Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Abbas, Traitor To His Own. Dumber Than Waters.

Abbas sits on his hands while Israeli youth are killed.  Netanyahu reportedly told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in 2015, as long as our so-called “peace partners” refuse to condemn violent murderous attacks, we need to recognize reality.(See 1 and 1a below.)

Every New Year brings all kind of predictions and I posted several in recent memos. That said, most seldom come to pass because the unknown always becomes known at the wrong time.

So what could go wrong? Since this is also a prediction it too could be wrong.

First, I thought "Bama" would win and they did not because of too many penalties at the wrong time, as if penalties are good at any time.

Second, world leaders will do most anything to avoid war and this is more likely to bring one about. Obama's feckless behaviour assuredly has proven more destabilizing. If you do not believe this, again, ask Syrian refugees.

The problems confronting the world remind me of moving tectonic plates.  The world is very unstable and the economic slowdown and mounting debt, to keep the world afloat, adds to our global instability. As world central banks stop flooding the markets with liquidity withdrawal of credit can also create problems.

Furthermore, Trump's decision to pull back and focus on improving our domestic plight could send the wrong signal and create vacuums which various rogue nations might seek to fill and or take

Israel has no desire to start a war, make the scene worse for themselves and/or Trump but Obama's Iran deal and what he has done to cement it could make things untenable even for Netanyahu.

I do expect Trump will achieve some progress domestically but I also expect Russia,China, Iran and N Korea will make further advances that are not amicable with our own interests and we will have to meet these challenges. This could be disturbing and disrupting to Trump's domestic agenda. (See 2, 2a and 2b below.)

The market is currently struggling to retain its footing  but I suspect the trend remains upward. Technology, health care ,energy and financials remain my areas of emphasis.

Meanwhile, I find the recommendation by others of recreational marijuana stocks a sad commentary, but then I am a stick in the mud conservative who has no pot in which to pee..
The WSJ chimes in regarding Obama's presidency. (See 3 below.)
Someone dumber than Rep. Waters:

"Congressional Black Caucus Rehangs Painting Depicting Cops as Pigs Day After Black Cop Shot Dead

A high school student's painting that portrays the events in Ferguson, Missouri, is back on the wall on Capitol Hill. Democratic congressman William Lacy Clay rehung the painting on Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker had removed it because he found it offensive."

Meanwhile, Obama will explain why he is God from Chicago this evening.
1)  Fadi al-Qanbar, 28, the man who plowed his truck into a group of IDF cadets on Sunday, was not considered a security risk by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), though he had served time in prison. He had no known connections with a terrorist organization. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said al-Qanbar identified with ISIS. But why? Why would a resident of Jerusalem’s Jebl Mukaber neighborhood launch a suicide mission to murder Israelis knowing that his wife would be widowed and his two sons and two daughters would be orphaned in the process? 

A saying attributed to Golda Meir comes to mind: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

We agree. If al-Qanbar had cared for himself, his children and his family - not to mention the soldiers he rammed into - he never would have carried out his attack on Sunday.

While we still don’t know what pushed al-Qanbar to carry out his attack, the incitement that comes out daily from the Palestinian Authority plays an important role.

The failure by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the attack by Monday night – more than 36 hours since it took place – is part of a culture of hate, violence and intransigence. A “peace partner” does not remain silent when innocent 20-year-olds are deliberately run down by a truck on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Jerusalem. A real peace partner speaks up, shouts and condemns.

But maybe that is the difference between Israel and the PA. Following the rare few instances of Jewish terrorism – like the Duma arson attack in 2015 that killed three members of the Dawabshe family – every single Israeli politician from across the spectrum condemned it in the harshest of terms. Our “peace partners” apparently don’t know how.

Is antisemitism intractable? Is it an aggressive disease that cannot be cured? We hope not. But either way, we must reconcile ourselves to it, and do everything in our power to defend ourselves against it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a similar vision, comparing the murderous hatred of men like al-Qanbar to a “plague.” At Sunday’s emergency cabinet meeting, Netanyahu orchestrated over the approval of administrative detention for people identifying with ISIS.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman continued in a similar vein: “This brutal attack is obviously not because of any other reason but one: because we are Jews and we live here in Israel.”

