Image: WSJ's Stephens: Obama's Feckless Foreign Policy

WSJ's Stephens: Obama's Feckless Foreign Policy

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 12:23 PM

By Dan Weil

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Russia and China's lack of cooperation with the U.S. effort to extradite fugitive national-security leaker Edward Snowden illustrates the utter weakness of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, says Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens.

"However the Snowden episode turns out (and don't be surprised if the Russians wind up handing him over in exchange for an unspecified American favor), what it mainly illustrates is that we are living in an age of American impotence," he writes.

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"The Obama administration has decided it wants out from nettlesome foreign entanglements, and now finds itself surprised that it's running out of foreign influence."

U.S. policy toward Afghanistan represents a prime example, Stephens says. "The U.S. finds itself in an amazing position" there, he states.

"Merely to get the Taliban to the table for a bogus peace process, the administration agreed at Pakistan's urging to let Mullah Omar come to the table on his owns terms." Omar is the spiritual leader of the Taliban. The State Department's Rewards for Justice program has sought him since October 2001 for sheltering Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida terrorists for years before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Omar's terms include "no acceptance of the Afghan Constitution, no cease-fire with international forces, not even a formal pledge to never again allow Afghanistan to become a haven for international terrorism," Stephens writes.

"The U.S. also agreed, according to Pakistani sources, to allow the terrorist Haqqani network — whose exploits include the 2011 siege of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul — a seat at the table."

And what have we received in return, Stephens asks. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has closed off talks with the United States about post-2014 security cooperation.

"The U.S. finds itself being dumped by its own client government in Kabul, which can always turn to Iran as a substitute patron," says Stephens. "Incredible: no peace, no peace process, no ally, no leverage, and no moral standing, all in a single stroke. John Kerry is off to quite a start."

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