I subscribe to the Dry Bones Blog by Yaakov Kirschen, an Israeli cartoonist. I enjoy seeing how he views the world, even though I don’t always agree with him. For instance:
Kirschen adds, “His ineptitude is becoming embarrassing!”
Obviously some people agree with that, but I agree with Andy Borowitz — “Don’t do stupid stuff,” is a great place to start. In his latest article Borowitz says,
Arguing that his motto “Don’t do stupid stuff” is not a coherent foreign policy, critics of President Obama are pressuring him to do something stupid without further delay.
A few weeks ago I read an article where the author said we should keep out of the Middle East, because every time we do something we make it worse. There’s some truth to that.
And Peter Bienart in The Atlantic argues that Obama does have a strategy. It’s “fierce minimalism,” to focus on counterterroism — keeping jihadists from attacking American/Americans — rather than trying to fix all the problems in the world.
From the beginning, the president’s political team has understood that on foreign policy, Obama faced two political dangers. If he got too many American troops killed in the Middle East, he risked alienating his liberal base. If he permitted a major terrorist attack against American civilians, he risked empowering the Republicans eager to paint him as weak. The way to protect against both dangers was to keep American troops out of harm’s way while pulverizing alleged jihadists from the air.
Regardless of what you think of the merits of that approach in terms of statecraft, it’s worked politically…. [Obama’s] fierce minimalism fits the national mood.
President Obama’s Mideast strategy is not grand. It’s not inspiring. It’s not idealistic. But it’s what the American people want and what their government knows how to do. And Barack Obama didn’t become president by tilting at windmills.
My own guess is Obama will do his best to kill the leaders of the Islamic State the way he finally got Osama bin Laden. It’s a tall order and he may not be able to do it, but if that’s what he’s thinking he would be a fool to announce it to the world.
September 5, 2014