Does Barack Obama have a strategy? He is often criticized for being adrift.
Nonetheless, while Obama has never articulated strategic aims in the manner of Ronald Reagan or the two Bushes, it is not therefore true that there is no “Obama Doctrine.” Indeed, now that he has been in office five years, we can see an overarching common objective in otherwise baffling foreign-policy misadventures.
Collate the following: large defense cuts, the president’s suspicions that he is being gamed by the military, the pullout from the anti-missile defense pact in Eastern Europe, the pressure on Israel to give new concessions to its neighbors, the sudden warming up with an increasingly Islamist Turkey, the failed reset with Russia, radical nuclear-arms-reduction talks, the abject withdrawal of all U.S. peacekeeping forces in Iraq, the timetable withdrawals in Afghanistan, the new worries of our Asian and Middle Eastern allies, the constant euphemisms on the war on terror, the stepped-up drone attacks, the lead-from-behind removal of Moammar Qaddafi, the pullaway from Mubarak in Egypt, the support for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the pink lines in Syria, the Iranian missile deal, the declaration that al-Qaeda was on the run and the war on terror essentially ending, the Benghazi coverup, and on and on. Continue reading “Obama’s Recessional”→
Former president Bill Clinton just appeared in a reelection television commercial for President Barack Obama. At one point, Clinton weighs in on the potential consequences of Obama’s decision to go ahead with the planned assassination of Osama bin Laden. Continue reading “Presidential Narcissism”→
Western Warfare, as originated by the Greeks and systematized by the Romans, took various forms over the ensuing two millennia. European militaries put greater emphasis on decisive battles such as Gaugamela or Kursk. They focused on collective discipline, the importance of staying in rank, superior technology, and logistics. Continue reading “More Rubble, Less Trouble”→
There are a lot of new twists to the old story of massive demonstrations in Greece. This is the first time in my life (I first went to Greece in 1973) that I can remember Greek rioting and demonstrations that were not anti-American. Continue reading “Greek Tragedies”→
It is a good thing that Moammar Qaddafi is gone, even if by barbaric means. So what did we learn from the 2011 misadventure, given that some are advocating much the same sort of action against Syria and Iran? Answer: Not much. Continue reading “The Libyan Non-Model”→
In a scathing denunciation of Mitt Romney last week, Fareed Zakaria praised Barack Obama for his nuanced understanding of what Zakaria has called the “Post-American World”: Continue reading “A Post-American World?”→
The international order — comprising the United Nations, interstate diplomacy, organizations like NATO, and all the other transnational institutions that are supposed to keep the global peace and deter aggression — reminds me of the Spanish proverb about laws: they catch flies and let the hawk go free. Continue reading “Of Hawks and Flies”→