American Elephants

The Backwash of Inept Policy-Making? Or Just a Lack of Common Sense? by The Elephant's Child

Not since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, and prior to that the fall of France in 1940, has there been so swift an erosion of the world influence of a Great Power as we are witnessing with the United States.

The Soviet Union crumbled jurisdictionally: In 1990-1991, one country became the 16 formerly constituent republics of that country, and except perhaps for Belarus, none of them show much disposition to return to the Russian fold into which they had been gathered, almost always by brute force, over the previous 300 years.

What we are witnessing now in the United States, by contrast, is just the backwash of inept policy-making in Washington, and nothing that could not eventually be put right. But for this administration to redeem its credibility now would require a change of direction and method so radical it would be the national equivalent of the comeback of Lazarus: a miraculous revolution in the condition of an individual (President Obama), and a comparable metamorphosis (or a comprehensive replacement) of the astonishingly implausible claque around him.
………………………………Conrad Black: New York Sun

President Obama lost the US-Syria war of 2013 before firing a shot. He did it by leaving no doubt that he had not thought through what he meant to accomplish by attacking Syria, nor what effect the attack would have, nor what the consequences of the attack would be, nor how he planned to deal with those consequences. His departure from the common sense of war and peace was so stark, so unmistakable, that it forced the American people to confront that common sense as they had not done for a hundred years.
……………………………..Angelo M. Codevilla: Liberty Lawsite

It is entirely understandable that Barack Obama’s way of dealing with Syria in recent weeks should have elicited responses ranging from puzzlement to disgust. Even members of his own party are despairingly echoing in private the public denunciations of him as “incompetent,” “bungling,” “feckless,” “amateurish” and “in over his head” coming from his political opponents on the right.

For how else to characterize a president who declares war against what he calls a great evil demanding immediate extirpation and in the next breath announces that he will postpone taking action for at least 10 days—and then goes off to play golf before embarking on a trip to another part of the world? As if this were not enough, he also assures the perpetrator of that great evil that the military action he will eventually take will last a very short time and will do hardly any damage. Unless, that is, he fails to get the unnecessary permission he has sought from Congress, in which case (according to an indiscreet member of his own staff) he might not take any military action after all.
…………………………..Norman Podhoretz: Wall Street Journal

Now, nearly nine months into the president’s second term, Obama is already developing the symptoms associated with lame duck syndrome. Most of Obama’s predecessors who were not wrestling with an unpopular war or a debilitating scandal had already or were on track to achieve their legacy accomplishments by this point in their second terms. But this president seems to be captive to events. Never having had the best relationship with Congress, Obama’s every effort to pass major legislative reforms has been stymied by unwilling allies and unhelpful adversaries. Furthermore, the president appeared to lack concentration. Before the debate over this reform or the other was complete, the president had shifted focus to the next all-consuming crisis. As a result, Obama’s political capital is today greatly diminished.
……………………………..Noah Rothman: Mediate

So the corner that Obama has painted himself into is now inescapable. Defying Congress will put the country into a Watergate/Monicagate mess. Not doing anything will confirm the administration’s impotence and only enhance Russia, Iran, Assad, China, Islamists, and almost anyone else who does not like the U.S. Doing something small, with or without congressional approval, will be looked upon as a cynical waste of human lives to restore Obama’s credibility, the sort of craven, immoral political act that a younger Obama made a career out of mocking. Doing something big will invite public and global outrage if only moderately successful, and doom the Obama presidency if unsuccessful.

How did Obama get himself into this mess? It was bound to happen, given his past habits. All we are seeing now is the melodramatic fulfillment of vero possumus, lowering the rising seas, faux Corinthian columns, hope and change, the bows, the Cairo speech, and the audacity of hope. Hubris does earn Nemesis.
……………………………..Victor Davis Hanson: National Review

Just a sampling of the commentary that is out there. But why and how did President Obama get himself into such a mess? As a radical leftist, he always believed that America had been a destructive force in world affairs. He counted on the war-weariness of the American people to let him get away with drastically downsizing the military. He assumed that the American people voted for him because he opposed Bush’s wars and wanted to get completely out of those entanglements.

But he was elected as the first black president. I’m not sure anyone took seriously his pre-inauguration statement that “We are just five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”Nor all his talk about  redistribution of wealth.  Unless the American people have been “fundamentally transformed” as well, they will not go for an America in decline. Nor of an America that despots around the world feel free to deride and insult. He has misjudged the world and he has misjudged America and Americans.

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