In a Fox News poll about foreign policy in October, 52% of voters said that President Obama is a “weak and indecisive leader,” compared to 32% who rate him “strong and decisive.”
This is a false dichotomy. Obama, as Dinesh D’Souza aptly illustrates, is not always indecisive when it comes to the issues that are true to his heart. There are plenty of stories of the faculty-style dithering that goes on in his administration, and it’s easy to see him as feckless, but it is important to understand that the president has a clear ideology related to American’s strength in the world—he despises it—and we read his foreign-policy agenda more as aggressively in pursuit of that ideology than as being overcome by events.
Donald Trump remarked, in the words of The Hill, that the deal was “so bad it’s suspicious”:
“It’s almost like there has to be something else going on. I don’t think there is, I just don’t think they’re competent.”
As usual, Trump is at least partially correct in getting right to the heart of the matter. Obama is the first ’60s radical to become president. Anyone who attended an American university in the past half-century is very familiar the leftist discourse that holds (with a complete lack of irony as they owe their livelihoods entirely to the luxuries made possible only by western civilization and especially American values) that America is responsible for all of the ills of the world. From “hey-hey, ho-ho, western civ has got to go” to multiculturalism to postmodern identity politics, these academics’ main premise is that imperialist west has subjugated the noble brown peoples of the world via colonialism, cultural domination, capitalism, and various other forms of oppression.
This is the worldview to which Obama gravitated at least since his university years, carried with him to community organizing and urban politics, and reinforced daily by mentors such as his wife, Bill Ayers, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
President Obama subscribes to an ideology in which anything that brings America’s global leadership down a peg is good, and anything that uplifts regimes of which America is perceived to have gotten the better over the years is fantastic. Just as he removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the White House as one of the first acts of his presidency, and he conspicuously refuses to ascribe terrorists’ motivation to Islam—that quintessential antithesis of American values—he felt compelled to push through the aggrandizement of two of the most ideologically anti-Western regimes in the world.
It’s hard to see his unilateral attempts to appease Iran and Cuba as indecisiveness: they were principled gambits to fulfill his ambition to make America weaker. Ditto for his insistence to release Islamic terrorists from Guantanamo at all costs. Thus Donald Trump is right in observing that the deal with Iran doesn’t really seem to have been much of a negotiation, though we would argue that it was “competent” in that it achieved his objective. It’s clear that he and Secretary Kerry—who no doubt shares his passion to uplift those who have been so aggrieved by the United States—were committed to give a victory to the Iranians. The mullahs on the other side of the table knew that they weren’t required to give much in return, as evidenced by their actions afterward.
The Americans would have begun any serious give-and-take with Iran with something to the effect of, “The requirement that you release the Americans you are holding as political prisoners is not part of this negotiation. It is a precondition of it; call us when they have left Iranian soil and then we’ll talk.”
Similarly, the Castros have also utterly refused t0 change their behavior after their gift from Obama. One wonders if Obama and Kerry, as well as the deep pro-Castro contingent among the Democratic caucuses in Congress, feels silly at the aftermath. (That’s a rhetorical question.) One can imagine how Obama must have been fantasizing for decades about the prospect of talking politics on the Castros’ veranda in Havana. It would make Bill Ayers proud.