Foreign policy incompetence; further opinion on President Obama as “Executioner in Chief”

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See The Trenchant Observer, “More news and opinion on President Obama as ‘Executioner in Chief,'” June 3, 2012 (Updated June 4, 2012)

The Trenchant Observer, “President Obama as ‘Executioner in Chief,'” June 1, 2012

Thoughtful analysis and opinion may benefit from reflection over time. Reactions to the recent revelations by the New York Times on the role played by President Obama as “Executioner in Chief” continue.

As the following article by Dan Simpson suggests, the President may eventually pay a high price for his willful ignorance and disdain for international law.

See Dan Simpson, “Is Obama committing crimes? He might someday be prosecuted for ordering drone attacks,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 6, 2012.

See also Ramesh Thakur, “Obama drifts further to dark side with drone war,” Canberra Times, June 7, 2012 (op-ed).

Pankaj Mishra, “From dreams to drones — who is the real Obama?” Dawn, June 6, 2012

Because he dismisses international law, Obama doesn’t know how to use it to his advantage when possible, or to avoid “rookie” mistakes in foreign policy when undertaking actions that are way over the line in terms of its prohibitions.

These shortcomings are significant factors in the incompetence of President Obama as a foreign policy leader, and the incompetence of his foreign policy team, “the gang who couldn’t shoot straight.” Obama leads a foreign policy juggernaut that sometimes acts blindly, without regard for the medium and longer-term consequences of its actions.

In the last few weeks alone, Obama has pursued a policy of  “working with the Russians” to find a solution to the grave crisis in Syria, revealed through orchestrated leaks that he is personally directing drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, and the details of the criteria used to place an individual on the White House “kill list” (some of which are far beyond the bounds of international law, as interpreted by a neutral third party). 

See The Trenchant Observer, “Targeted Killings: U.N. Special Rapporteur Alston Publishes Report to U.N. Human Rights Council,” June 2, 2010

Further, through leaks he has revealed that the United States has conducted cyber warfare against the nuclear facilities of Iran, launching cyber attacks that cause centrifuges to explode.

See David E. Sanger, ” Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran,” New York Times, June 1, 2012.

In undertaking these actions without taking the trouble to develop with other countries legal frameworks that might limit the use of drone attacks or cyber warfare in the future, Obama has established precedents that could lead other countries, carrying out similar actions, to inflict extreme damage on the national security of the United States and the safety of its citizens.

By making these covert actions public, for blatantly political purposes, Obama has revealed classified information without a viable justification, and greatly complicated the task of developing legal regimes that will effectively regulate the use of targeted killings and the conduct of cyber warfare in the future. 

This amounts to foreign policy incompetence of a high order.

The Trenchant Observer

For links to other articles by The Trenchant Observer, click on the title at the top of this page to go to the home page, and then use the “Search” Box or consult the information in the bottom right hand corner of the home page. The Articles on Syria page can also be found here. The Articles on Targeted Killings page can also be found here.