President Obama has little time remaining to finish the destruction of America's standing in the world, so he steps ever harder on the accelerator
Walther Russell Mead is a favorite, a liberal with a clarion understanding of international relations. If you do not, you should read every one if his posts. Go ahead, I'm married with family, I am nothing if not patient, I'll wait right here.
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The Obama Doctrine
The article starts, "Friday, august 30, 2013, the day the feckless Barack Obama brought to a premature end America’s reign as the world’s sole indispensable superpower—or, alternatively, the day the sagacious Barack Obama peered into the Middle Eastern abyss and stepped back from the consuming void . . . " This artfully points out the comedic nature of the chosen headline. The last word the knowledgable use to describe President Feckless ODither would be "sagacious."
Obama, if not sagacious, is a mid-19th Century Cold Warrior. "Obama, unlike liberal interventionists, is an admirer of the foreign-policy realism of President George H. W. Bush and, in particular, of Bush’s national-security adviser, Brent Scowcroft (“I love that guy,” Obama once told me). Bush and Scowcroft removed Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait in 1991, and they deftly managed the disintegration of the Soviet Union; Scowcroft also, on Bush’s behalf, toasted the leaders of China shortly after the slaughter in Tiananmen Square. As Obama was writing his campaign manifesto, The Audacity of Hope, in 2006, Susan Rice, then an informal adviser, felt it necessary to remind him to include at least one line of praise for the foreign policy of President Bill Clinton, to partially balance the praise he showered on Bush and Scowcroft."
It is difficult to place Bush since his Presidency spanned the fall of the USSR, and the end of the Cold War. Bush seemed to misunderstand what that meant. It is easy to understand Bush's problem here, he was a WWII vet who lived and fought before the Cold War, way back when the US and the USSR were putative allies. He then spent his entire career working politically to undermine and overthrow the evil empire responsible for the Cold War. Once it came, he was at a loss. President Feckless ODither has no such excuse, he never had any involvement in fighting the Cold War, instead, he seems nothing more than a Cold War romantic.
And what is a Cold War Romantic to do in the face of modern chaos, and warfare? "'The message Obama telegraphed in speeches and interviews was clear: He would not end up like the second President Bush—a president who became tragically overextended in the Middle East, whose decisions filled the wards of Walter Reed with grievously wounded soldiers, who was helpless to stop the obliteration of his reputation, even when he recalibrated his policies in his second term. Obama would say privately that the first task of an American president in the post-Bush international arena was “Don’t do stupid shit.”
A doctrine this simple should have been easy to follow, but President Feckless ODither failed right out of the box, but his failures are unlike the Bush père failures, his failures are of the naif, inexperienced in all, who does not understand both action, and inaction pose equal danger. But then Obama, a man without even a hint of military experience, had the hubris to believe he was a greater adviser than his advisers. He has one position in the bag, he is without a doubt a greater fool than his Administration's Fool, that's a White House job, right?
The article is long but worth your time. Obama plays the feckless prat, Hillary shows up as the interventionist , and Old Joe Biden plays the old sage forcefully arguing that "big nations don't bluff." Obama, invigorated, mans the ramparts, and orders the military to stand ready. And with the cold light of day, becomes "queasy" and takes a powder. Classic Obama, feckless, and dithering to the bitter end. Jellyfish have more spine.
"The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing." Although appending the phrase "good man" to President Obama is a bit of a stretch. At best, he could be considered a neutral. He seems a man with no discernible moral, or ethical compass. The Obama Doctrine, "don't do stupid shit, " is more a CYA self protection device than it is a doctrine. But this is all one should expect from a man whose sole drive to become President of the United States was to have "President of the United States" at the top of his resume. Obama puts to rest the argument that the first half of the Boomer cohort, which the Clinton's represent, are somehow more venal, and self serving than the second half, which the Obama's represent.
Walter Russell Mead weighs in on another important topic within the article.
