a problem or not. His actions – and inaction – have set the Middle East on fire.

I’m glad that he finally realizes ISIS is a threat, and that he’ll finally get down to the serious business of hunting terrorists down – on every golf course he can find.

Bernie O'Hare said...

WRMaurer, I OPPOSED our involvement in Iraq. When everyone else was slapping each other on the back and claiming that blowed up real good, including the Democrats, I was against our involvement. I never supported it. I spoke out against it very publicly. Where the fuck were you?

But once we are in, we are in. The whole equation changes. You can't leave a job half done when it comes to foreign policy. Gen. Powell was right, too.

Now you can run along with Obama.

Anonymous said...

9:20 -

If an investigation was truly warranted, why hasn't Obama and the Democrats pursued one?

They had full control of the federal government after Obama was first elected and that could have been priority number one. They still have the White House and Senate. Surely Obama could have Eric Holder investigate such an important matter if there were a shred of truth to it.

The reality is that there's nothing worth investigating there, and your "facts" are likely the creation of some left-wing website trying to keep you believing that everything is Bush's fault and that Obama is doing a great job.

Time to wake up.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible, pathetic statement.

The President has asked Congress to vote on this matter. Also, now that the President has decided to take action (with the apparent will of the people), Rep. Dent is now concerned about intervening. Make up your mind Repubs, are you interventionist chicken hawks or are you isolationist pussies?

Anonymous said...

Looks like Bernie is in the minority on this one. Dent is an empty suit with little credibility outside donning a big pair of scissors at a ribbon cutting. He's a TV salesmen who used those sales techniques to get himself elected by geriatric rubes. Obama's left nut knows more about foreign policy than Dent.

Anonymous said...

Obama is making Jimmy Carter look like Winston Churchill. Soviets are on the march. Americans are being held hostage and beheaded. Gas has doubled in price. Record numbers are not working. Threats are increasing as defense dollars are decreasing.

History always repeats. I'm betting big money on our Olympic Hockey Team to pull off another miracle next time.

WRMaurer said...

Personal attacks all you got Bernie. As to "Where the fuck was I"Glass house element here, Berniekins. I don't oppose military action until the facts are known. We are not privy nor should we be to the facts when decisions are initially made. Condemning Bush's actions initially was premature by persons without access to the facts. The dishonesty became apparent in subsequent years. Dent was one of the people keeping it hidden. Congress should scrutinize, consult and criticize Obama's actions. There are areas where he needs help and areas where he deserves support. This is responsible and needed in a democracy. Dent is neither a foreign policy expert nor non partisan.

Anonymous said...

I thought 0bama said ISIS was a JV team?

If Israel had gone back to pre-1967 borders, as 0bama said they should have, then there would be no trouble.

I blame George Bush because it is what the liberal Lame Stream Media wants and because we are very fortunate to have the smartest and greatest President in the history of the universe.

Anonymous said...

"Obama's left nut knows more about foreign policy than Dent"

Obama IS a left(ist) nut.

Anonymous said...

The Dent press release is predictable. The same is being given by every Republican congressman across the country.

Anonymous said...

We were going to be greeted as liberators, oil revenues would pay for the war etc. etc. All this from a president who was AWOL from his fighter unit during Vietnam. lets not forget multiple deferment Cheney who never meet a war he didn't love as long as he or his daughters didn't have to serve in it. President Cheney and his boy Bush used the Sept 11 attacks to go after their enemies and Iraq's oil rather than defend the country. Bush signed an unworkable plan for with drawl from Iraq that guaranteed that Obama would be blamed for the result.

Anonymous said...

We were going to be greeted as liberators, oil revenues would pay for the war etc. etc. All this from a president who was AWOL from his fighter unit during Vietnam. lets not forget multiple deferment Cheney who never meet a war he didn't love as long as he or his daughters didn't have to serve in it. President Cheney and his boy Bush used the Sept 11 attacks to go after their enemies and Iraq's oil rather than defend the country. Bush signed an unworkable plan for with drawl from Iraq that guaranteed that Obama would be blamed for the result.

Anonymous said...

How long has Barack Hussein 0bama been president now, SIX years?

