WASHINGTON DC, April 7, 2012 — Four years is not a long time, but much has changed since then-Senator Obama first ran for President. Back in 2008, Obama was still considered the “peace candidate.” He was the only Democrat running for President (aside from Dennis Kucinich) who had been against the invasion of Iraq from the beginning. There was the promise of closing Guantanamo Bay and the assurance that U.S. foreign policy would be more cautious and measured than in the past.
Now, just four years later, President Obama has a foreign policy record that would look hawkish even on George W. Bush.
While this fact should have been suspected by anyone who watched the President stall on bringing the troops home from Iraq, it should be obvious to everyone now that he has agreed on a deal to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until 2024. With this deal in place, the United States has created another satellite state to expand our overseas empire.
Then there is the case of Pakistan and Yemen, where the United States has been attacking targets with the use of drones. While this policy has not been discussed officially until recently, what the administration is telling us is not much of a comfort to those concerned about the rule of law and potential blowback. Drone strikes have become a standard element of our foreign policy, and they remain popular with the American people because drones do not require the direct sacrifice of American lives. However, Obama and his administration (along with previous administrations) have ignored the rule of law and the sovereignty of other nations by continuing these drone attacks. They have been condemned by Pakistan, a long time victim of U.S. drone strikes.
“Pakistan has consistently maintained that these illegal attacks are a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and are in contravention of international law,” said a Foreign Ministry statement after a drone attack that killed at least 10 people.
Not only has the administration ignored the requests of its Middle East ally, but Obama plans to increase the intensity and frequency of the attacks. John O. Brennan, a close counterterrorism advisor to the President, defended these attacks calling them “legal, ethical, and wise.”
Legal expert and former Fox Business legal analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, disagreed, noting the President’s lack of constitutional or international authority to pursue them.
“The Constitution limits the presidential use of war powers to those necessary for an immediate defense of the United States or those exercised pursuant to a valid congressional declaration of war. In this case of Pakistan, the president has neither. And international law prohibits entering a sovereign country without its consent.”
Obama and his administration have not given us any real reasons why the U.S. needs to keep launching airstrikes over an allied nation that has not shown any aggression towards us. Perhaps it is this sort of foreign policy that makes us hated around the world.
It is astonishing that after a year of running against George W. Bush’s policies, Obama has become almost a carbon copy his predecessor. Not only did the President wait to pull troops out of Iraq, he increased the number of troops in Afghanistan. He extended the USA Patriot Act that he used to be against, and he signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. Guantanamo Bay was not shut down, and we’re likely to end up with a permanent base in Afghanistan. While he once accurately referred to Iran as a tiny country that could do us no harm, Obama is now provoking Iran with crippling sanctions that will do nothing but anger the Iranians who he now apparently sees as a threat. What’s even scarier is that Republicans, out of fear of looking soft, will attempt to one-up the President by intruding even more onto our civil liberties and the sovereignty of other nations.
It’s a shame that the American people no longer have a choice when it comes to the foreign policy of this country. Obama has abandoned the anti-war faction of his base, and completely turned his back on the principles he espoused in his run for the White House. How long will it be before the Federal government completely disregards the Constitution? When will this country finally give up and lose hope? We may not be there yet, but we’re getting very close to the point of no return.
Conor Murphy is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in political science. As a former radio talk show host on WVCW, Conor hosted two popular shows, Murphy’s Law and Son of the Revolution. You can read more of his columns in The Political Pro-Con at The Washington Times Communities.
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