Commentary Magazine


Topic: sufficient tools

RE: Personal Popularity ≠ Effectiveness

Max, you put your finger on one, but not the only, flaw in Obama’s worldview. He believes his own presence and words are sufficient tools of national security. He further imagines that his aura will be enough to trump national self-interests and fundamental conflicts between the West and our foes.

Obama and his spinners remain convinced that the Cairo speech was a seminal moment, a turning point, and a triumph. Why do they think this? What evidence is there that this affected the “peace process” (except negatively)? It is scant. Obama imagines that ingratiating himself with the Chinese would draw them to our side on sanctions against Iran. It’s done nothing of the kind. He’s “reset” our relations with Russia, again by ingratiation, and again without results.

There is in all this, and in nearly every other aspect of Obama’s foreign policy, a tendency to exaggerate his own importance, soft-pedal “hard power” (the exception being his largely cogent, if much delayed, Afghanistan policy), and diminish the very real factors at the root of conflicts. Some might call that foolhardy or naive. Others might call it narcissism or egocentrism. Whatever the definition, it’s largely not working.

Max, you put your finger on one, but not the only, flaw in Obama’s worldview. He believes his own presence and words are sufficient tools of national security. He further imagines that his aura will be enough to trump national self-interests and fundamental conflicts between the West and our foes.

Obama and his spinners remain convinced that the Cairo speech was a seminal moment, a turning point, and a triumph. Why do they think this? What evidence is there that this affected the “peace process” (except negatively)? It is scant. Obama imagines that ingratiating himself with the Chinese would draw them to our side on sanctions against Iran. It’s done nothing of the kind. He’s “reset” our relations with Russia, again by ingratiation, and again without results.

There is in all this, and in nearly every other aspect of Obama’s foreign policy, a tendency to exaggerate his own importance, soft-pedal “hard power” (the exception being his largely cogent, if much delayed, Afghanistan policy), and diminish the very real factors at the root of conflicts. Some might call that foolhardy or naive. Others might call it narcissism or egocentrism. Whatever the definition, it’s largely not working.

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