Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Broken Prospects: The Making of an Obama Foreign Policy

Barack Obama ran on a campaign of accountability, change, and the reestablishment of America's standing on the international stage. Inside these platitudes were a set of declarations and promises, ranging from the immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the closing of camp X-Ray in Guantanmo Bay, ending missile defense systems, to the application of interrogation rules found in the Army Field Manual to other agencies in the government, such as the CIA, NSA, and other intel services. Obama has also made the intelligent choice by keeping SecDef Robert Gates on for another year.

Strangely enough, these promise are being backed away from, or in some cases, totally broken.

1) Interrogation techniques:

Earlier this month, the WSJ reported that sources affiliated with Obama's transition team informed them that U.S. intelligence policy will stay "largely intact." During the campaign, Barack Obama campaigned to end techniques such as waterboaring, and to end the tactic by applying rules found in the Army Field Manual to groups such as the CIA. It appears he is now backing off of this promise. This is a very good thing, but it makes for a very angry bunch of left-wingers.

2) Guantanamo Bay:

Barack Obama had as a part of his campaign, a position on ending the existence of indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay.

Earlier this month, the New York Times of all papers wrote a piece describing the problems of closing Guantanamo. They wrote about the difficulties in undertaking such a task, therefore attempting to soften the blow to left-wingers when Obama actually doesn't close Guantanamo. In addition, Obama's choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, is on the record saying the Geneva Convention does NOT apply to terrorist detainees. This is another indication of which way the wind will blow on terrorist incarceration in an Obama administration.

3) Ending the Iraq War:

He campaigned to end the Iraq war immediately. Well, now it is abundantly clear he won't. There really isn't much need to explicate on this issue much further. The left has raged against the machine for years, declaring the war in Iraq as an illegal provocation by an imperialistic Western power. The frustration they are feeling right now must be unbearable. Imagine, getting totally cock-blocked (figuratively) by the very man you elected to office. Fratricide, if you ask me.

Obama also ran against missile defense systems, but it is likely they will continue as well; unimpeded.

Finally, Barack Obama has made the competent and intelligent choice of keeping Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on for at least one more year. Gates is a Bush appointment, and the idea of him having a say in an Obama presidency must chafe the collective crotch of the anti-war left in this country.

Although his presidency will most likely stray hard left on social and economic issues, his foreign policy might actually end up being right of center.

To think, the hope for change among the anti-war community in this country was completely unfounded. To think, there might be a relatively similar foreign policy to the administration of George W. Bush. To think, the anti-war community has no friend in an Obama presidency. To think, all the anti-war movement was mere arm candy for Barack.

Only one word comes to mind:


Painful for them. But oh so sweet for me.

Hope eventually wears off, reality bites, and "change" can be changed itself.

By Conor Harrigan

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