When it comes to seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, President Obama is in a class by himself. Nobody is as unteachable as him. That isn’t to say that there aren’t some presidential candidates that aren’t as foolish as President Obama about the role the United States must play in the world, especially in the Middle East. Donald Trump fits that description perfectly. Late last week, Mr. Trump said that he wouldn’t have a problem with Russia taking out ISIS for us.
While that sounds appealing, it’s foolish in the long-term. It establishes Russia’s Putin as the go-to guy in the Middle East. That isn’t in the United States’ interests, especially when it comes to Iran, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and the Saudis. Having Russia’s Putin be the go-to guy in the Middle East translates into Iran doing whatever it wants to do. How is giving the leading state sponsor of international terrorism the latitude to spread wise for the United States, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia?
The simple answer is ‘it isn’t.’ It’s foolish. It’s almost as foolish as President Obama’s foreign policy. It’s potentially as dangerous as President Obama’s foreign policy. Bret Stephens observes that Obama said the “tide of war was receding. Al Qaeda was on a path to defeat. ISIS was “a jayvee team” in “Lakers uniforms.” Iraq was an Obama administration success story. Bashar Assad’s days were numbered. The Arab Spring was a rejoinder to, rather than an opportunity for, Islamist violence. The intervention in Libya was vindication for the “lead from behind” approach to intervention. The reset with Russia was a success, a position he maintained as late as September 2013.”
Contrast Trump’s and Obama’s lead from behind approach to foreign policy with Carly Fiorina’s approach to foreign policy:
What I would do immediately, I would begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would also conduct military exercises in the Baltic states, I’d probably send a few thousand more troops to Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message. By the way, the reason it is so critically important we that everyone of us know the General Soleimani’s name is because Russia is in Syria right now, because the head of the Quds Force traveled to Russia and talked to Vladimir Putin into aligning themselves with Iran and Syria to prop up Bashar al-Assad. Russia is a bad actor but Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side and we have all of that within our control. We could rebuild the Sixth Fleet. I will. We haven’t. We could rebuild the missile defense program. We haven’t, I will. We could to Senator Rubio’s point, give the Egyptians what they asked for, which is intelligence, we could give the Jordanians what they’ve asked for bombs and material. We have not supplied it, I will.
Another thing that would sting Putin and cut him down to size is the US announcing that it’s building natural gas pipelines to Poland and the Ukraine. That alone would rock Putin’s world. None of these actions require US boots on the ground to fight ISIS. All of these things undercut Putin’s ability to prop up nations like Syria and Iran.
Further, it would give the Saudis, Jordanians, Ukrainians and, most importantly, the Israelis reason to believe that, in Mrs. Fiorina’s words, The US in back in the leadership game again.
Because the Obama administration has abdicated its role on the world stage, Russia has looked like a superpower. People who witnessed President Reagan’s dismantling of the former Soviet Union know that Russia isn’t a superpower. Its economy is limited. It doesn’t have the levers of power, either militarily and economically, that the United States has.
Simply put, it’s acting like a superpower without being a superpower.
The question facing voters this year is whether they want another administration that ignores the world or whether it wants an administration that’s engaged on the world stage. If they want a president that’s intent on stopping ISIS and Iran, there’s only one choice.
Her name is Carly Fiorina.