President Barack Obama

President Obama’s foreign policy speech at West Point last week came just a day after he outlined his plans to draw down troops in Afghanistan by year’s end. The U.S. remains indispensible as global leader, he said, but urged restraint before embarking on further military interventions. The speech was in part a response to critics who claim the president has reacted weakly to crises in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.

Janine Davidson, senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans in the Obama administration from 2009-2012
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations
Barry Pavel, vice president and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council

  • Guest

    The CIA has been exposed as having supported the Neo-N├ízi groups in Ukraine who toppled the government there (and probably were behind the sniper attacks that killed many). Those far-right groups illegally imposed themselves as rulers, causing Israel to both warn Jews to consider leaving Ukraine and send military trainers to Ukraine to train Jews to defend themselves. Since the coup Blackwater mercenaries have been spotted in Kiev doing additional dirty work. You may think the USA has no direct interest in Ukraine but you’d be wrong: Vice President Biden’s son recently joined the board of one of the Ukrainian gas-and-oil companies, and presumably other American kleptocrats are rushing to fill the gaps.

    Biden son:


    CIA’s meddling:

    • Chemist150

      Given the timing. It seems that Biden’s son was probably offered the position because Ukraine want’s US interest.

  • thucy

    “The speech was in part a response to critics who claim the president has reacted weakly to crises in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.”

    President Obama’s assumed reticence makes perfect sense, given the meat grinder through which we’ve put multiply re-deployed troops since 9/11. And given how badly we botched Iraq and Afghanistan, the only decent thing for us to do is follow The Blues Brothers post-Vietnam advice: “Let’s forget that outdated Monroe Doctrine and just stay home for the next forty years!”

    But I suspect Frank is right – we’ve instigated all sorts of trouble in Eastern Europe. God only knows what the administration is doing behind the scenes.

    • Another Mike

      Ukraine would rather be more like Poland than be forced back into the role of Russia’s sacrifice area. (Remember Chernobyl? Ever wonder why the nuclear power plant was sited where it was?)

      • thucy

        Not only do I recall Chernobyl events, but I understand there was a disproportionate number of WWII casualties from Ukraine among the USSR’s total war dead of 20 million. So yes, I get your point, which is valid. I also think we have been “stirring the pot” over there.

  • Cal M

    Being a foreign policy wonk is a wonderful career choice. For it is only here that people who were so catastrophically wrong about prior foreign policy adventures can be treated as “experts.” In any other walk of life, if you were as wrong as the neocons were in the early 2000s, you would be drummed out of your chosen field forever.

  • Another Mike

    Oil from Alberta tar sands will remain an environmental concern as long as Michigan’s Kalamazoo River remains polluted from the 2010 bitumen spill from the cracked Enbridge pipeline (a Canadian company). Not to mention the huge piles of petcoke blowing around refineries in Chicago and Detroit, a bitumen refining waste product.

    Right now the cost of Alberta tarsands oil shipped by rail to the Gulf is unattractive.

  • trite

    Mr. Krasny–stop interrupting your guests and your callers–you divert the conversation and muddle the arguments. There is plenty of time for you to come in after someone has made his or her point.

  • DBritt

    I was very disappointed by your guest’s comments on Keystone XL. The idea that we should build the pipeline because they’re going to extract the oil anyway is like saying “He’s going to murder the victim anyway, let’s hand him this gun to make it more efficient.” Perhaps this guy should stick to foreign policy.

  • Chris OConnell

    Once again, the American Exceptionalists rule the hour. Every single one, including the host. That’s OK, we got to love our own and treat our own differently than we treat others. But no, it’s not really OK. This isn’t a nuclear family. What we get is a framework where the US is a special country, with special obligations and special rights. We do not act in our own materialistic self-interest. We act out of goodness and on behalf of freedom, equality and democracy and all that good stuff.

    Right now in Russia a similar forum is going on, but boy oh boy is the content different. And honestly, there is no way it could be more uniformly pro-statist than the views presented here.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like hearing Richard Haass and the other guests are cogent but I am really sick of the lack of objective foreign policy realists here, It would be nice to hear an analyst that doesn’t give a free pass to the US for its supposedly unique, noble posture. Someone like John Mearsheimer! Michael, maybe he will make you think twice. But perhaps he is blacklisted from the show, I don’t know.

    • thucy

      I think Mearsheimer’s been a WNYC guest. The same morning Forum hosted Hass, WNYC’s Lopate show had Sergei Plokhy as a guest. For some reason Disqus isn’t letting me paste the link, but it was a great show. Just go to and click on today’s Leonard Lopate show. I always find it ironic that NY public radio stands to the left of supposedly liberal San Francisco public radio, but I’ve come to appreciate both stations. I get more annoyed with Forum, but I think it may just be generational; WNYC serves a (relatively) younger audience.

      • Another Mike

        I have noticed comments with links go into a moderation queue. My guess is it prevents spam. Eventually, legitimate comments with links will be posted.

        • thucy

          Actually, Disqus prevented me from pasting the link, which was a first.

  • Skip Conrad

    Redeploy our returnin troops along the southern border.

  • globalsystemofwhitesupremacy

    The president is trying to thread the foreign policy needle. End unnecessary wars and avoid starting a new one.

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