1a) On Palestinian Statehood

The heretical views of Trump’s ambassador to Israel recommend him for the job.

The aftermath of a vehicle-ramming attack in Jerusalem, Jan. 8.
The aftermath of a vehicle-ramming attack in Jerusalem, Jan. 8. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Diplomats from some 70 countries will assemble in Paris on Sunday for another Mideast conference, intended to preserve the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. The
timing is not accidental: With five days to go in the Obama administration, there are
whispers that the conference may lead to another U.N. Security Council resolution, this
time setting out parameters for an eventual Palestinian state.
The question is: For what?
Climate change aside, the cause of Palestinian statehood is the central obsession of
contemporary global politics. It’s also its least examined assumption.
Would a Palestinian state serve the cause of Mideast peace? This used to be conventional
wisdom, on the theory that a Palestinian state would lead to peace between Israel and its
Arab neighbors, easing the military burdens on the former and encouraging the latter to
address their internal discontents.
Today the proposition is ridiculous. No deal between Jerusalem and Ramallah is going to
lift the sights of those now fighting in Syria, Iraq or Yemen. Nor will a deal reconcile
Tehran and its terrorist proxies in Lebanon and Gaza to the existence of a Jewish state.
As for the rest of the neighborhood, Israel has diplomatic relations with Turkey, Jordan
and Egypt, and has reached pragmatic accommodations with Saudi Arabia and other
Gulf states.
What about the interests of Palestinians? Aren’t they entitled to a state?
Maybe. But are they more entitled to one than the Assamese, Basques, Baloch, Corsicans,
 Druze, Flemish, Kashmiris, Kurds, Moros, Native Hawaiians, Northern Cypriots,
Rohingya, Tibetans, Uyghurs or West Papuans—all of whom have distinct national
identities, legitimate historical grievances and plausible claims to statehood?
Set the comparisons aside. Would a Palestinian state be good for Palestinian people?If so,
what gives Palestinians the preferential claim? Have they waited longer than the Kurds?
No: Kurdish national claims stretch for centuries, not decades. Have they experienced
greater violations to their culture than Tibetans? No: Beijing has conducted a systematic
policy of repression for 67 years, whereas Palestinians are nothing if not vocal in
mosques, universities and the media. Have they been persecuted more harshly than the
Rohingya? Not even close.
That’s a more subjective judgment. But a telling figure came in a June 2015 poll
conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, which found that a majority of
Arab residents in East Jerusalem would rather live as citizens with equal rights in Israel
than in a Palestinian state. No doubt part of this owes to a desire to be connected to
Israel’s thriving economy.
But it’s also a function of politics. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas just entered
the 13th year of his four-year term. Fatah rules the West Bank through corruption; Hamas
rules Gaza through fear. Humanitarian aid is routinely diverted for terrorist purposes:
One terror tunnel stretching from Gaza to Israel consumed an estimated 800 tons of
concrete and cost $10 million to build. Every three years or so, Hamas starts firing
missiles at Israel, and hundreds of Palestinian civilians get killed in the crossfire. How
does any of this augur well for what a future Palestinian state might bring?
But isn’t a Palestinian state a necessity for Israel? Can it maintain its Jewish and
democratic character without separating itself from the millions of Palestinians living
west of the Jordan River?
In theory, Israel would be well-served living alongside a sovereign Palestinian state that
lived in peace with its neighbors, improved the welfare and respected the rights of its
people, rejected extremism and maintained a monopoly on the use of force. In theory,
Palestine could be the next Costa Rica: small but beautiful.
But Israelis don’t live in theory. They live in a world where mistakes are mortal. In 2000
and 2007 Israeli prime ministers made good-faith offers of Palestinian statehood. They
were met on both occasions with rejection, then violence. In 2005 Israel vacated the
Gaza Strip. It became an enclave of terror. On Sunday, four young Israelis were run over
in yet another terror attack. The ideal of a Jewish and faultlessly democratic state is a
noble one. Not at the risk of the existence of the state itself.
The Paris conference takes place on the eve of a new administration that’s indifferent to
prevailing orthodoxies regarding the Palestinians. David Friedman,Donald Trump’s
nominee to be ambassador to Israel, is unequivocal in his support for the Jewish state,
determined to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, unscandalized by settlements and
unmoved by suggestions that Israel’s safety requires the empowerment of her enemies.
These heresies alone recommend him for the job.
Meanwhile, anyone genuinely concerned with the future of the Palestinians might urge
them to elect better leaders, improve their institutions, and stop giving out sweets to
celebrate the murder of their neighbors.

