February 27, 2014 | Quote

Our Next President Must be the Anti-Obama

While some in the GOP might seek to mimic (or even surpass!) President Obama’s reticence to assert U.S. power, most on the right recognize that we are going down a slippery slope. It’s instructive to see what a coherent alternative to the Obama-Hillary Clinton-John Kerry foreign policy might look like.

First, it would get the values and the rhetoric right. While Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) objects to tweaking a brutal aggressor such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) was taking swings at the despots in our hemisphere. On the Senate floor he declared, “This is the moment to point out that Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s abuse of his fellow citizens is intolerable to the United States. If he wants better relations with us, he should start by listening to the demands of his own people. He should lift the cloud of censorship that he is using to isolate Venezuelans from each other and from the rest of the world. And the United States should do all it can to help the people of Venezuela as they choose a different path, a path of freedom and prosperity, that will return this one-time enemy to its traditional role of our partner and friend. It would benefit them, it would benefit us, and it would benefit the world.” It is entirely apt that we make clear that good relations with the United States requiresrespect for basic human rights. (Cruz also called specifically for the release of opposition leader Leopoldo López, elucidated the noxious connection with Iran — and hence the need to proceed with sanctions — and made a clever proposal to deprive Venezuela of oil revenue. This is a model of cold-eyed realism and fidelity to American values.)

And, third, sober commanders in chief must abandon the notion that their own personal charm, earnestness or background is the key to resolving conflicts. We’ve seen time and again how Kerry foolishly anticipates “diplomacy” will work — in Syria, Iran or in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — if only pursued with diligence, as if no one who preceded him has ever tried to sway the Iranians, implored the Russians or cajoled the Palestinian Authority. It’s an egocentric and naive leader who would invest so much importance in personality. As Cliff May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies puts it: “President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convinced themselves that it was Mr. Bush’s cowboy swagger — not conflicting geopolitical interests — that were the root cause of Russo-American tensions. Their solution: ‘Reset’ relations with the Kremlin. That this was a misguided policy became evident when Mrs. Clinton, with elaborate fanfare, presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a button inscribed with the Russian word ‘peregruzka.’ She believed it meant ‘reset.’ In fact, it means ‘overcharge.’”

Read the full article here.