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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Myth Of Obama's Weak Foreign Policy

For your consideration. If you want to get critical, I suppose you could say the president showed his cards. The second most important gift we were given is that of exploding a hawkish Republican myth: that Democrats are reluctant to use military force, to the detriment of the United States.

The Reagan myth is the cause of most of this. The Iranians were not scared of Reagan; they just didn't like Carter. Moreover, what if the "malaise" myth surrounding Carter is also false? The Democrats in my lifetime are no more dovish than George W. Bush; they simply have different criteria for what the "national interest" is. The big twist is that Bush is more the liberal internationalist, while Obama is much more the realist. Opting to balance power as much as possible takes some of the moral force out of humanitarian motives for the use of force. It at least opens the possibility of a damaging hypocrisy.

We should be grateful each day that force is absolutely a last resort in this administration. The situational ethics surrounding many possible instances of its use is more troubling than the willingness (or unwillingness) to pull the trigger, so to speak.

I think we can fault President Obama for (apparently) allowing personal political considerations to determine the outcome in Benghazi. Yet I am willing to consider that some secret information influenced those actions, and he would rather be painted as a callous traitor to America, rather than reveal whatever that is. If true, that's actually what a patriot would do.

Most of the popular perception of Obama closely tracks the absurd caricature that conservatives have of liberals, and that should be the first clue that it's wrong. But we're not used to giving our political enemies the benefit of the doubt.

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