"The fallout from President Obama’s indiscreet remarks in Jeffrey Goldberg’s landmark Atlantic article has begun. One day after the article dropped, reports of the President dissing major world leaders and close allies fill the London papers, which highlight Obama’s belittling of David Cameron. The Times of London‘s headline blares, “Obama Lays Blame for Libya Mess on Cameron,” and continues:
In highly unusual criticism of a serving British prime minister from his American ally, Mr Obama claimed that Mr Cameron stopped paying attention soon after the 2011 military operation because he was “distracted by a range of other things”.
Mr Obama also made clear that he forced Mr Cameron to sign up to Nato’s benchmark of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence. “Free riders aggravate me,” he told The Atlantic magazine, which reported that he instructed Mr Cameron “to pay your fair share” during a G7 summit last year.
The Financial Times (“Obama Criticizes ‘Free Riding’ Allies in 2011 Libya Campaign”) notes that the French came in for a beating too:
Mr Obama said that British prime minister David Cameron was “distracted” in the months after the death of Mr Gaddafi and suggested that then French president Nicolas Sarkozy was more interested in trying to “trumpet” his country’s involvement in air strikes in Libya than ensuring a peaceful transition to a new government.[..]
In an interview in which the president already appeared to be letting down his guard with 10 months still left in office, some of Mr Obama’s most pointed comments were directed at Mr Cameron.[..]
On the French role in the Libyan campaign, Mr Obama said that “Sarkozy wanted to trumpet the flights he was taking in the air campaign, despite the fact that we had wiped out all the air defences and essentially set up the entire infrastructure” for the intervention.
Expect more shoes to drop—and the anger in London and Paris will be less damaging than the fallout in other parts of the world. For instance, the Iranians are starting to weigh in:
(Laura Rosen tweet:) Adviser to Iran president citing Obama on Iran/KSA need to share Middle East, work out a cold peace …
The Iranian trumpeting of Obama’s position will almost certainly not be warmly received in Riyadh, Dubai, and Amman."
An American President, a feckless, dithering, decisionally impaired fool, has the temerity to blame other leaders for his incompetence?! But of course, President Feckless ODither has been blaming anyone, and everyone for his incompetence since taking the oath of office. This is his seminal accomplishment, blaming others, and whinging about how hard his job is while only making vague attempts to perform the duties, then going golfing, or spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars vacationing. We should have simply bought an island, and ship him off for the duration. Even that idiot pretender Biden could not have done worse.
One thing we need to do post haste is to begin pressuring the calcified cankers which remain in the Middle East, primarily Saudi Arabia, and its Salafist/Wahhabist supporters to begin an Islamic "protestant reformation." The Saudi/Wahhabist association has become as horrible, and deadly as the Catholic church prior to the Protestant Reformation. The cure for this is for the US to begin to create better relations with Iran, while politically pressuring the House of Saud for reform. If that does not happen, we may need to support Iran and the Shite factions in what appears to be a building war of reformation. While this is not a significant point made in the Atlantic article, it is necessary, post haste.
Mead ends his piece: "This sets up an odd duality: the President in the interview is reflective, thoughtful, making a strong case for why he is wiser and more far seeing than other people. But on the other hand, running your mouth and being openly contemptuous and dismissive of fellow leaders to a journalist is the mark of a careless and clumsy amateur. As so often is the case with this President, there’s a wide gap between the cerebral processes and the ill-considered actions. This would be somewhat explicable in the rookie year of a presidency, but it’s very hard to understand in the final year of an Administration."
The answer to this enigma is that the actions are Obama's own, clumsy, amateurish, the naif in over his head. The later reflective, thoughtful is the spin his handlers/advisers feed him to respond to the accurate claims of incompetence. Obama is not stupid by any account, he is inexperienced, and he was Peter Principled years ago, and once PP'ed no one can learn, or gain experience, this is like the child who missed out on 4th - 7th grade math, unquestionably lost. The the only solution to this problem is to return to the experiences missed and gain the experiences the old fashioned way, by crucible. Obama emotionally cannot do this, and will never go back. He is terminally incompetent.
But looking back at the Obama Presidency is valueless. What we must do now is look forward, and determine what we, as a nation need going forward. We need to leave the hoary old Cold War mentality once and for all, and we need to seriously rethink our goals in the Middle East, and our strategy to achieve those goals. Obama cannot do this, it will be up to the next President. The time of choosing is at hand.