Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Choosing Friends

Ted Bromund has a very insightful read on the foreign policy portion of last night’s address:

What was most striking about Obama’s remarks on Afghanistan – and Pakistan – was that he defined the problem as defeating Al Qaeda and combating extremism. The latter may, certainly, be a code word for the Taliban. But, equally, by failing to mention the Taliban, Obama has laid the foundations for an attempt to redefine the challenge as one posed by Al Qaeda alone.

If so, the comprehensive strategy that he promises may be one that seeks to reconcile with the Taliban while continuing isolated strikes against terrorist safe havens.

It may seem like a lot to read into the use of one word, but when our president gives us only gaseous pronouncements about responsible withdrawal and fighting the real fight, this kind of analysis is our only recourse. If Bromund is right, it sure will be interesting to see how reconciliation with the most illiberal party in the world will be spun by the most liberal White House in modern times.

Bromund also picked up on some interesting omissions:

This was not an isolationist speech. But it was one in which, with the sole and neutral acknowledgment of Israel, American stood entirely alone. The support of Britain, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands in Afghanistan went unmentioned, as did all of America’s allies in East Asia.

I suppose in cozying up to the Taliban we’d have less need of our long-standing liberal friendships. So much for reestablishing America’s international ties.


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