The Iran deal’s ancillary aspects, which the administration tried to keep secret from Congress, included ransom payments totaling $1.7 billion to Iran and secret side agreements negotiated between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Islamic Republic. One of the most absurd provisions of that secretive side agreement enables the mullahs to collect their own soil samples at their highly opaque Parchin facility, in lieu of on-site inspections. The Obama administration even conducted lobbying efforts on behalf of the Islamic Republic, in a failed attempt to convince banking institutions to conduct business with the world’s premier state-sponsor of international terrorism.

The notion that the Obama administration would trust the Iranians to collect their own samples to establish compliance demonstrates with utmost clarity just how far divorced from reality Obama has become. The notion that Obama would place national security interests in the hands of a non-U.S. body demonstrates just how utterly reckless he is. The notion that the U.S. would actively lobby on behalf on an entity responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria, Yemen and Iraq and responsible for supplying anti-U.S. insurgents with sophisticated Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFP) that killed and maimed hundreds of U.S. soldiers, demonstrates how morally depraved the Obama administration has become.

Since the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran has been testing the resolve of the U.S. in enforcing the agreement. Twice since the JCPOA went into effect, Iranexceeded its 130 metric ton limit for heavy water, which is used to cool reactors that produce plutonium. The cumbersome JCPOA mechanism put in place to abrogate the agreement in the event of breach means that all but the most serious Iranian transgressions will likely go unpunished. In the meantime, Iran continues to push the envelope while receiving all the benefits including sanctions relief and lump sum cash payments, including nearly $12 billion received in the past three years.

The Obama administration’s dealings with the Islamic Republic borders on sycophantic. The AP reported today that the Obama administration, in its twilight weeks, issued its consent to allow the Iranians to receive 116 metric tons of natural uranium from Russia as compensation for its export of tons of reactor coolant. The move requires U.N. Security Council approval but is expected to easily pass.

Administration officials have issued assurances that Iran’s usage of the uranium shipment will be carefully monitored but those familiar with the administration’s “assurances” have ample reason to be wary. The administration’s track record on transparency, especially in its dealings with the Islamic Republic, is abysmal.
Adding to the worry is the assessment of David Albright of the Institute of Science and International Security (ISIS), a monitoring group that keeps tabs on Iran’s nuclear program and consults with congressional officials. According to Albright, the uranium could be enriched to weapons-grade sufficient for the production of at least 10 nuclear bombs. Albright adds that the quantity of bombs depends on “the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon.”

The scheduling of the shipment ironically comes at a time when Iran is ramping up regional tensions, defying UNSC resolutions and causing mayhem in the Arabian Gulf. Iran continues to brazenly develop and test-fire ballistic missiles in defiance of UNSC resolution 2231 and on Sunday, the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan was forced to fire three warning shots at four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) speed boats near the Strait of Hormuz. The fast-approaching and menacing IRGC craft disregarded numerous warnings to alter course and veered away only after the warning shots were fired.

The action comes on the heels of numerous other Iranian transgressions in the Arabian Gulf. According to U.S. defense officials, U.S. and Iranian naval vessels interacted on at least 600 occasions in the past two years. Many of the encounters were relatively benign but some were provoked by egregious Iranian actions, the most outrageous of which occurred on January 12, 2016 when Iran committed an act of piracy on the high seas by kidnapping 10 American sailors whose Riverine Command Boat (RCB) encountered mechanical problems.
The sailors were forced to endure taunts and humiliation by their Iranian captors and a female sailor was forced into Sharia compliance by being made to wear an Islamic style head covering. The Iranians also stole or copied sensitive U.S. equipment on board the RCBs.

Instead of outrage, a groveling John Kerry, who will go down in history as the nation’s most ineffective secretary of state, disgracefully thanked the Iranians. It was a reprehensible display of weakness typical of Obama’s pusillanimous approach to foreign diplomacy.

