Eliot A. Cohen, a board member here at The American Interest, condemns the “teenage temperament” of the current Administration in the Wall Street Journal:
If the United States today looks weak, hesitant and in retreat, it is in part because its leaders and their staff do not carry themselves like adults. They may be charming, bright and attractive; they may have the best of intentions; but they do not look serious. They act as though Twitter and clenched teeth or a pout could stop invasions or rescue kidnapped children in Nigeria. They do not sound as if, when saying that some outrage is “unacceptable” or that a dictator “must go,” that they represent a government capable of doing something substantial—and, if necessary, violent—if its expectations are not met. And when reality, as it so often does, gets in the way—when, for example, the Syrian regime begins dousing its opponents with chlorine gas, as it has in recent weeks, despite solemn deals and red lines—the administration ignores it, hoping, as teenagers often do, that if they do not acknowledge a screw-up no one else will notice.The Obama administration is not alone. The teenage temperament infects our politics on both sides of the aisle, not to mention our great universities and leading corporations. The old, adult virtues—gravitas, sobriety, perseverance and constancy—are the virtues that enabled America to stabilize a shattered world in the 1940s, preserve a perilous order despite the Cold War and navigate the conclusion of that conflict. These and other stoic qualities are worth rediscovering, because their dearth among our leaders is leading them, and us and large parts of the globe, into real danger.
Read the whole thing. Mr. Cohen also contributed to our recent symposium, “America Self-Contained?”, where he discussed the Obama Administration’s “parade of errors” in foreign policy. For the whole article, go here.