Is 0bama EVER responsible for anything?

Again, I thought 0bama said ISIS was a JV team, so what happened?

Anonymous said...

Hey 1:30 is name calling all you got? Oh you must be a republican.

Anonymous said...

Obama is making Jimmy Carter look like Winston Churchill

You know, the stooges who make up today's conservatives always expose themselves.

Jimmy Carter never committed a single troop to war. So I'd think Obama would be a bit more hawkish, don't you think? It used to be that conservatives had some intellect. You could actually digest an argument from William F. Buckley. Now, the party is full of ignorance.

Anonymous said...

The Dent press release is predictable. The same is being given by every Republican congressman across the country.

There are some Congressmen who are actually consistent. They called for military intervention and are standing behind the president when he gives it to them. Such as Peter King.

Anonymous said...

Is 0bama EVER responsible for anything?

Obama was responsible for hunting and killing Osama bin Laden. Thats a hell of a lot more than Bush did while he was busy choking on the pretzels and passing out.

Anonymous said...

Name a single country that holds Obama's America in higher regard than when he took office. How's that Russian "reset" going? The community organizer is once again voting "present" and the world thinks he's as phony as those Styrofoam columns in Denver. His daughters will look great in burqas.

Anonymous said...

"Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"

Anonymous said...

Obama is still responsible for an embarrassing 28 handicap despite 200 rounds played in six years with armed forces under fire and Chicago children being slaughtered by the dozens each weekend in his adopted home town. The white half of Obama is a laughably worthless golfer and vicious racist who clearly hates black children. The black half wouldn't stand for it for a second.

Anonymous said...

I thought 0bama said ISIS was a JV team?

So why did he need to give some kind of "great" speech last night?

Is blaming everything on Bush all 0bama's Kool Aid addicts got?

Anonymous said...

Bush choked on pretzels one time. But for the left that is more laughable than Obama's obscene 200 rounds of golf. He is the biggest phony we have ever had as president

Anonymous said...

Obama choked on Benghazi.

But, "At this point, what difference does it make?"

Peter J.Cochran said...

GO TO your archives Bernie, I stated on this blog last year that the U.S.Government hung those guys out to dry in Libya ,because The White House did not want the public to know we were doing 'business' with characters that were known to have killed our people ,prior to that next election.I believe we financed the early stages of this ISIS and like always when we have in the past financed groups like it has always came back to haunt us.I called your office Mr.Dent ,did you get my message then ?

Anonymous said...

I find it fascinating that not one single person can explain why the smartest and greatest President in the history of the United States famously said previously that ISIS was a JV team.

Could I be afraid that the Great One got his little projection horribly wrong and now that blunder has massive consequences that will end up costing the United States even more "blood and treasure", as the slavish LSM has always been so wont to say?

Did George Bush make Barack Hussein Obama say ISIS was a JV team or something???

Anonymous said...

Have to agree up until now, I to thought that Ronald Reagan was the worst president in history. Now it looks like Obama may surpass him.

Anonymous said...

find it fascinating that not one single person can explain why the smartest and greatest President in the history of the United States famously said previously that ISIS was a JV team.

Could I be afraid that the Great One got his little projection horribly wrong and now that blunder has massive consequences that will end up costing the United States even more "blood and treasure", as the slavish LSM has always been so wont to say?

Did George Bush make Barack Hussein Obama say ISIS was a JV team or something???


The Right Wing. Masters of hyperbole but completely devoid of knowledge. Via la Fox News.

Anonymous said...

The Left Wing.

Masters at blatant & in your face lies such as, "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period."

And dodging direct questions such as, "Did George Bush make Obama say that ISIS was a JV team or something?"

Anonymous said...

In fairness to many Republicans, the commenters here are primarily teabaggers. In the old days they were known as John Birchers, an extremely right-wing group of fanatics. Now they have come up with new branding and a network of their own. They take peoples fears and hate and recycle it into dogma that give people something to hate.

I am surprised they have been as successful as they have been but we all like people to give us the reason we are afraid and tell us who the "bad guys" are.

Anonymous said...

"Let me guess, he thinks Dick Cheney should be in charge."

