Credit Where It's Due: Washington Post, Los Angeles Times Both Slam Obama's Foreign Policy Record

On Monday, both the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post each published opinion articles attacking President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Obama and Venezuela;s Hugo Chavez. (Photo source: Huffington Post)

The LAT article, by former Dick Cheney adviser John Hannah, was entitled: “The U.S.: MIA in the Mideast.” It makes the case that despite Obama’s success in the war against Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, overall his foreign policy of “retreat” has destabilized the region:

In private conversations I’ve had with Middle Eastern officials, the sense of unease and dread expressed are only more severe. Fairly or not, these leaders appear to have taken Obama’s measure and found him wanting. Their bill of indictment includes retreat from Iraq and, soon, Afghanistan; betrayal of longtime U.S. allies, especially Mubarak; indulgence of enemy regimes in Tehran and Damascus; overblown promises to end the Palestinian conflict; and a persistent failure to mount the type of credible military option that these leaders believe is necessary for addressing the region’s most urgent threat — Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

The hardening conviction that the U.S. is disengaging from the Middle East should be cause for real concern.

Hannah also attacks “the administration’s lack of strategic vision, its instinct for retreat and its complicity in the unraveling of a benevolent imperium that has for decades underwritten the region’s security.” He notes that a perception of U.S. weakness is “one that left unchecked will breed uncertainty, instability and even war.”

The Washington Post article, by columnist Jackson Diehl, declares: “Obama’s foreign initiatives have failed.” Like Hannah, Diehl questions the conventional political wisdom, which sees foreign policy as a strong card for Obama to play in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death.

Diehl concludes that Obama’s major foreign policy initiatives–pushing Israelis to the negotiating table, disarming the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and engaging anti-American dictators–have all been failures:

Veterans of the Middle East “peace process” shook their heads in wonderment as what at first appeared to be a rookie error evolved into a two-year standoff between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu….

The New Start nuclear arms agreement with Russia merely ratifies warhead reductions already underway in Russia, while imposing a modest cut on the U.S. arsenal. More ambitious multilateral initiatives by Obama — to control nuclear materials, for example — have made little progress, despite an elaborate summit the president hosted in 2010….

Khamenei spurned the U.S. outreach. Relations with Putin warmed for a time but now have grown cold again. In Egypt and across the Middle East, the president’s popularity is lower today than when he gave the Cairo address.

That’s largely because, in pursuing “engagement,” Obama has mishandled the biggest international development of his presidency: the popular revolutions against autocracy.

Diehl ends by observing that despite presiding over an effective counter-terrorism effort against Al Qaeda, “his signature initiatives have flopped.”

Granted, these two articles appeared in the opinion pages of the LAT and the Post, respectively. The inclusion of these perspectives would have been more praiseworthy in the news section. Still, in an era when mainstream media outlets are reluctant even to publish opinions that run counter to the left’s narrative on foreign policy, these articles are refreshing–and on the mark.