Donald Trump has voiced disdain for the JCPOA and rightfully termed the agreement as a “terrible deal,” a view shared by the majority of Congress, military and intelligence analysts and many foreign leaders. Given the complexity of the JCPOA and its international dimensions, it would be difficult to simply “tear it up” the day Trump assumes office as some have advocated. A more reasoned approach would be for Trump to renegotiate the most egregious aspects of the deal and hold Iran accountable for any transgression, however slight. When Iran then violates the accord – and judging by their past actions they most certainly will – the inevitable breach will convey international legitimacy to whatever action the U.S., acting in concert with its allies, including Israel, wish to pursue.                            

2a) Obama Administration Seeks to Secure Iran Deal

Meeting of signatories to nuclear deal presents opportunity to shore up support for one of president’s key foreign-policy legacies; Trump has called agreement ‘horrible’

By Laurence Norman

BRUSSELS—U.S., European and Iranian officials meet Tuesday in Vienna, a last opportunity for the Obama administration to bolster the Iranian nuclear agreement along with its partners before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

The officials are meeting under the aegis of the so-called Joint Commission, comprised of representatives of Iran and the six world powers who negotiated the July 2015 nuclear deal. The commission oversees the implementation of the accord and arbitrates disputes among the signatories.

In recent months, the Commission has approved decisions to exempt some Iranian nuclear material from the country’s stockpile limits and sought to shore up the agreement with measures to ensure Iran doesn’t breach the terms of the nuclear accord by exceeding caps on material such as uranium and heavy water.

During the U.S. presidential campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly attacked the accord, a key foreign-policy legacy of the Obama administration. After the Nov. 8 election, U.S. officials said they were looking for ways to help secure the agreement.

Among the issues set for discussion Tuesday are Iranian complaints about the decision last month by U.S. Congress to extend nonnuclear U.S. sanctions on Tehran, according to diplomats.

The meeting may also address the decision by the six powers to allow Iran to import large amounts of natural uranium. On Monday, Western diplomats confirmed that the U.S. had backed a request by Russia to export more than 100 tons of natural uranium to Iran. A second export request by Kazakhstan is pending, they said.
Despite reservations in some European capitals, the decision to approve the Russian uranium export request was supported by the U.S. administration, according to several Western diplomats. It must still be confirmed by the United Nations Security Council.

In its natural form, uranium isn’t useful in a nuclear program, but it can be enriched to produce fuel for a nuclear weapon. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that “any sort of uranium that’s held by the Iranian government will be subject to very strict limits.”

U.S. officials say Iran could use the uranium from Russia to fuel its nuclear power plant at Bushehr. Iran was required to submit plans for use of the material, which will be monitored, the officials say, for the next 25 years.
Under the nuclear deal, Iran is limited to a stockpile of low-enriched uranium of 300 kilograms, about 660 pounds, for the next 15 years—a key part of the deal designed to ensure that until at least 2026, it will take Iran over a year to accumulate enough material for a nuclear weapon.

Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program is for purely civilian purposes.
Iran received shipments of natural uranium before the agreement was fully implemented in January 2016. Those transfers, mandated by the 2015 accord, came after Iran to ship enriched uranium out of the country. Additional imports of natural uranium were neither ruled out nor clearly permitted, requiring Iran to make a specific request to the Joint Commission’s procurement group.

While natural uranium can’t be used directly in a nuclear program, the material would give Iran, if it decided to repudiate the nuclear agreement, an additional supply of ready-to-use material that it could quickly enrich into nuclear fuel. Iran still has the technology, including thousands of centrifuges, to purify the uranium into more dangerous forms.

France and Britain, two signatories of the accord, raised concerns about the uranium exports during weekslong discussions over the Russian export request, according to three diplomats.

Officials pressed for more details on the destination of the material and where it would be stored. Additional explanations, they said, were needed partly because Iran has its own uranium mines.
“We also wanted to know why they needed it,” one of the diplomats said.

While French officials took a hawkish line both during the nuclear talks and the deal’s implementation, several people involved in the discussions said it was the U.K. that had become increasingly skeptical in recent months.

