by William Teach | May 30, 2014 8:08 am
“Credit for what?” (via The Lonely Conservative)
(Washington Free Beacon) State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was openly mocked by the assembled press corps Thursday after saying President Obama “doesn’t give himself enough credit for what he’s done around the world.”
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked sarcastically whether he deserved 200 percent credit, while another one wondered for what “accomplishments” Psaki meant he deserves more praise.
“For engagement initiatives like Iran, what we’ve done on Ukraine, efforts to dive in and engage around the world,” she said.
“I mean, Russia has still annexed Crimea,” another reporter asked. “I mean, Iran – there’s ongoing negotiations, but is that the success here that you’re talking?”
“We’re talking about engagement in the world and taking on tough issues that present themselves,” Psaki said. “And the United States continues to play a prominent role doing that.”
This lead to an outbreak of snickers, guffaws, and snorting laughter.
Other than some minor things, whacking Osama (thanks partly to Bush era policies), and his continued heavy use of drones (I like this policy a lot), what has Obama done? Iran is stalling for time. Russia controls Crimea. The Mideast is a mess. Even Canada is upset with him (over Keystone XL). His big Asian pivot? He came home with nothing. And then Russia and China announced a big working relationship. Well, he has done well ignoring the nutjob leader of North Korea, refusing to give in when NK gets frisky. Past presidents have fallen for the trap and given NK stuff. Personally, though, I think Obama just can’t be bothered to engage. That would be hard work.
Similarly, Fareed Zakaria pulls out some strawmen, claiming “Obama is battling a knee-jerk sentiment in Washington in which the only kind of international leadership that means anything is the use of military force.
In this context, what is needed from Washington is not a heroic exertion of American military power but rather a sustained effort to engage with allies, isolate enemies, support free markets and democratic values and push these positive trends forward. The Obama administration is, in fact, deeply internationalist – building on alliances in Europe and Asia, working with institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, isolating adversaries and strengthening the global order that has proved so beneficial to the United States and the world since 1945.
The problem here is that Obama’s limited engagement with our allies has mostly ended with them thinking he’s a lightweight, foolish, weak, and a narcissistic jerk. They don’t trust him. Our enemies are not being isolated. Where has he truly supported free markets and democratic values abroad? He barely does this at home. He’s not building alliances. Unless one considers taking selfies at funerals “building alliances”. Zakaria even pulls out an Eisenhower quote
But Eisenhower kept his powder dry, confident that force was not the only way to show strength. “I’ll tell you what leadership is,” he told his speechwriter. “It’s persuasion – and conciliation – and education – and patience . It’s long, slow, tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know – or believe in – or will practice.”
The operative word is “work”. Obama doesn’t. If it requires more than a long, drawn out campaign speech, it won’t be fixed.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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