Foreign policy doesn’t operate mechanically, on autopilot. Its effectiveness is determined entirely by the nature of the national administrations involved. You take the Bush 41 administration, and it can make a particular basic policy — say, in the war on terror — achieve a detectable level of good effect, in spite of the setbacks and “friction” (in the Clausewitzian sense) that are inevitable with international relations.
You take the Obama administration, and officially, it will modify the same basic policy on the edges. But in reality, the Obama administration becomes known for things like zero follow-through, strategic sclerosis, narcissism, unreliability, and desperation for photo ops and a favorable narrative. The same policy, modified, can’t work under those conditions.
This is a good point and should give pause to anyone who is reassured by assertions that the Obama administration’s anti-terror activities are an extension of what the Bush administration did. In fact, Obama’s weakness and ineptitude make it impossible for him to get the results Bush did, even if Obama wants to.
Executive competence is a critical variable in foreign-policy success. There is no adequate workaround for executive incompetence.
7 thoughts on “Obama’s Anti-Terror Policy Can’t Be a Continuation of Bush’s Policy”
Imagine never having run any business or organization and becoming President
It seems to me that Obama is quite competent in working toward goals he actually cares about. Besides getting himself elected, these include enacting Obamacare and Dodd-Frank [both of which we are probably stuck with]; limiting use of fossil fuels and obstructing development of new domestic sources thereof; working toward immigration “reform”; distributing government largesse to the various special-interest constituents of his coalition; requiring the military to accept openly gay service members and women in combat roles; and instituting a suffocating and draconian federal regulatory and legal oversight over all economically significant private activity and the operation of state and local government.
Obama does not give a hoot about effectively fighting or preventing Islamic terrorism, or about other goals traditionally considered to be in America’s national interest, so little has been achieved on those fronts. He has pursued sufficient military activity in the Middle East to permit him to masquerade as a “patriot” (whatever that means today) and to pretend to care about the increasingly PC-addled military.
It’s true that his attempts to promote the Muslim Brotherhood have had mixed results so far (fortunately), but foreign policy is a secondary concern for this administration.
but foreign policy is a secondary concern for this administration.
I’d say tertiary or quarternary……
it looked so easy to drive the car when Daddy did it.
Yesterday’s Washington Post criticized Obama for “wishful thinking” in the war on terror.
It’s a devastating editorial. (I added a couple of comments in my own post, linking to the editorial.)
Jim – I wonder why all these left-leaning papers get serious on the critique after the 2nd election
Oh my ghod …. it’s full of straw.
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