The Obama Doctrine Evolves

Is there an Obama Doctrine? Yes, and no.  Of course the President has a first term record.  But what it all means is still up for debate.  But David Sanger explores some of the contours–and how this week at the UN seems to steer the President in a different direction:

Now, after a remarkable month that began with his planning and then aborting a Tomahawk missile strike against the military facilities of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Mr. Obama has recommitted himself, he told world leaders on Tuesday, to devoting the rest of his presidency to two high-risk diplomatic initiatives: finding a negotiated end to the Iran confrontation, and creating a separate state for the Palestinians that Israel can live with, without fear.

via For Obama, an Evolving Doctrine on Foreign Policy – NYTimes.com.

The foreign policy deep thinker Walter Russell Meade critiques this strategy as it relates to the Middle East:

With the advantages of hindsight, it appears that the White House made five big miscalculations about the Middle East. It misread the political maturity and capability of the Islamist groups it supported; it misread the political situation in Egypt; it misread the impact of its strategy on relations with America’s two most important regional allies (Israel and Saudi Arabia); it failed to grasp the new dynamics of terrorist movements in the region; and it underestimated the costs of inaction in Syria.

via U.S. Mideast Policy Has Failed – WSJ.com

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4 thoughts on “The Obama Doctrine Evolves

  1. Joshua Dennis says:

    I am surprised that despite a decidedly losing record in regards to the Middle East that the President would devote the rest of his presidency in trying to resolve two of the longest lasting and difficult problems to solve in the region. Now there has been truly amazing progress with Iran over the past weeks, and that situation may indeed prove to be successful according to the Obama Administration if the Iranians continue to cooperate with the international community (far from a guarantee). However, everything indicates that this administration fails to fully grasp the dynamics of the Middle East, and lacks the ability to successfully negotiate a decades old, politically charged conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. However, it appears that this President is only concerned with looking good and trying to tackle extremely difficult problems, no matter how half-baked the solution (read: Obamacare, stimulus).

  2. eebashaw says:

    President Obama’s record is too much for me to believe that he could even halfway be a diplomat. It was shocking to me that he won the Nobel Peace Prize without actually doing anything for the furthering of peace in the Middle East, but I had high hopes for him to actually live up to this honor. In my eyes, he has fallen so, so far short. Frankly, I tend to agree with Walter Russell Meade in that it seems as if he has completely made a mess out of every situation he has been involved in within the Middle East. To believe that he can take on the two most complicated situations in the entire world, is almost laughable. He is trying to solve two problems that, frankly, may not ever have an answer. It is commendable that he would like to find the answer, but stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Unless he can somehow approach these situations with different eyes and mindsets than all the world leaders before him, President Obama will not be able to find solutions to these problems. His inability to negotiate with fellow Americans inside his own government does not bode well to his ability to compromise in such a way as to be effective in the international community where things are much more complicated and stakes are much higher. Good luck President Obama, you are going to get as much luck as you can get.

  3. juliajaquin says:

    I think it was very bold of the President to set these two goals. He didn’t just say he was going to work towards them either. He blatantly said he was going to devote the rest of his presidency to this. I think this is part of the problems with politics these days. The first is empty promises. President Obama’s track record would show a civil negotiation to be very difficult. Yes, Iran has made a lot of progress in the past few weeks. However, the Obama administration has yet to grasp to dynamics of current politics of the Middle East. President Obama should have made a detailed plan and committed to working on some of those steps. A man can only do so much. The chance of him actually succeeding at this is very slim. That leads to the second thing wrong, realism. President Obama is being very unrealistic. He should know that in politics you don’t shoot for the moon unless you 120% know the landing will be safe. If you don’t know for sure you will land among the stars. Usually this is a good thing. However, we live in a society where the people have such a strong voice. To the masses, landing among the stars is a fail. He needs to focus on just building the rocket ship. There are a lot of other important things he should focus on as well, not just two specific high risk things.

  4. taylorking2 says:

    I don’t find it weird at all that his “doctrines” are evolving. I think President Obama is human, just like the rest of us, and so he is learning as he goes, just like the rest of us. My opinion on politics has teetered back and forth more than anyone’s so I certainly don’t think that what is happening with Mr. Obama’s way of doing things is strange. I think he does his best to find out what is right, and then he goes with it. In 5 years, maybe he will look back and think that he should have bombed Syria, but that is what the human experience is all about.

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