Add another to the list of foreign policy blunders from President Obama. In historic fashion, the Obama Administration announced that the President would welcome a chance to meet, even briefly, Iranian President Rouhani at the United Nations. Iran’s response? Sorry, too busy.
Literally, that is exactly what President Rouhani said (starting at 0:46):
In the weeks leading up to the United Nations General Assembly, Obama and Rouhani had been exchanging letters in an effort to thaw relations between the United States and Iran. The administration has made it clear that the United States is interested in direct talks with Iran over its nuclear program. Obama even directed Secretary of State John Kerry to engage Iranian diplomats, the highest level talks in over 30 years. The meet and greet with Rouhani at the U.N. was intended to be the capstone to Obama’s renewed diplomatic efforts. Apparently that was a bridge too far for Rouhani, who gave Obama the stiff arm, marking an embarrassing slap in the face.
Let’s be clear, this latest blunder is peanuts compared to his complete fumbling of the Syria crisis. Weeks later, Syria has still not faced any consequences for its use of sarin gas on its own people. They have agreed, in principle, to put their chemical weapons under U.N. control, but it could be more than a year before the weapons are secured, if at all. And what happens if Syria reneges on the agreement a year from now and fails to turn over all of its chemical weapons, what then? Do we bomb Syria for something that happened a year ago? Is that really effective deterrence?
Needless to say, it has been en embarrassing few weeks for America on the world stage. A recent poll by YouGov found by a wide margin that Americans think Russian President Vladimir Putin was the most effective leader during the Syrian chemical weapons crisis.
At some point, the cumulative weight of Obama’s foreign policy blunders, both large and small, undermines America’s credibility as a strong world leader. We may have reached that point already. It’s too early to tell.
But one thing is clear – it is amateur hour in the White House.
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