Following the Constitution and going to Congress for war authorization displays Obama’s “weakness” and has damaged the presidency, according to John Bolton, the recess appointed ambassador to the United Nations under Bush.
“I was stunned,” Bolton told Newsmax after Obama said he would seek authorization from Congress to bomb Syria – not a declaration of war, as stipulated by the Constitution. “What the president did was a display of weakness of the kind we haven’t seen in an American leader in decades, if not since the 19th century.”
New York Rep. Peter King said Obama is “abdicating his responsibility as commander in chief and undermining the authority of future presidents,” while former Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra, said it is too early to know if Obama’s “lead-from-behind” style of leadership will damage the concept of the imperial presidency.
Hoekstra said by going to Congress, Obama has presented “a real opportunity” for al-Qaeda and the enemies of America.
Other insiders have also criticized Obama’s behavior, including the former Israeli ambassador Dan Gillerman who characterized it as a “fiasco reminiscent of the Carter days.” Gillerman said Obama’s decision to hold off bombing Syria for its unsubstantiated use of chemical weapons would elicit “gloating and celebrating” in Iran. He said the decision to consult Congress and gain the approval of the American people will cast “a very dark shadow” over the credibility of U.S. foreign policy.
“What we seem to be losing, as we confront the challenges in Syria and Iran, is credibility,” Wall Street Journal columnist and establishment foreign-policy expert Bret Stephens told Newsmax. “We’re not taken seriously. And we’re not taken seriously because we have a president who issues a red line – as he said a red line ‘for me’ – and then several months later tells us that he didn’t issue the red line, it was the world.”
Obama’s decision, viewed as harmful vacillation by neocons and Democrat war hawks alike, has apparently damaged the long-standing effort to take out Iran.
“The feeling is that something was wrong here, that this was not the way this should have gone down, that this is not the way a superpower should act,” a former Israeli diplomat told Fox News last week.
“We look at Syria, and we think Iran. … What conclusions should be drawn about how America will act in other circumstances? Here was a clear red line. It was breached a few times. This looks like a clever move; but America’s willingness to ‘walk the walk’ now is very questionable.”
Bolton, King, Hoekstra and other Obama critics fail to understand that the founders deliberately weakened the executive branch in favor of decisions made by the legislative, at one time the direct representatives of the American people. A balance of power, James Madison wrote in the The Federalists no. 10, was imposed on government in order to defeat “the reprobated axiom of tyranny.”