This is a copy of what I posted to the Post Gazette and also Facebook about Jack Kelly's column today.
You know, I will give Jack Kelly credit for acknowledging that there is a difference between the few Muslim extremists and the vast mass of the rest of Islam. Although Kelly had to get a dig in on Obama while making that point.
Short of a shooting war or some trade dispute that actually affects the price of 3D TV's, most Americans are content to judge foreign policy success based on their perception of things. By all rights Jimmy Carter was a fair success, for example, in advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East. And as far as Iran goes, Carter was cleaning up a mess started in the World War II when we (and the Soviets!) installed the Shah. The Iranian people knew who to blame for the years of the secret police and no democracy, and a few extremists reacted directly by seizing the embassy.
By contrast, exactly what did Ronald Reagan achieve in foreign policy. Yes, the Soviet Union collapsed (technically during George HW Bush's term), but that was really a matter of outspending the Soviets in the cold war for decades. Past that, Reagan blundered a bit in the Middle East, resulting in the deaths of nearly three hundred Americans and French. Lebanon suffered for years after. How exactly was Reagan a success.
Well Reagan could brag about illusions like no one else (morning in America?). Reagan said he was a success, so he was.
Jack Kelly wants to tell us he has given us information that the rest of the world knows, but most (other) Americans have been deceived about. And I am sure there is a core of PG readers who catch all the right wing conspiracy theories, who think Kelly is a great truth teller. But I suspect most Americans, while dismayed by the deaths in Libya, basically don't blame Obama for them. It was the crazy Muslims reacting to that crazy film.
Jack Kelly could be right about some or even all of what he is saying. But most Americans have already made up their minds about what is going on the Middle East, and are unlikely to want to change their minds based on Kelly's column.