A Disaster of a Presidency

Is Barack Obama the next James Buchanan?

President Obama, who entered office on a wave of greater hope and optimism than any president since John F. Kennedy, is now generally seen as perhaps the most ineffectual president since James Buchanan. He has offered no economic prospect except a decade of trillion-dollar annual deficits and money-supply increases, and the Federal Reserve now proposes to jump-start that with a $600 billion Treasuries repurchase that would torque up inflation and tank the comparative value of the dollar, start a war of devaluations with the euro and the yen, and propel the world like an Olympic diver into the second half of the double dip. This is the litmus test that the United States is not really going to defuse the debt bomb, but is going to reduce the debt by devaluing the currency in which it will, assumedly, be repaid.

He has done little to support American allies in Latin America, including Mexico, where the failed American drug war has virtually plunged the country into civil war, has not lifted a finger to gain ratification of the free-trade deal with Colombia, has largely been surpassed by Brazil in hemispheric influence, and aligned America with Chavez and Castro in attempting to promote Communist dictatorship in Honduras.

Mr. Obama is the president least interested in Europe of any in U.S. history, and has encouraged the steady disintegration of the Western Alliance. His arms-control policy is fatuities about world disarmament that no sane person could take seriously, while pursuing a futile policy of porous sanctions against Iran over its nuclear-military program. If Iran achieves the status of a nuclear power, that will be the end of American status as any sort of superpower, and will lead to a massive multistate acquisition of deterrent nuclear capacity. He has floundered in the Middle East, tried to deny the existence of the Bush-Sharon agreement on settlements and Gaza, and has been the straight man while our supposed NATO ally Turkey has kicked America in the shins and scuttled its alliance with Israel.

He has poured billions into Pakistan, which supports about one-third of the Taliban we are fighting in mortal combat in Afghanistan. His opening gambit in that country, after unduly long reflection, was an addition of two full divisions to the U.S. intervention force, but with an artificially early deadline of when it would be withdrawing, and quickly ambiguous assertions of allied war aims, which seem now to be a slight reduction in official corruption and regional cease-fires with the Taliban the U.S. military is losing lives every week to defeat, not legitimize.

The president went cockahoop for green energy, and bought hook, line, sinker, reel and rod the unproven claims of global warming (one centigrade degree in thirty-five years), and of the influence on the world's temperature of carbon emissions (which have more than doubled in thirty-five years). At the most inane international conference in history, at Copenhagen last December, he padded around trying to raise a $100 billion annual fund for Chavez, Mugabe and the Sudanese Hitler, al-Bashir, as Dane geld because of the advanced world's carbon emissions. He was unable to gain an interview with the prime minister of China, who busied himself leading the G-77 of countries demanding the Dane geld while, as leader of the world's greatest carbon emitter, denounced the whole concept of restraint of carbon emissions as bunk.

Apart from building on his predecessor's work to forge a strategic relationship with India, he has had few successes. And a harebrained health care reform that will reduce the standard of care for more people than it benefits and will not reduce the cost of health care in the United States by one cent, is not one of them. If a Republican president, unprotected by the shield of political correctness that has mitigated criticism of this president, had sponsored schemes for the debasement of the currency, the doling out of billions to the world's most retrograde regimes, and generous solidarity with a country that is bankrolling terrorists who are busy killing American and allied soldiers, he would be hearing calls for his impeachment. It is not too late for ninety-degree turns in these areas and the salvation of a successful presidency, but there is no precedent in the country's history for such an astounding resurrection.