Karl Rove on Obama Foreign Policy: 'Stupid Is as Stupid Does'

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 09:15 PM

By Cathy Burke

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President Obama has repeatedly ignored his own pragmatic approach to foreign policy — articulated in a cleaned-up version by his inner circle as "Don’t do stupid stuff" — including the ill-advised swap of five Taliban leaders for POW Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, GOP policy advisor Karl Rove charged Wednesday.

"A crude, meaningless phrase cannot substitute for statecraft, and the administration's actions — or often enough, its inaction — fail to meet his own test," President George W. Bush’s former deputy chief of staff wrote in an op-ed column for The Wall Street Journal.

Rove railed at the prisoner swap, noting even the "president’s own commission had said the Taliban members should never be released."

"But it was not smart to herald the exchange in a Rose Garden ceremony when the White House knew that there were serious questions about whether the soldier deserted," he wrote.

Rove noted the irony the Obama administration fails "to understand that the phrase he chose to describe his foreign policy is an indictment of his foreign policy."

For example, Rove writes, "it was unwise … for Mr. Obama to say in August 2011 that Syrian President Bashar Assad should go — without having a plan to force him out," as it was for him to refuse "to arm the moderate Syrian opposition in 2011."

Other foreign policy blunders include setting a a deadline for ending the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan "dictated by the American election calendar and not conditions on the ground…"

"Nor was it smart for Mr. Obama to sabotage his own plan for a U.S. stay-behind force in Iraq by insisting that the Iraqi Parliament approve the agreement," he writes. "The result has been the decline of U.S. influence and an increase for Iran's. Now al Qaida is on the rise…"

He also called out the president on "pressuring Israel" in the belief it "would increase the chances of a peace accord with the Palestinians, who were the real obstacles to an agreement," and for not holding "anyone in the State Department leadership responsible for failing to provide adequate security for the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi in 2012."

In the U.S. relations with Russia, the president tried to "reset" a relationship "without a strategic framework, naïvely believing that giving Vladimir Putin what he wanted would make him friendlier," Rove wrote.

"Not the brightest move," he says. "When Mr. Putin rolled into Crimea, Mr. Obama was not smart to refuse Ukraine's request for weapons — and an insult to instead offer the beleaguered country Meals-Ready-to-Eat."

The prisoner swap and all the foreign policy missteps that preceded it only prove what fictional novel and movie character Forrest Gump declared, "Stupid is as stupid does," Rove wrote.

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