Prepare Mount Rushmore for an addition. Here are the Obama Administration’s greatest foreign policy achievements to date.
13. Helping our Ukranian friends divest themselves of “Crimea.” Crimea? That sounds worse than a disease. Who needs a province with a name like that, that is full of Russians? Just give it back- glad to be of help. Our fierce package of economic sanctions and relentless criticism and reliance on principles of international law will ensure Putin’s aggression ends right there.
12. Ridding the world of Syrian chemical weapons, slowly but surely. After Syria’s dictator Assad so rudely crossed the President’s careful proposed red line, and he was at wits end trying to achieve a peaceful resolution of the impasse, and we sadly found that his oratical gifts did not move the recalcitrant Syrians, we seized on a constructive solution—eliminating these terrible weapons with the help of Vladimir Putin. What could go wrong?
11. Permanent Peace in the Middle East. While currently on hiatus, the talk of peace in the Middle East by the President (and it is, after all, his most important priority), and Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry, has been absolutely relentless. The Administration is currently at work on a new strategy for a framework for further amicable discussions—perhaps at Camp David?
10. Arab Spring- Egypt. The removal of right-wing, pro-American, military dictator Hosni Mubarak was accomplished with minimal loss of life, followed by the free election of a Muslim Brotherhood leader who, after following the hallowed traditional Islamic republic election formula, ‘one man- one vote- one time’, became briefly an Islamic dictator, before being replaced by a military strongman, who will soon become an anti-American military dictator. But this one will know that we are serious about American priorities and values.
9. Libya and the Overthrow of Gaddafi. This is where we perfected the “leading from behind” strategy and no, Mr. Smarty-Pants, that is not just a synonym for “following”. But that is just semantics. After all, as Mrs. Clinton said, at the end of the day, “What difference does it make?” Best Secretary of State ever? 1,000,000 miles covered! Accomplishments too numerous to list.
8. Improved Relations with Africa. It’s not fair to lump a billion people in fifty countries together like this, but what the heck, everyone (outside of Africa) does it. Our first African-American President; his father was BORN in Africa; he has relatives here who are “undocumented” guests from Africa—how could you screw that up? Beautiful attendance by the President and the regal Mrs. Obama at the funeral of the great leader Nelson Mandela, whose legend will grow with everything his American protégé accomplishes. We understand the President is working with the International Criminal Court to make sure it finally prosecutes someone other than an African leader. I just know there are other candidates.
7. Pivot to Asia. Another stroke of genius: defuse attention from the Middle East/Europe/Northern Africa 19th century muddle, to Asia, where we can use our power and influence and friendships—judiciously, of course !—to set a peaceful and prosperous tone for the 21st century. Of course, there will be setbacks. As Gary Trudeau himself observed in the 1970s, the Chinese can be ‘an especially tricky people’. And there was a bit of a setback this week in China, when a rude Chinese military leader had the temerity to tell our own Secretary of Defense Hegel (a Republican!) that China “could never be contained.” We are having serious further discussions with China on that topic, I can tell you.
6. Democratization of South America. Thanks to our administration’s support, our export of surplus academics, and just plain luck, a number of countries in South America have fled ‘the dark side’ of unrestrained capitalism and income inequality for a more fair and economically just society. The Guardian recently reported that after Chile’s elections in March, only Paraguay and a few Central American nations will have right-leaning governments. Yay.
5. Moving to a Nuclear-Free World. As we continue our relentless efforts—discussion, diplomacy, brain-storming, strategy sessions, meetings, etc.-- with Iran, North Korea and others to dissuade them from having nuclear capability, simultaneously, we lead BY EXAMPLE, by not only equaling but exceeding our nuclear disarmament treaty obligations. Just this week, we announced to the Russians four years ahead of time how we intend to reduce our nuclear capabilities through reduction of weapons on our nuclear submarines and B-2 and B-52 bombers. So very expensive, anyway and with so many mouths (and programs) to feed. Some may question the timing, given our issues with Putin’s Russia. But NO ONE can question our commitment to a nuclear-free world.
4. Nobel Peace Prize. Naysayers, have your fun. I’ve seen the photo of the sign from the red-state Jiffy Lube: “Free Nobel Peace Prize with Every Oil Change”. Hilarious. But this prize signifies what this Administration is all about—change and hope-- hitting the reset button—forgetting the past and starting fresh—talking, even talking too much, rather than using force, threatening to use force, or even threatening to use economic sanctions. We are never going to move forward as a planet under the President’s leadership unless we forget our history and our differences. The world will only be a nice place for everyone when the number one country in the world is nice to everyone all the time.
3. Moving Away from a Unipolar World. After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, political scientists on university campuses all over the world correctly and ominously observed that the planet had a single, global, economic and military power. That’s right: the country that stole its land from indigenous peoples, oppressed African-American slaves, mistreated other immigrant groups, jailed the Japanese during World War II, and to this day discriminates against gays and women, among others, effectively ruled the world. That is wrong. So when our President said that the United States was the best country in the world, but he intended to totally transform it, he had these issues in mind. We are not worthy to be the unipolar power. If the earth becomes more messy, so be it.
2. Defusing Iran’s Nuclear Program. Not “mission accomplished” here yet, but note that first, Israel has not yet blown Iran to smithereens, and second, Iran apparently still does not have the bomb. And speaking of progress, just this week both American and Iranian negotiators spoke of the negotiations being clearly on track for the July timetable. And speaking of countries that shouldn’t have nuclear weapons.
1. Number One Foreign Policy Achievement of the Obama Administration: Dennis Rodman’s Diplomatic Mission to North Korea. Pure genius! We are still uncertain of the genesis of this maneuver. North Korea may have some nuclear weapons and capabilities and a few rockets, but the rockets are unreliable and can’t reach the East Coast yet, right? And who can take seriously the leader of an entire country (and who told him to add a bad haircut to the young, fat look?) who has a state visit with Captain Wackadoodle himself, Dennis Rodman? It is not easy to make Ozzy Ozbourne look articulate, but Rodman did it. One doesn’t get to say this often, but Madonna: What Were You Thinking?