The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Posted on | August 26, 2014 | 38 Comments

“Obama: Anatomy of a World Leader,” by Alex Gray (detail)

There seems to be some confusion about President Obama’s “foreign policy.” At times, it has been alleged that he actually has a policy, but these allegations have never been substantiated. My perception, after watching this administration’s actions for the past five years, is that the “foreign policy” is just one continual ad hoc improvisation.

It’s not a Mozart concerto, it’s bebop jazz. For example:

The White House is struggling to deliver a clear message on the threat posed by radical Islamist group ISIS and what the administration might do to counteract it.
Officials have sowed confusion by giving different statements at different times on the level of danger posed by the Islamic group, whose full name is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Obama’s decision last year to ask Congress for authority to level Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces with air strikes is also haunting the administration as it mulls strikes in Syria against ISIS. There have been no guarantees that similar Congressional approval will be sought this time around.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest was peppered with questions on the issue Monday. Referring to the proposed strikes against the Assad regime last year, Earnest responded, “That was a different situation, right?”
But he said little that was definitive about whether attacks against ISIS in Syria are now being considered. Any such action would represent a major escalation from the current situation, in which the U.S. is carrying out airstrikes against ISIS positions in northwestern Iraq.
Strikes within Syria would not merely represent a significant ramping-up of U.S, military action. They would also risk providing de facto assistance to the Assad regime, even while the United States hopes that government will be deposed.

See? The chattering class is convinced that the Obama administration has a “message” problem, when in fact, it’s a policy problem.

Exactly what the hell is the policy? Today is Tuesday, so the Obama administration’s Tuesday policy is in effect, and the Tuesday policy is whatever the hell they decide it is. There’s no long-term plan, no overarching strategy. For the first four years, the Obama administration’s foreign policy was the same as its domestic policy, i.e., “Whatever It Takes to Get Obama Re-Elected.” Now, it seems, the policy is “Whatever It Takes to Help Harry Reid Keep the Senate Majority.”

What this translates to is rather simple:

  1. Try to avoid obvious disasters.
  2. When obvious disasters happen anyway, try to avoid blame.
  3. If you can’t avoid blame, minimize the disaster, accuse critics of racism and get your media friends to change the subject.

As long as the media are eagerly solicitous to pretend that the Obama presidency has been a spectacular success, this approach can never fail. If radical Islamic terrorists were to take over Cleveland, Ohio, next Thursday, the media would unite their voices in a chorus of praise for the president’s handling of the “Cleveland crisis,” and any Republican who pointed out the obvious truth — that the crisis was actually a direct result of Obama’s failed policies — would be denounced as an irresponsible extremist hatemonger.

The media are judging the Obama administration by the standards of a kiddie soccer league where the score doesn’t matter and every child gets a trophy. As a matter of politics, therefore, Obama is always the winner. But policy failure is still policy failure, no matter how many times you call it “success.” If the media had been this blindly partisan in 1968, LBJ would have cruised to re-election on the strength of his “successful” policy in Vietnam.

 

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Comments

  • RS

    Here’s the interesting question: Had a President desired deliberately to subvert American power and prestige in the world, would s/he have done anything differently?

    As an aside, recall that our Progressive betters consistently informed us that the One was the “smartest person in the room.” If his foreign policy is “ad hoc,” it would appear that the assessment of his–er–intelligence was inaccurate. If, however, his intelligence is as advertised, then one can only conclude his policies were persued by design.

  • https://twitter.com/Mthomps016 M. Thompson

    The thing about good jazz- the musicians know where they are and where they are headed, and are mostly showing off.

    These guys are sight-reading, and it shows.

    It makes you wish for the return of Rumsfeld!

  • robertstacymccain

    Obviously, you’re a hater. This is always the response of Democrats to any criticism of Obama: No one could disapprove of anything he says or does unless they were a racist sexist homophobe.

  • RS

    Sadly, I blame Socrates and Aristotle. That pesky logic, don’t you know. It tainted me. See, I’m a victim of dead white guys, too!

  • TotallyPeeved

    Really? You still have a problem with this? His policy is to do everything he can to destroy the USA and human civilization and advance the pisslamic caliphate. He IS a koranimal terrorist.

  • http://youtu.be/ZGPHeP32hLU CrustyB

    I remember when the Democrats assured us that Obama’s complete lack of foreign affairs experience was offset by the fact that his VP pick was mental colossus Joe Biden.

    I rest my case.