However, neither Britain nor France, which are both represented on the group that makes recommendations on Iran’s procurement requests, blocked Russia’s export request. Moscow’s support will also be needed to approve the Kazakh uranium delivery.

Mr. Trump hasn’t made clear since his election victory how he specifically plans to approach the Iranian nuclear deal. While he frequently denounced the agreement during the presidential campaign, his only public mention of it since the November vote was in a tweet on Israel in which he labeled it “horrible.”

Carol E. Lee contributed to this article.

2b) Iran to expand military spending, develop missiles

 By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

Iranian lawmakers approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country's long-range missile program which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt.

The vote is a boost to Iran's military establishment – the regular army, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and defense ministry – which was allocated almost 2 percent of the 2015-16 budget.
But it could put the Islamic Republic on a collision course with the incoming Trump administration, and fuel criticism from other Western states which say Tehran's recent ballistic missile tests are inconsistent with a U.N. resolution on Iran.
The resolution, adopted last year as part of the deal to curb Iran's nuclear activities, calls on Iran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically designed to carry such payloads.
Tasnim news agency said 173 lawmakers voted in favor of an article in Iran's five-year development plan that “requires government to increase Iran's defense capabilities as a regional power and preserve the country's national security and interests by allocating at least five percent of annual budget” to military affairs.
Only 10 lawmakers voted against the plan, which includes developing long range missiles, armed drones and cyber-war capabilities.
The Obama administration says Iran's ballistic missile tests have not violated the nuclear agreement with Tehran, but Trump, who criticized the accord as “the worst deal ever negotiated”, has said he would stop Iran's missile program.
“Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel … but also intended to frighten Europe and someday maybe hit even the United States,” he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC in March. “We're not going to let that happen.”
The increase in military spending is part of a growth plan for 2016-2021 first announced in July 2015 by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei supported last year's nuclear deal with world powers that curbed Iran's nuclear program in return for lifting of international sanctions. However, he has since called for Iran to avoid further rapprochement with the West, and maintain its military strength.
Iran has test-fired several ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal and the U.S. Treasury has imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals linked to the program.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last year that the missile launches were “not consistent with the constructive spirit” of the nuclear deal, but did not say whether they actually violated the U.N. resolution.
The United States, Britain, France and Germany wrote to Ban in March about the missile tests, which they said were “inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” the council resolution.
Most U.N. sanctions on Iran were lifted after the deal but Iran is still subject to a five-year U.N. arms embargo – unless approved in advance by the U.N. Security Council.
Although the embargo is not technically part of the nuclear agreement, the U.N. resolution enshrining the deal requires the U.N. Secretary-General to highlight any violations.
In a report submitted to the Security Council before he was succeeded by Antonio Guterres on Jan. 1, Ban expressed concern that Iran may have violated the embargo by supplying weapons and missiles to Hezbollah.
The Lebanese Shi'ite organization is one of several groups backed in the Middle East by mainly Shi'ite Iran in its regional rivalry with Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states, a competition for influence that is played out in conflicts or power struggles in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
Editing by Dominic Evans
3) The Obama Legacy

A Presidency of great promise ends in rancor and disappointment.

U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
President Obama once said that as President he aspired to be the progressive Ronald 
Reagan, and as he prepares to leave office he has succeeded in fundamental if ironic ways.
While Reagan left behind a calmer, more optimistic country, Mr. Obama leaves a more 
divided and rancorous one. While the Gipper helped elect a successor to extend his 
legacy, Mr. Obama will be succeeded by a man who campaigned to repudiate the 
President’s agenda. Barack Obama has been a historic President but perhaps not a 
consequential one.


Mr. Obama was always going to be a historic President by dint of his election as the first 
African-American to hold the office. His victory affirmed the American ideal that anyone
 can aspire and win political power. This affirmation was all the better because Mr. 
Obama won in large part thanks to his cool temperament amid the financial crisis and
 his considerable personal talents.
Yet his Presidency has been a disappointment at home and abroad, a fact ironically 
underscored by Mr. Obama’s relentless insistence that he has been a success. In his many 
farewell interviews, he has laid out what he regards as his main achievements: reviving 
the economy after the Great Recession, a giant step toward national health care, new 
domestic regulations and a global pact to combat climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, 
and a world where America is merely one nation among many others in settling global 
disputes rather than promoting its democratic values.
Even on their own terms those achievements look evanescent. Congress has teed up 
ObamaCare for repeal, and Donald Trump will erase the climate rules. The global 
climate  pact is built on promises without enforcement, and Mr. Trump ran against and
won in part on the slow economic recovery. Authoritarians are on the march around the
world as  they haven’t been since the 1970s, and perhaps the 1930s.


