Required Reading [UPDATED]

Dan Henninger helpfully explains the Obama Doctrine:

“You asked about an Obama doctrine,” Mr. Obama said. “The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.”

Mr. Obama then offered an example of how this would work—U.S. support for Israel: “What we will be doing even as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there.”

This statement, and indeed the Obama Doctrine, is a hoax.

Set aside that “messes with Israel” and “America will be there” are phrases with no real operational meaning.

“America will be there” could mean that if someone set off a nuclear backpack bomb in Tel Aviv, where the Obama administration would be the next day is on New York’s east side, condemning the attack in a U.N. Security Council resolution.

Read the whole thing, of course.

“Hoax” might be too strong a word — it’s more like the smoke screen employed by a tank during a retreat.

Not a tactical retreat, mind you, but a strategic one.


Henninger’s column reminded me of something I wrote two weeks ago:

In any case, this story perfectly illustrates an Administration whose thinking doesn’t even rise to the level of amateur. Strategy isn’t something you come up with on the fly to deal with a deteriorating situation; strategy is your grand design — not the little details — for creating the situation you desire. Operations are how to put your strategy into practice, and tactics are the small-scale methods used in your operations.

I would have you note that the “Obama Doctrine,” as defined by Obama himself, isn’t a doctrine. It’s merely a negotiating tactic, and not even a clever one.

The Reagan Doctrine was to promote peace through superior firepower, while undermining the Soviet economy and encouraging dissidents throughout the Eastern Bloc. The Clinton Doctrine was to contain ethnic and intrastate conflicts, then use international forces to keep the peace. The Bush Doctrine was bringing democracy to the Middle East and death to terrorists.

We can argue whether these doctrines worked, or were well thought out, or even coherent — but they were doctrines.

So what’s the real Obama Doctrine? Either he doesn’t know, or he refuses to say.