Ed Driscoll

The Audacity of Hubris

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

The White House takes pride in the fact that Obama’s [presidential daily briefing] is “not briefed to him” – because, they say, he is “among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.” That hubris brings to mind this revealing quote from a September 2008 New York Times profile of Obama:

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

“Obama: I’m a better intelligence briefer than my intelligence briefers,” Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Insitute, September 13, 2012.

Nearly five years into his presidency, Barack Obama confronts a world far different from what he envisioned when he first took office. U.S. influence is declining in the Middle East as violence and instability rock Arab countries. An ambitious attempt to reset U.S. relations with Russia faltered and failed. Even in Obama-friendly Europe, there’s deep skepticism about Washington’s government surveillance programs.

In some cases, the current climate has been driven by factors outside the White House’s control. But missteps by the president also are to blame, say foreign policy analysts, including some who worked for the Obama administration.

Among them: miscalculating the fallout from the Arab Spring uprisings, publicly setting unrealistic expectations for improved ties with Russia and a reactive decision-making process that can leave the White House appearing to veer from crisis to crisis without a broader strategy.

“For Obama, world looks far different than expected,” the Associated Press, today.

The article found via Tom Blumer at Newsbusters, who adds that perhaps the headline on, as he dubs it, AP’s Obama pity party should be, “Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart … Unexpectedly.”

Heh. Though I think Obama-friendly Bloomberg.com has the trademark on that adverb.

Related: At the Weekly Standard, “Assad Calls Obama’s Bluff.”  This won’t end well, no matter what option Mr. Obama’s advisors choose for him.