April 30, 2014

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Obama Tiptoes Past The Graveyard Of His Foreign Policy:

As his reasonably successful Asia trip came to an end, The New York Times noted that President Obama sounded edgy and frustrated when defending his foreign policy against pointed questioning from reporters. . . .

It’s clear that the White House is beginning to understand that even American liberals have to work hard these days to continue to believe that the President is doing a good job in foreign affairs. Unforutnately, it is less clear that the White House knows what to do about the situation.

But neither the President nor Ben Rhodes (who is cited later in the article) appear to be taking on the reason so many of the president’s sympathizers are shaking their heads over the state of American foreign policy today. It is clear to a child of ten that the President and all the people around him totally failed to understand the first thing about Vladimir Putin and his foreign policy agenda. They were caught utterly flatfooted by his move on Ukraine. To both the average layperson and the seasoned foreign policy professional, this looks like a major misreading of a major issue. Many will wonder how an administration that was listening in to Angela Merkel’s cell phone calls could have misread Russia so comprehensively.

It’s pretty embarrassing for all those foreign-policy establishment types who supported Obama, too. To some of us, this was predictable in 2008. In fact, in terms of foreseeing how Obama would turn out on foreign policy, you’d have done better in 2008 to listen to Sean Hannity than to the Council on Foreign Relations.

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