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NYT on the Vacillator-in-Chief

This is a very skeptical assessment of Obama strategy from top New York Times security reporter David Sanger. A taste:

He surged forces into Afghanistan only to quickly reverse himself, speeding the withdrawal with the declaration that “it is time to focus on nation-building here at home.” He briefly joined the fight to halt a slaughter in Libya, but left quickly and refused to go into Syria, a far more complex civil war he saw as nothing but a potential quagmire.

His speech Tuesday at the United Nations signaled how what some have called the Obama Doctrine is once again evolving.

In his first term, that doctrine was defined by Mr. Obama’s surprising comfort in using military force to confront direct threats to the United States. But he split with his predecessor George W. Bush in his deep reluctance to use American power in long, drawn-out conflicts where national interests were remote and allies were missing.

It’s an important article that further confirms the MSM’s disquiet over President Obama’s handling of the foreign policy portfolio. It pins him as the vacillator-in-chief and says that the US has lost influence in the Middle East due to bad presidential decisions.

Sanger draws the right conclusions, noting that it’s far from clear to anyone under what circumstances President Obama would use force at all in the next three years. Presumably Iran is a special case and President Obama’s long-stated determination to keep them from going nuclear at all costs still holds. But do the Iranians believe that?

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  • bpuharic

    Of course, absent a context for the undefined and vague comment about the ‘surge’, we have no idea what either Sanger OR WRM are talking about. The fact the right had led us into Afghanistan for 8 years BEFORE Obama became president, and then diverted our resources to Iraq?


    Syria is much more complex than Libya and is still evolving.


    The fact Obama has explicitly stated we won’t intervene where US interests are not threatened?


    Again and again the right keeps screaming that we need to kill more troops and spend more money to advance…what? What interests? Counter what threats?

    The right is paranoid that, without an endless stream of flag draped coffins at Dover, and without perpetual budget deficits caused by trillion dollar wars, we’re losing influence

    Nothing can counter this since it fits what the DSM-V calls a delusion. The right is delusional on many grounds, economics, religion, and foreign policy.

    Do the Iranians believe we’d use force? What had they learned from the right wing failure in Iraq?

    • Jack Klompus

      Stop acting like you give an f about veterans or the military you spineless little putz.

      • bpuharic

        Just out of curiosity…do conservatives ever have anything substantive to say, or are insults about it?

        Rush (PBUH) seems to the model…substitute insults for logic. And that’s caught on in the right wing community like a bad cold

        No doubt a reason why you keep losing presidential elections…inter alia

        • Jack Klompus

          Toward one trick pony nitwits like you, nothing but insults. Do you ever stop to notice that nobody takes you the least bit seriously because you’re such a pathetic one-trick pony? You repeat the same idiotic, witless boilerplate on every post. You’re an idiot, dude. A complete, utter, pointless idiot. You’re a sad, pathetic individual who obviously has nothing of substance providing you with any meaningful quality in your life. I realize I’m “feeding the troll” and giving what you want, attention, but cowards like you need to have it thrown back at you to make you realize that you wouldn’t have the guts to act in person like you do behind a keyboard. You’re a coward. A craven, pointless, coward whose pathetic life revolves around sucking up to whatever your masters in your political party order you to believe and you gladly lick their boots. You’re an idiot and an loser and I pity anyone who has to deal with you in person.

          • f1b0nacc1

            You are right about him, but he is inapable of understanding what you say, and you are actually giving him the attention that he craves. WRM either cannot or will not practice basic hygiene on the comments, but most of us have learned to simply ignore this one.
            You don’t need to lower yourself to his level.

          • bpuharic

            Hmm..on occasion I have complimented you on your insights. This is not one of those times

            You’re arguing for censorship and epistemic closure? No surprise. Others have noted the same tendency on the right. You don’t defend your ideas

            You insult those who question them. The very definition of epistemic closure.

          • Jack Klompus

            I know and thanks for the glass of water in the face. I wanted to just get one last smackdown on that useless little twit. I enjoy the blog but sometimes it’s hard to sweep away trash like bp who serve no purpose. It was cathartic to get into the discussion on Africa in another post that wasn’t polluted by that trashy attention whore. There are a lot of intelligent commenters who have some interesting insights on world affairs. As an OEF veteran I get particularly miffed when twits like bp who have obviously never done anything brave or meaningful in their lives try to score points by pretending to care about killed or wounded veterans or act like they know a damn thing about Afghanistan when they’re obviously just trying to score points and needle people. If that moron is actually older than 15 I might even exchange disdain for pity for such a lame little simpleton like him. Cheers.

