Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Worrisome Trend

Friday's failure of Chicago to win the bid to host the 2016 Olympics may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Chicago as Mike Lupica notes, but it clearly exposed problems with the Obama Administration and its worldview.

It also revealed a naivete and inexperience that extends to foreign policy and basic diplomacy.

Presidents do not attend major events unless their underlings have prepped the situation on the ground so that it favors the President to use his political capital to achieve success. It is all too apparent that the Administration did not understand the IOC and its byzantine politics. That's unforgivable precisely because they should have known what to expect from the USOC and Chicago 2016 committee. They admitted that much when they expressed those sentiments on Air Force One on the trip home from Copenhagen.

If the Administration knew that it was going to attend the IOC meeting, where was the preparation to insure the President would not get embarrassed if things didn't work out? It appears that it was wholly inadequate.

And that's going to get the US in trouble in the next three years. The President wants to rush headlong into talks with Iran, a totalitarian repressive regime that regularly lies, obfuscates, and alternates between secrecy and bold aggressive statements calling for the destruction of Israel, death to the US and is sitting on a vast nuclear program that is geared towards the production of nuclear weapons. Underestimating the politics of the IOC is one thing; to forge ahead and not understand the base rationale for Iran's pursuit of those nuclear weapons and missile technology is unforgivable.

Yet, that's the path we're apparently on. The President doesn't quite understand that talking, or the appearance of talking with the illegitimate leaders of Iran, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, actually legitimizes the regime and undermines the opposition that has been fighting to make sure their voice is heard despite a violent crackdown against the regime. The regime in Tehran wants nuclear weapons, and missteps in understanding the nature of the problem means that this Administration is falling into needless mistakes; mistakes that threaten US national security and the security of our allies throughout the world.

Everyone watched and saw the Administration's inability to seal the deal at the IOC. The best thing you can say is that he was in a no-win situation because had he not gone and Chicago lost, he would have been blamed for not going to support the bid, but he did go and Chicago still came in fourth.

That speaks to fundamental weaknesses in the Chicago bid or to the IOC's reaction to the Administration's efforts in Copenhagen. I suspect it's a bit of both.

The problem is that these issues keep cropping up all over the place with this Administration, whether it's the failure to properly vet candidates for top policy positions or fundamentally misreading the state of the economy.

That's the worrisome trend; the on the job training isn't working fast enough and the repercussions are going to linger.

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