AP Pity Party: 'For Obama, World Looks Far Different Than Expected'

Maybe, in sync with the predictable press reactions to oft-seen bad economic numbers, the headline at Julie Pace's late-morning story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should have been: "Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart ... Unexpectedly."

Pace's pathetic attempt at pathos in assessing the status of the Obama administration's foreign policy tells AP readers that some of it is due to "factors outside the White House's control" (as if previous administrations haven't had to deal with unanticipated developments), that Obama "misjudged" what would come in the Arab Spring's aftermath (we're supposed to ignore all of those contacts he's had with Muslim Brotherhood officials and their sympathizers), and that the NSA revelations have hurt our standing in Europe (without noting that the root cause is NSA's spying on U.S. citizens). Excerpts follow the jump.

Here we go (bolds and numbered tags are mine):


Nearly five years into his presidency, Barack Obama confronts a world far different from what he envisioned when he first took office. U.S. influence is declining in the Middle East as violence and instability rock Arab countries. An ambitious attempt to reset U.S. relations with Russia faltered and failed. Even in Obama-friendly Europe, there's deep skepticism about Washington's government surveillance programs.

In some cases, the current climate has been driven by factors outside the White House's control. [1] But missteps by the president also are to blame, say foreign policy analysts, including some who worked for the Obama administration.

Among them: miscalculating the fallout from the Arab Spring uprisings, publicly setting unrealistic expectations for improved ties with Russia and a reactive decision-making process that can leave the White House appearing to veer from crisis to crisis without a broader strategy.

... Obama, faced most urgently with escalating crises in Egypt and Syria, has defended his measured approach, [2] saying America's ability to solve the world's problems on its own has been "overstated."

"Sometimes what we've seen is that folks will call for immediate action, jumping into stuff, that does not turn out well, gets us mired in very difficult situations," [3] he said. "We have to think through strategically what's going to be in our long-term national interests."

... The president saw great promise in the region when he first took office and pledged "a new beginning" with the Arab world when he traveled to Cairo in 2009.

But the democracy protests that spread across the region quickly scrambled Obama's efforts. [4] ...

... In Egypt, where the country's first democratically elected president was ousted last month, the U.S. has refused to call Mohammed Morsi's removal a coup. [5] The ruling military, which the U.S. has financially backed for decades, has largely ignored Obama's calls to end assaults on Morsi supporters.

... Few foreign policy experts predicted the Arab uprisings, and it's unlikely the U.S. could have - or should have - done anything to prevent the protests. But analysts say Obama misjudged the movements' next stages, [6] including Assad's ability to cling to power and the strength of Islamist political parties in Egypt.

... "We remain the one indispensable nation," Obama said in a CNN interview aired Friday. [7] ...  the United States continues to be the one country that people expect can do more than just simply protect their borders." [8]


[1] — I believe that a search for instances where AP has cited factors being outside of White House control during the Bush 43 administration won't generate many, if any examples. This isn't probative, but a Google New Archive search on ["outside of White House control" and "Associated Press"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returned nothing relevant (the one result listed is completely unrelated— as far back as its available news stories go.

[2] — "Measured approach"? That would assume that Pace's earlier assertion of "appearing to veer from crisis to crisis without a broader strategy" is wrong. It's not.

[3] — Oh, we never "jump into stuff." What about Libya, where Obama told CBS News in March of 2011 that "the few rebel leaders American officials have met were 'fully vetted, so we have a clear sense of who they are, and so far they're saying the right things, and most of them are professionals, lawyers, doctors, people who appear to be credible.'" Libya became an Al Qaeda stronghold.

[4] — It seems more than reasonable to believe that Obama really wanted to see democracy protests happen, and that they weren't inconsistent with "Obama's efforts."

[5] — It's interesting how the AP and most of the rest of the world's press constantly remind us that Morsi became Egypt's "first democratically elected president," but virtually always "forget" that once he became president, he became a virtual tyrant bent on imposing Sharia-based Islamic fundamentalism on the entire nation. Pace also ignored how the persecution of Coptic Christians accelerated when Morsi took over, and have they have accelerated at the hands of Morsi supporters since his ouster.

[6] — I'm sorry, Julie. Despite your organization's virtual blackout of the truth, there's every reason to believe, based on the administration's conduct both before and after Morsi's reign, that they wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to gain permanent control over Egypt. Pace's report never mentions the Muslim Brotherhood, Hillary Clinton, or John Kerry.

[7] — Gosh, is that our president making an "American exceptionalism" argument?

[8] — Protecting our borders is the one thing the Obama administration, sadly with frequent Republican acquiescense, is deliberately not doing well. If it gets it way on immigration "reform" (aka illegal immigrant amnesty), that will get even worse.

Limits on allowed excerpts prevented me from doing anything with the situation in Syria. Pace did note Obama's "red line" threat against the use of chemical weapons there, and claimed "scant American retaliation." What evidence is there of any retaliation? Moving ships around and making threats is not "retaliation."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.