Foreign Policy magazine “asked some of the best foreign-policy minds in Washington and beyond” to rate President Obama’s first 100 days in office. “The result? 11 As, 16 Bs, 7 Cs, and a D,” Foreign Policy noted. Some of these “best foreign-policy minds” also included a number of neoconservatives and President Bush’s staunchest defenders. Surprisingly, not all of them trashed Obama’s first 100 days:
— Meghan O’Sullivan, Bush’s deputy national security adviser: Grade — B+ “President Obama deserves the high marks for his treatment of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in his first 100 days. […] On Iraq in particular, he deserves kudos and gets an A-.”
— Robert Kagan, Carnegie Endowment fellow: Grade — A-/B+ “President Obama scores high on Afghanistan and Iraq. […] His policy toward Iran makes sense, so long as he is ready with a serious Plan B if the negotiating track with Tehran fails. His policies toward Russia are sound.”
While Kagan’s opinion of Obama’s Iran policy appears slightly enhanced from just last month with the added caveat of “a serious plan B,” he later said he would have given Obama an A- had he not “thrown a bouquet” to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the summit of the Americas last week.
But the rest of the Bush loyalists on Foreign Policy’s list weren’t so friendly. Much of their displeasure with Obama seemed to center around the notion that Obama has somehow been spending his first 100 days in office apologizing to the world:
— Elliot Abrams, served on Bush’s National Security Council: Grade — D “The ‘apology tours’ are not the administration’s worst offense, and would only merit a C. The D reflects the abandonment of brave men and women throughout the world fighting for human rights and civil liberties.”
— Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute: Grade — C “Some will be tempted to inflate their grade, as Obama has fashioned himself the anti-Bush. But ‘I’m not him’ is not a foreign policy, nor is an almost pathological proclivity to apologize for American power and leadership. […] Obama looks increasingly desperate.
— Peter Feaver, Duke University Professor: Grade — B- “What will matter is not whether Chávez says nice things about Obama, but whether the revived soft power brings real results. And it will get harder and harder to win applause lines by apologizing for the policies of your predecessor when you continue them in important respects.
“I think it expresses confidence,” Vice President Joe Biden said of Obama’s interactions with Chávez during an interview that aired last night on 60 Minutes. He also specifically took issue with critics who say Obama is apologizing to the world for the U.S. “I don’t know what he’s apologized for. For example, saying we should close Guantanamo is not an apology. That’s not an apology saying…we don’t engage in torture. He didn’t go out and say, ‘Oh, my God, the fact that the last administration did these things — we’re so sorry.’ He did say — he just said, ‘We don’t do torture any more.’”