          • bpuharic

            By ‘intelligent’ you mean extremist right wing. No policy analysis at all, save “Obama’s a socialist”.

            And I notice you don’t DISPUTE the fact conservatives’ policies led to 4400 death. You just don’t like that I bring it up in right wing conversation.

            Your anger is palpable and well deserved. If my policies had the tragic results yours did…the gutting of the middle class, the perpetual wars, the destruction of the economy, and someone dared to point out that my sacred cows had been slaughtered, by god I’d be angry too.

            Have at it. It’s the best you have to offer.

          • Jack Klompus

            I don’t dispute that you’re a pointless idiot.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Cheers, and thank you for your service…

          • bpuharic

            One trick pony? This from an ideologue whose only comment is to use the word ‘socialist’ like others use the word ‘the’?

            Please. Spare me the histrionics. If the right wing had a message you wouldn’t keep losing elections and wouldn’t have destroyed the economy with your myths.

        • Corlyss

          “do conservatives ever have anything substantive to say”
          We treat in kind. You’re not worthy of a half nanosecond of serious thought. We’re not going to do your research for you.

  • Michael Brazier

    “Do the Iranians believe that?” Why would they? I don’t believe Obama will use force for anything more than futile display, and the mullahs have all the same information I do. How could they avoid reaching the same conclusion?

    • bpuharic

      You bet! In fact we could prove that by how he treated Bin laden…


  • Corlyss

    “it’s far from clear to anyone under what circumstances President Obama would use force at all in the next three years.”
    Even the stones in the streets know that post VietNam Democrats are the very definition of incompetents when it comes to the use of US military force. Okay, so he can kill people with drones, only because it doesn’t involve using real military force but assassination by stealth. I’m okay with that so long as nobody confuses it for the use of military force. And it turns out he’s not even doing much of that any more, with drone kills down 50% in Afpakia.

    “Presumably Iran is a special case and President Obama’s long-stated determination to keep them from going nuclear at all costs still holds.”

    More mindnumbing naivete from the scriveners at ViaMeadia.

    “But do the Iranians believe that?”

    Seriously? That’s not the question. The question is did they EVER believe it and does it matter so long as the lunatic left thought they were getting a president who could suck up to misunderstood Muslims on the one hand and still blow them out of the water if they threatened the US.

    • bpuharic

      Hmmm…let’s see

      Bush started a $2 trillion dollar war in Iraq that went nowhere for no purpose at all. 4400 US service members died.

      Bush let Bin Laden escape. Obama killed him.

      So I just gave concrete examples of right wing malfeasance, incompetence, along with an example showing your hysteria is misplaced

      I await the gratuitous insults in response.

  • qet

    Obama has no ideas. For anything. He has absolutely no idea what to do. He is a political opportunist (for which I do not blame him). My firm belief is that he had no expectation whatsoever of winning the 2008 Dem primary. He entered it only to gain some experience for a possible future run and to burnish his image a la the 2004 Dem convention speech. Suddenly he was presented with the opportunity as the soft-minded in this country (sorry, but that is how I see it) flocked to his hope & change nonsense (his campaign team probably could not believe how gullible the voters actually were). But he had not given any serious thought to being the nation’s chief executive and had (and still has) no firm ideas of policy, domestic or foreign. Nor does he have any firm principles that he relies on to guide him. The left-liberal-inclined voters of this country mistook credentials (Columbia, Harvard Law, con law lecturer) and a fine speaking manner for knowledge and intellectual capacity. Now we are living with the consequences.

    • bpuharic

      Really? Guess you never heard of the

      -Ending the war in Iraq

      All of which were significant achievements.

      And I guess you didn’t notice the right-conservative obsession with credentials (Bush had degrees from Harvard)

      And we had to live with the consequences

      • qet

        My criticism is not of Obama himself but of those who elected him. Few people, probably no one, would pass up the chance to become President. Obama, I believe, found himself swept along by a wave even he could not have predicted when he started. But he had no knowledge of how US government actually works and from the looks of it has not acquired much in his first 5 years. Having a wish, like “health care for all” is not an idea. An idea is a policy that has a chance of being enacted within the confines of our government. One must know how Congress works in order to do that. Obama has no idea. Even his supporters acknowledge he is completely deficient at “working” Congress. And he has no strong background in or opinions on foreign policy, nor does he know how to get anything passed even by a Dem-controlled Senate. His FP team of Rice and Powers (and now Kerry) are lightweights totally unable to meet today’s challenges.

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