Saturday, June 04, 2011

A Grand Strategy
For America

Editorial - February 13th, 2011 - Newsweek

“The statesman can only wait and listen until he hears the footsteps of God resounding through events; then he must jump up and grasp the hem of His coat, that is all.” Thus Otto von Bismarck, the great Prussian statesman who united Germany and thereby reshaped Europe’s balance of power nearly a century and a half ago.

Last week, for the second time in his presidency, Barack Obama heard those footsteps, jumped up to grasp a historic opportunity … and missed it completely.

This is a dated article but it still has relevance, even now. Obama is still fumbling with an attempt to explain what he thinks we should do to influence events in the Middle East. Yet every attempt shows he does not have a clue. In four months he has not yet found anything that he can do that does not either prove his efforts fruitless, or sometimes more damaging than if he simply shut up.

He has alienated our enemies. Okay, not so bad. Except he has alienated them by his incompetent attempts to reach out to them and be their friends. So maybe not so good either.

He has alienated our friends. Really bad. In an area where we had few friends, probably only one that we could count on, he has shattered the efforts for peace that he claimed to be encouraging.

Of course the problem may well be the idea that Obama, or any American, can do something that is useful in a region where peace has been illusive for centuries. If that is true, couldn't Obama at least stop attacking our friends? Couldn't he acknowledge that we are not neutral arbiters seeking to reach compromise? Can we ever admit this is a region where many of our supporters are not all that nice but the alternative is worse?

The left has pounded Newsweek for their criticism of Obama. Yet it still is true. Obama has no strategy. He is struggling with and ad hoc set of actions that show him to be an amateur and prove that he is over his head. For the world's sole super power, this is not good.


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