Stop, please. One of the scariest t things I have ever heard. Dark Lord Cheney's bionic heart pump ruins on the blood of children.
Fear him!

Anonymous said...

In fairness to Democrats, the comments directed towards alleged "teabaggers" here are made by radical left wing Kool Aid drinkers who still have not figured out that 0bama lied when he said over and over again, "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period."

Anonymous said...

Dick Cheney?

Really???

Say, just exactly how long HAS Barrack Hussein Obama been President anyway?

Anonymous said...

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,"

I have and I am happy. I do know some Insurance companies have forced people out of policies and creates roadblocks to their doctors. It is sad they put profit ahead of care but they are just corporations at the end of the day. Besides, they need that profit margin to sponsor baseball stadiums and hockey arenas. That is necessary in order to ensure great health care.

Anonymous said...

I hear you 5:22. I am sure that is Obama's fault as well. I think the new default term for anything that goes wrong in their lives is, "blame Obama". They are creatures of habit and propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Another beheading today in the Middle East. You liberal pussies need your heads examined.Enough of your left wing poison about its Bush's fault and Dents foreign policy is weak.
YOUR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PRESIDENT has been at the helm for six years and the Middle East is on fire, Diplomats were killed in BENGHAZI and you pacifist liberal pussies keep pointing your fingers at the GOP. We are watching and witnessing before our very eyes the results of Obama's hope and change. DO YOU LIKE IT ??Only a liberal loser would say yes. I just hope that our country can survive the next two years without another major terroist attack on our soil.We need a strong leader who believe 's in American Dominance and will not apologize for the past. Obama is a disgrace to the history of our nation and those that have died to preserve freedom throughout the world.

Anonymous said...

"YOUR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PRESIDENT"

When a commenter mentioned that the tea party is the rebranded John Birch Society they forgot they are also the rebranded kinder gentler KKK.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the Race Card.

Again.

Of course, when all else fails (as usual).

Anonymous said...

Was EVERYONE who liked their doctor allowed to keep their doctor after Obamacare was shoved down the American People's throat on Christmas Eve?

Or is it, by chance, one radical left wing Kool Aid drinker got lucky and is confident enough to boast about it?

And exactly HOW MANY Obamacare waivers have been arbitrarily handed out, anyway?

Anonymous said...

"YOUR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PRESIDENT"

Oh by the way, if repeating your words is the race card in your mind. In most normal minds your words are actually the playing the crazy card.

nuff said!

Anonymous said...

No one playing the race card here but the liberals.
Obama embodies affirmative action.
Obama was elected as POTUS because of his skin color ...NOT HIS QUALIFICATIONS! THATS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AT ITS VERY CORE!
He isnt qualified to run the Oval office.Never was. Can't
make an executive decision unless it fits his hope and change agenda. Thats not racist but the truth.Liberals can't take the truth about Obama's failed presidency so you brand Obama dissenters as racists, KKK members. Charlie Dent has more qualifications to run this country than
Obama ...BY A LONG SHOT!

Anonymous said...

Does the foregin policy failure Barrack Hussein Obama now have to forfeit that Nobel Peace Prize he "earned" back in 2009 now that ISIS has been proven to be something rather more than a JV team?

Or is that George Bush's fault, too?

Anonymous said...

Notice how the radical left wing Kool Aid drinkers don't want to talk about how many Obamacare waivers have been arbitrarily issued ...

Just exactly what determines who gets a waiver and who doesn't --- other than unwavering allegiance to the Democrat Party, of course?

Anonymous said...

"NOT HIS QUALIFICATIONS! THATS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AT ITS VERY CORE!"

Can't argue with a grand wizard. I bet you tell your friends its a ghost costume for Halloween.

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest reasons Obama was elected President was the fact that McCain picked Sara Palin as his VP choice. I was leaning McCain but his poor judgment in picking that clown to be one heartbeat away from the presidency scared the Hell out of me. Especially because McCain wasn't exactly a young guy anymore.

Anonymous said...

anon 3:02,

Amen brother, Amen. Crazier than a cathouse rat in August!

Anonymous said...

11:51,

The Race Card don't work no more.

You better riot and burn down your own neighborhood now.

Because you are a victim.