American Elephants


Obama’s Afghanistan Debacle, and The Obama Doctrine That Made it Possible. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama announced that he is drawing-down troops  in Afghanistan, to the dismay of the military.  According to a Gallup poll, the American people approve.  They are “war-weary” the media says.  Why they would be “war weary” is beyond me.  They have had no interest in Afghanistan, pay no attention to the efforts of our military there, and have  little understanding of the goals.

Obama said he was simply choosing one of the options presented to him by the military, but this was a pants on fire moment.  The military did not present that option, as both General Petraeus and Lt. General John Allen confirmed in testimony under oath  to Congress.  The White House had been providing reporters with the line that Obama simply chose one option among several presented by General David Petraeus. This was Obama’s idea, to pacify his anti-war base in terms of the campaign.

The Taliban have already increased the aggressiveness of their attacks, striking the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, with suicide attacks and gunmen, killing at least ten people.

Greyhawk, at the Mudville Gazette, who has been there and done that, perhaps explained it best.  He quoted Marine Cpl. Lisa Gardner: “That’s why they won’t work with us,” Cpl. Gardner told a reporter traveling with the unit.  “They say you’ll leave in 2011, and the Taliban will chop their heads off.  It’s so frustrating.”

Greyhawk went on to say:

Afghanistan certainly isn’t the first time U.S. troops have been sent somewhere in numbers too small to do a presidents’ bidding, but since then 100,000 Americans in Afghanistan have fought the first war in world history against an enemy who’d been assured of their opponents quitting time.

Observers Douglas Feith and Seth Cropsey have attempted to define the Obama Doctrine that got us here:

The Obama doctrine emerges from the conviction that in the new post-Cold War, post-9/11, post–George W. Bush world, the United States cannot and should not exercise the kind of boldness and independence characteristic of its foreign policy in the decades after World War II. That view runs roughly as follows: traditional ideas of American leadership serving American interests abroad are not a proper guide for future conduct. They have spawned crimes and blunders—in Iran in the early 1950s, then in Vietnam, and recently in Iraq, for example. To prevent further calamities, the United States should drop its obsession with its own national interests and concentrate on working for the world’s general good on an equal footing with other countries, recognizing that it is multinational bodies that grant legitimacy on the world stage.Two large ideas animate the Obama Doctrine. The first is that America’s role in world affairs for more than a century has been, more often than not, aggressive rather than constrained, wasteful rather than communal, and arrogant in promoting democracy, despite our own democratic shortcomings. Accordingly, America has much to apologize for, including failure to understand others, refusal to defer sufficiently to others, selfishness in pursuing U.S. interests as opposed to global interests, and showing far too much concern for U.S. sovereignty, independence, and freedom of action. The second idea is that multilateral institutions offer the best hope for restraining U.S. power and moderating our national assertiveness.

Obama views America as a militaristic, patronizing bully. His advisers are encouraging him to apologize for America’s role in the world, and unfortunately neither he nor his advisers have any clue as to what that role has been.  Anne-Marie Slaughter, of Princeton, whom Obama appointed as the State Department’s head of policy planning  has written:

The president must ask Americans to acknowledge to ourselves and to the world that we have made serious, even tragic, mistakes in the aftermath of September 11—in invading Iraq, in condoning torture and flouting international law, and in denying the very existence of global warming until a hurricane destroyed one of our most beloved cities….

The key to implementing Obama’s strategic vision is through deepening American involvement with multinational institutions. He favors cooperation with the International Criminal Court, pledges “rededication” to the United Nations, progressive treaties , a nuclear Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the UN treaty on the rights of women.  He is committed to the “transnational law” movement, a vehicle for political progressives to constrain the power of democratically elected government officials.  The movement works to circumvent legislatures by arguing that administrators and judges should adopt its ideas as “rights”.

My earlier post explains the workings of the United Nations and its effectiveness.

“The Obama Doctrine Defined” is a long article but an important one.  Easy to miss on a holiday weekend.  Download it or print it out to read later.  These are things that we need to understand about this president and his aims.




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