These results flow both from the progressive agenda he pursued and the way he tried to 
implement it. He took power in 2009 with historic Democratic majorities, and he made 
the mistake of using them to fulfill 40 years of unmet progressive dreams.
From his first days he let Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi write the stimulus and 
ObamaCare, to the exclusion of Republicans. “I won,” he famously replied when Eric Cantor asked him to consider Republican economic ideas. The result is that his legislative
 achievements were built on partisan votes that now make them vulnerable to partisan 
Mr. Obama rejected bipartisanship even after he lost Congress—the House in 2010 and 
Senate in 2014. He walked away from a budget deal with John Boehner in 2011 at the 
last minute because he wanted more tax increases. In his second term he all but disdained Congress, preferring to rule by regulation.
This was a gamble that he could elect a Democratic successor to protect his executive 
orders, but his immigration and other rules can be erased by Mr. Trump or Congress. By 
rejecting the hard work of building political consensus, Mr. Obama built much of his 
legacy on sand.


Mr. Obama’s progressive agenda failed most acutely on its core promise of economic 
“fairness.” The President made income redistribution to address inequality his top policy 
priority, above economic growth. The result has been the slowest expansion since World 
War II and even more inequality.
Higher taxes and wave after wave of new regulation dampened investment, while 
expanded entitlements and transfer payments lured more Americans out of the workforce.
 After the 2009 spending bill failed to spur durable growth, the White House relied 
almost entirely on the Federal Reserve to prevent another recession. The Fed was able to 
raise asset prices, which has helped the relatively affluent who own assets, but it couldn’t 
ignite the broad-based expansion and new business creation to lift average incomes.
The Reagan and Bill Clinton expansions left the public in an optimistic mood. Illegal 
immigration and trade deficits were larger than during the Obama years, but Americans
worried less about both because they could see the tide rising for everyone. The slow-
growth Obama years created the dry political tinder for Mr. Trump’s campaign against immigration and foreign trade.


The story is in many ways even worse on foreign policy. When Reagan left office the
Soviet Union was in retreat and the Cold War nearing its end. As Mr. Obama leaves
office, the gains of the post-Cold War era are being lost as world disorder spreads.
This too flows from Mr. Obama’s progressive worldview. He fulfilled his 2008
campaign promise to reduce America’s global involvement, especially in the Middle East,
but his willy-nilly retreat has led to more chaos. He deposed a dictator in Libya but
walked away from the aftermath. His decision to leave Iraq let him claim the “tide of
war is receding” as he ran for re-election in 2012, but it allowed Islamic State to gestate
there and in Syria as he let its civil war burn out of control.
The President’s calls for a world without nuclear weapons have been met by the 
acceleration of nuclear programs in North Korea and Pakistan. A “reset” with Moscow 
did nothing to alter Vladimir Putin’s revanchism in Ukraine and beyond. Reductions in 
U.S. military spending have emboldened China to press for regional dominance in East 
and Southeast Asia.
Whether his deal with Iran prevents that country from becoming a nuclear power won’t 
be known for several years, but it has already helped Iran fund its terrorist proxies in 
Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. His outreach to Cuba may be historic but so far it has yielded
 no benefits for the Cuban people.


Perhaps the most decisive verdict on the Obama era is the sour public mood. While 
Americans like and respect the President personally, which explains his approval rating, 
Election Day they said by nearly 2 to 1 that the country is on the wrong track. Even race
relations, which should have improved under Mr. Obama’s leadership and example, 
seem to have become worse. His polarizing Presidency has now yielded an equally 
polarizing successor.
The lesson is not that Mr. Obama lacked good intentions or political gifts. Few Presidents
have entered office with so much goodwill. The lesson is that progressive policies won’t 
work when they abjure the realities of economic incentives at home and the necessity of 
American leadership abroad.

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