The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Bair | Thursday, March 15, 2012

On President Obama’s efforts to address gas prices:

As you say, he’s been giving speech after speech. This speech he gave [yesterday in Maryland] was identical to the speech he gave on the 7th of March in North Carolina and the one he gave a month ago in Miami, with one difference. Today he left out algae . . . He uses biomass instead. It sounds extremely sophisticated.

But what he’s talking about here is stuff that’s in the future, as if he’s the man who can look into the future of energy and have the right answer. I would think he would have more humility about that after Solyndra, after the Ener1 company, the battery company that just went under, after the Chevy Volt, which now has its production suspended because there is no demand . . .

Obama disdains oil. He called it in his speech a week ago “the fuel of the past,” when everybody who has to go to the pump every week knows it’s the fuel of the present and the future as far as we can see . . .

That’s why I think he’s getting all of these negative reviews. It shows he doesn’t really get it.

On the Taliban’s announcement that it is suspending peace negotiations with the United States:

The entire Obama-Afghan policy is in disarray, serious disarray.

– When the leader of a country that you are supposedly defending calls for you to get out of his country and to essentially hunker down in the barracks, you’ve got trouble.

– When the opposition, the enemy, declared today that it is not even going to negotiate, it won’t even deign to enter into negotiations with us, it’s announcing that it doesn’t have anything to offer us because obviously the United States is in a panic and is exiting. Why should [the Taliban] offer anything if Obama is going to leave, if the Americans are going to leave and they don’t have to make any concession? It’s going to be handed to them on a platter.

– And then you get the third event on the same day, which is that unprecedented picture of American soldiers leaving their weapons at the door when listening to a speech by their own secretary of defense.

I mean, that is the diplomatic equivalent of helicopters on the roof of the embassy. It is a sign of how much our policy is in disarray.

And I think it comes from the top — when the president announces from the beginning a policy of surge and withdrawal. We are now in the withdrawal phase, and once a withdrawal happens in a counterinsurgency, it goes downhill very fast.

[That US and Afghan military personnel could not carry their weapons during a speech given by Secretary Panetta] tells you how much of an absence of trust exists. And the only way America leaves honorably [is] if it hands over its authority, and that requires the trust that is missing right now.

I do believe we’ve made a lot of advances on the ground and we’ve had a lot of success on the ground. But in the end a guerrilla war is won and lost in terms of psychology. And the psychology is completely drained away from any idea that America and the NATO allies are going to stay. And once that idea is widespread among our troops, among our allies, and particularly among Afghan and civilians who will be at risk, it’s extremely hard to carry on.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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