Among some right-leaning hawks, there is a persistent delusion that President Obama is a non-interventionist dove who rejects American exceptionalism and hegemony, all the while harboring a unique, possibly anti-Semitic distaste for Israel. The populist manifestation of this delusion has asked us to believe that Obama "pals around with terrorists;" that he is, at bottom, a Kenyan anti-colonialist; and that he hates Israel and only likes Jews who give money to Democrats. The more intellectual but no less inaccurate strain is on display in a new Washington Free Beacon column by Matthew Continetti, also published in National Review.
"Since he became president, Israel is the one country in the world in whose affairs President Obama has seemed at all interested in intervening," he writes. "It is the one country whose politics and actions Obama has had no trouble judging harshly."
This passes for sound foreign-policy analysis in some neocon circles.
Let's look at the facts. Countries in whose affairs Obama has intervened since he became president include:
- Afghanistan, where Obama deployed 65,200 additional troops after taking office, presiding over a three-year surge, or deliberate escalation, that would come to account for almost three-fourths of U.S. combat deaths there.
- Libya, where Obama circumvented Congress and violated the War Powers Resolution in order to carry out his hawkish policy preference: U.S. participation in the rebellion that led to regime change in the country. Obama would subsequently preside over a significant CIA presence in Benghazi.
- Pakistan, where Obama ordered both a "boots on the ground" raid to kill Osama bin Laden and presided over more than 300 missile strikes facilitated by unmanned drones.
- Yemen, where Obama presided over 109 missile strikes, killing as many as 1,024 people.
- Somalia, where Obama has ordered both special-forces operations and numerous missile strikes.
- Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Belize, where the Obama administration has deployed commando squads from the Drug Enforcement Agency.