  • NeoWayland

    It’s not bebop.

    I can follow bebop.

  • http://alanye.com daialanye

    Excellent reminder.

  • trangbang68

    I remember when Peanut Farmer was at the helm. I thought we might lose the cold war. This guy has taken Carter to a whole other dimension. Getting traction again in the world is going to be a daunting challenge.

  • Fred Beloit

    I love that visual above. It could be on one side of the proposed trillion dollar bill. Whatever happened to that BTW?

  • Jeanette Victoria

    Saint Obama the Pious

  • scarymatt

    Obama foreign policy is the prevent defense of foreign policies. Only an idiot would think “Don’t do stupid shit” is anything but begging the question and avoiding taking a position.

  • 20thCenturyVole

    That appeal to Congress to repeal the Iraq AUMF is proving a trifle awkward, isn’t it?

  • Fred Beloit

    Patron saint of fund raisers.

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  • Daniel O’Brien

    We’ve lost more than traction. We’ve lost integrity. Friend or foe will no longer believe anything we say we commit to. Our word is only as good as the next time we elect a Democrap to the WH.

  • Lt. Lockhart

    Mulattoes are notoriously delusional.

  • richard mcenroe

    We should remind our ‘friends’ to be careful what they wish for after their rejection of George Bush. Barack Obama is exactly the President they sought.

  • MichaelAdams

    That is actually racist. The word you use, which is Spanish for ‘mule’, is about as derogatory as one can be. We do NOT refer to other human beings as mules. I am certain that Obama is a Marxist, and thus has a high regard for Mohammedan terrorists, with whom his kind make common cause. The various races in his genetic history have no effect upon his love of a truly delusional German-Jewish-English guy a hundred and sixty six years ago.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    I personally know several Mulattos who prefer the term Mulatto, and get mad when you don’t capitalize it.

    In fact, around the New Orleans area, it has a famous and storied history, and many are proud of their Mulatto heritage.

    I don’t use the term myself, since distinguishing people by skin color is a false division, but some Mulattos insist on the term.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    No. Not jazz at all. Jazz requires competence and fealty to the structure of the thing.

    The only “strategy” involved in our Foreign Policy right now is, “make the US look as bad as possible.”

  • Andrew Stanbarger

    I don’t like jazz, generally, but i wouldn’t dignify what has happened by describing it as improvisational jazz. It’s more like a toddler banging away at a broken toy piano while screaming.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    I believe quite a few Mulattos have been important historic figures in America. Frederick Douglass, for one.

    So that would be a “no” on that one.

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  • Lt. Lockhart

    Quite a few more have wantonly murdered Americans. Are you familiar with Philip Chism, by any chance?

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  • Quartermaster

    The policy can be boiled down to a simple statement, “Do lots of dumb S***.”

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Yep. “Random” is popular with these idiots.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    The point is, hasty generalization is best left up to the left.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    This is all by design – a very flawed one that keeps biting them in the arse. And the rat bastards sit there and are surprised when it does – every, single time.

    They will not let anything – any-Goddamn-thing – disrupt the Narrative they have constructed in their fantasy world.

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  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Looks like maybe ‘Socialism Is Evil’ has been promoted?

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Don’t forget the heroin, when it comes to a lot of it, though.

  • Lt. Lockhart

    Certainly, the truth has a tendency to make folks uncomfortable. By no means, however, does discomfort imply we shirk our moral obligation to mean what we say and say what we mean.

    It is a readily observable truth that mulattoes tend to be delusional. There’s no escaping it.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Yup, folks, it’s him. Same style.

  • http://theological-geography.net/ David R. Graham

    He has a Caliphist strategy (help them) but not an American one. He thinks the chaos caused by the Caliphist strategy can be and is being managed and will stay at a sufficient distance, and he thinks it will not touch America, off which he loves so high to live, BECAUSE America has no strategy and poses, therefore, no threat to Caliphists. This is what customarily is diagnosed as drug-induced schizophrenia.

  • http://theological-geography.net/ David R. Graham

    Here is an effort to think about USA grand national strategy as it should be and could be: http://theological-geography.net/?p=8105

    I think the effort is worthwhile because the day will come when the sane must produce sanity more than weep over insanity.

    Labor improbus omnia vincit, to quote the Roman proverb quoted to St, Jerome by the Rabbi who taught him Hebrew and encouraged the Saint to translate the Old Testament from Hebrew rather than, as nearly everyone else demanded, including St. Augustine, from the Septuagint.

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