In a speech delivered in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2009, Ambassador John Bolton (U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from August 2005 to December 2006) delivered a withering assessment of President Obama’s foreign policy decisions. An excerpt:
The Obama administration believes that its predecessor didn’t negotiate enough on issues like the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The president has said repeatedly–starting with his Inaugural Address–that the United States must hold out its hand to countries like North Korea and Iran in the hopes that they will unclench their fist and enter into negotiation. This reflects a curious view of history, since in fact the Bush administration negotiated directly or indirectly with Iran and North Korea for six-and-a-half years. But more importantly, it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of negotiation. Negotiation is not a policy. It is a technique. It is a way of achieving our objectives. It doesn’t tell us what the objectives are. The emphasis on negotiation as an end in itself reflects a shallowness in this administration’s approach to international affairs, and gives us little confidence that our interests will be well served.
Read the whole thing.
On a related note, Charles Krauthammer delivered an outstanding lecture last month at The Manhattan Institute entitled “Decline is a Choice”. Krauthammer lecture was adapated into an article with the same title in The Weekly Standard (HT: Owen Strachan). An excerpt:
The corollary to unchosen European collapse was unchosen American ascendancy. We–whom Lincoln once called God’s “almost chosen people”–did not save Europe twice in order to emerge from the ashes as the world’s co-hegemon. We went in to defend ourselves and save civilization. Our dominance after World War II was not sought. Nor was the even more remarkable dominance after the Soviet collapse. We are the rarest of geopolitical phenomena: the accidental hegemon and, given our history of isolationism and lack of instinctive imperial ambition, the reluctant hegemon–and now, after a near-decade of strenuous post-9/11 exertion, more reluctant than ever.
Which leads to my second proposition: Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly, and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course towards the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States–controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture–has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome.