Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Obama's Incredible Shrinking Welcome Mat Around the Globe

Obama's Incredible Shrinking Welcome Mat Around the Globe
By Liz Peek

Obama's Incredible Shrinking Welcome Mat Around the Globe
Cuba, with an economy roughly the size of Amazon, Inc. that is frozen in
time thanks to decades of Communist rule, is on the rapidly shrinking
list of countries available to President Obama for a flattering
photo-op. The only good news about Obama opening up the Caribbean Island
to Americans is that Cuba can serve as a living museum, educating those
who might be sucked in by the next Socialist playbook-waving Democrat.
Just wait until those teens feeling the Bern try to find an iPhone
charger in Havana.

President Obama's planned visit to Cuba comes as numerous hot spots
around the world are bursting into flame. If the president has
wanderlust, it's a good choice, since traveling to Syria, Ukraine, South
Korea, China, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, Israel, Austria, Venezuela,
Germany, Denmark, Jordan, Turkey or Belgium might raise uncomfortable
political issues for our leader-from-behind.

In so many countries, the fall-out from U.S. inaction in Syria has been
profound. A rising tide of refugees from that country is swamping local
populations and in turn breeding anti-immigration populism much like
that infecting US politics. The EU, barely recovered from the bruising
fight over Greece's debt problems, is now battling efforts by Austria,
Denmark, England and others to limit the number of immigrants allowed in
their respective countries or the benefits to which those new arrivals
are entitled.

Angela Merkel, the Iron Lady of Europe, faces her first serious
political challenge in many years thanks to having accepted what her
citizens consider an overly generous admission of one million refugees
into her country.

At the same time, the Saudis are busily rearranging their alliances,
recently severing aid to Lebanon as their proxy war with a newly
emboldened Iran heats up. Russia has taken the poll position in Syria,
buttressing the Assad regime with aggressive military action while
refusing to heed the outlines of a cease-fire negotiated by an
ever-hopeful John Kerry. Turkey is now attacking Kurdish-Syrian rebel
groups supported by the US, throwing yet another key alliance into disarray.

Syria is not the only diplomatic failure. On another front, the Chinese
are busy installing missiles on their newly constructed islands in the
South China Sea. In recent meetings, Secretary of State John Kerry was
assured by his Chinese counterpart that no such militarization of the
illegal manmade islands would take place.

Leaked satellite photos of the missile installations surfaced while
President Obama was hosting leaders of the ASEAN nations at the famed
Sunnydale estate in California. The countries represented at the West
Coast retreat hope that the United States will provide a buffer against
the increasing muscle flexing of China. What must they think when the
White House allows such a flagrant breach of promise?

As a side note, even The New York Times had to admit that most of those
leaders, representing Viet Nam, Cambodia, Singapore and other countries,
which have not received such a courtesy, would have chosen the prestige
attached to a formal White House visit. Those wishes came in second to
President Obama's desire to play another round of golf.

Among the ASEAN allies most wary of the U.S. today is South Korea, which
has become increasingly alarmed by the nuclear tests carried out by
their northern neighbor. Conservative groups in South Korea are calling
for the development of a nuclear program, citing the increasing
insecurity of US backing. They are doubtless further emboldened by
reports that the Obama White House had secretly attempted to initiate
peace talks with the North Koreans, apparently willing to drop the
long-standing demand that Pyongyang first agree to halt its nuclear

Talks between the US and South Korea about installing a missile defense
system may hold promise, but only if the Obama administration can summon
the courage to confront an expected backlash from China.

That is highly doubtful, since China has substantial leverage over
Obama. Our president has sacrificed numerous important U.S.-China issues
(cyber security, the islands of the South China Sea, trade infractions,
sanctions on North Korea etc.) in order to achieve his highly touted and
ultimately insignificant climate agreement with Beijing. He will not
risk China withdrawing from that symbolic partnership, and they know it.

While Americans are riveted by the primary battles taking place, the
rest of the world continues to suffer from Obama neglect. The lack of
leadership is evident in every region. When Obama smugly talks about the
candidacy of Donald Trump, and describes the job of president as
"serious," we have to agree. But from his initial moves – abandoning the
planned missile defense systems in Poland and insulting England, our
most reliable ally – to his utter detachment from events in North Korea,
China and Syria, President Obama has left the world to its own devices.

As Marco Rubio has said (repeatedly), the United States is no longer
trusted by its allies and no longer feared by its enemies.

Now Obama will travel to Cuba, where he counts on being greeted by
enthusiastic crowds and a fawning press. He will be received as a hero
for "opening up" Cuba after so many years. Americans will wonder what
the United States will receive in exchange for the honor of a
presidential visit. Most likely, they will wonder in vain. If history is
any guide, the rewards will mainly accrue to Obama's legacy.

Source: Obama's Incredible Shrinking Welcome Mat Around the Globe -
Yahoo News -

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