Sunday, March 20, 2011
A "reactive presidency," not a "strategic" one
It advances the proposition that this intervention in Libya marks the end of the quiet coalition between SecState Clinton and SecDef Gates — who, together, have been running the guts of what passes for the Obama Administration's foreign policy. With them no longer in sync, Obama is unmoored:
"This is the greatest opportunity to realign our interests and our values," a senior administration official said at the meeting, telling the experts this sentence came from Obama himself. The president was referring to the broader change going on in the Middle East and the need to rebalance U.S. foreign policy toward a greater focus on democracy and human rights.
But Obama's stance in Libya differs significantly from his strategy regarding the other Arab revolutions. In Egypt and Tunisia, Obama chose to rebalance the American stance gradually backing away from support for President Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and allowing the popular movements to run their course. In Yemen and Bahrain, where the uprisings have turned violent, Obama has not even uttered a word in support of armed intervention - instead pressing those regimes to embrace reform on their own. But in deciding to attack Libya, Obama has charted an entirely new strategy, relying on U.S. hard power and the use of force to influence the outcome of Arab events.
"In the case of Libya, they just threw out their playbook," said Steve Clemons, the foreign policy chief at the New America Foundation. "The fact that Obama pivoted on a dime shows that the White House is flying without a strategy and that we have a reactive presidency right now and not a strategic one."
So basically Obama is now making this up as he goes. And if there's a higher principle at work beyond "lets not lose votes from our Hard Left Base in November 2012," no one can possibly discern what that might be, because what's being said, and more importantly what's being done, is varying wildly from day to day.
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(1) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Mar 20, 2011 2:37:20 PM | Permalink
Dear Mr. Dyer: I think you underestimate the hard Left's docility. This vid complete with "oh well" shows danger ahead for The One. Doubtless, he's relying on the raaaaaaaaaacist cry to whip them into line. Beyond doubt, the Left is dumb enough that a substantial gang of ninnies will fall into line, complaining as they go over Niagara. But there may be enough disaffected Lefties staying home to cause him difficulty. Like Taft, he will win the nomination, but the election's another story.
The situation in Libya should give the Tea Party pause. The importance of cutting government is beyond question, but foreign affairs is never far away. It is a sign of The One's witlessness that he still doesn't realize that foreign affairs are where a President can best make a mark, for good or ill. To quote Kennedy to Nixon right after the Bay of Pigs:
"It really is true that foreign affairs is the only important issue for a president to handle, isn't? ... I mean, Who gives a sh*t if the minimum wage is $1.15 or $1.25 in comparison to something like this?"
Yet The One really thinks his corrupt, politicized takeover of health care is more important than what's going on outside the US. What a dunce.
But the Right has difficulties too. The Right does want what's best for the US, despite the rifts between the neocons and isolationists. This makes it hard for the Right's candidates to forthrightly denounce The One's imbecility as Sarah Palin is learning The Left doesn't give a dam about American standing abroad, as John Kerry told the VietCong in the 1970s---a traitorous act that didn't hurt him one bit in Massachusetts or the blue states generally. It kept Kerry out of the White House in the end, but as 2008 proved, the country can't rely on the good sense of the electorate all the time.
[One word asterisked by the proprietor to maintain the blog's general PG13 language standards. — Beldar]
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