The President’s Costly Learning Curve on Foreign Policy

August 12, 2022

RFI Executive Vice President Eric Patterson recently authored an article for WORLD Magazine titled, “The president’s costly learning curve on foreign policy.” Patterson writes:

It has now been a year since President Biden gave the disastrous order to abandon our Afghan allies to the Taliban, causing a chaotic withdrawal of Western military and humanitarian organizations. By now it is clear that Biden’s Afghan policy is not an isolated instance explained by a of lack strategic foresight. Just like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Biden came to office determined to foist a social agenda on the American people, but has been blindsided by global power politics. This hurts America at home and abroad.

Biden’s calamitous missteps on foreign policy remind us of the early Clinton Administration. Clinton had been the young governor of a small, inland U.S. state, and he had little experience with foreign policy. He came to Washington, D.C., following foreign policy giants Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Their accomplishments were historic: they avoided World War III yet won the Cold War. Bush shepherded the UN through its first post-Cold War crisis, liberating Kuwait from Iraq. 

In contrast, Bill Clinton first foisted a gay rights’ agenda on the Pentagon—the watered-down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy—and his  attention soon centered on a socialized healthcare scheme and other budget-busting social programs. It is no wonder that the untested Clinton seemed unable to cope with foreign policy challenges in his first two years in office. Those challenges included Saddam Hussein’s massacre of his own citizens, the UN’s corrupt Oil-for-Food program, increased Islamist violence and the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, failing states such as Afghanistan and Somalia, and ethnic cleansing in Darfur (Sudan), Rwanda, and Bosnia. The Republican victory in the 1994 midterm elections forced Clinton to the political center. Over time he grew into the role of commander-in-chief of the world’s greatest superpower.

Read the full article: “The president’s costly learning curve on foreign policy.”