What, Exactly, Is The “Obama Doctrine”?

Does anybody know? Does Obama? What is it? Over at the Politico, Leonard Nimoy Glenn Thrush is In search of the ‘Obama Doctrine’

At a briefing for reporters last Saturday as U.S. Tomahawks missiles slammed into the Libyan coast, a top aide to President Barack Obama was asked to define the “Obama doctrine” to explain why the United States was suddenly pursuing a third conflict in a Muslim nation.

Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser and one of Obama’s most highly regarded speechwriters, ticked off the factors that led his reluctant commander-in-chief to act: Muammar Qadhafi’s threat of a massacre against his own people, support from an international coalition and “the provision of humanitarian assistance” to rebels.

Yet after 800 words, the eloquent Rhodes offered nothing as compact or pithy as the “Bush doctrine” Obama ran against in 2008, a black-and-white commitment to supporting democratic movements and using unilateral American firepower to back them when necessary.

Sigh. Yet again with the “unilateral” crap. Glen, Glen, Glen, there were over 40 countries involved with Iraq, and 48 in Afghanistan. You remember Afghanistan, right, Glen? The country Al Qaeda was based out of, and launched 9/11 from? The country Obama ramped up the US troop presence unilaterally?

That difficulty in succinctly describing the intellectual framework for Obama’s approach to U.S. foreign policy and national security issues has long bedeviled anyone trying to impute a concrete agenda from Obama’s soaring pronouncements about supporting democracy and fostering international human rights.

The articled goes on and on and on, but, the Obama doctrine can be boiled down to two words: winging it. He has no doctrine, no overall strategy, no overall guiding vision. He’s not a leader, he’s a manager. One who’s thrust into the position with no training, and allows the employees to set the standards. Don’t misunderstand, I support Operation Stripper Pole Odyssey Dawn, and will support attempts to remove Gdaffy by force, if it comes to that. And we should make sure he goes one way or another. I’d also support military intervention in Darfur. But, it’d be nice to know what Obama is trying to accomplish.

The Politico also has a conversation about entitled “a coherent “Obama Doctrine” or flailing around?‘ The one by Greg Dworkin is hilarious, because it spends more time discussing the “Cheney administration” then Obama.

Crossed at Right Wing News and Stop The ACLU.

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9 Responses to “What, Exactly, Is The “Obama Doctrine”?”

  1. Phineas says:

    Stanley Kurtz, who wrote the excellent “Radical in Chief,” argues here that Obama, under the influence of Samantha Powers, is trying to establish the principles of “responsibility to protect” and “humanitarian intervention.” In other words, military action with no link to US national interests.

    Needless to say, I don’t think that’s a good idea.

  2. Aewl says:

    In this, I think you are wrong to say that it is a good idea to bomb Libya and possibly go after Darfur.

    I served 21 years in the military from 1983 to 2004. During that time, the U.S. invaded Grenada (in-out…mission accomplished), invaded Panama (in-out… mission accomplished) Kuwait (in-out… mission accomplished) Bosnia (in…. still there), Somalia (in-out… mission failed), Afghanistan (in… still there), Iraq (in… still there)

    See the trend? In the cases of Reagan and Bush I, there were specific goals and the means to accomplish them. After that, things got screwy. Either there were no specific goals (Bosnia, Somalia) or the means to accomplish them weren’t there. Actually, you can argue that Afghan and Iraq had specific goals but then morphed into something more that is still not accomplished. The above were all in the time-frame of when I served.

    Now Libya comes around. Why go after Libya? Why not Egypt? Tunisia? Why didn’t we go after Yemen after the USS Cole was bombed?Or any other middle east country that is having unrest? There is no specific goal in going after Libya. What will it accomplish? Nothing but yet another spot where my Navy brethren will yet again patrol endlessly.

    If you look back at history, you will note that in every conflict that the US was involved with, the ones that were successful had specific goals that did not change. In all the others(Nicaragua, Korea, Vietnam) either we didn’t have specific goals or the goalposts kept shifting making it impossible to attain.

    Our military is still the most professional military in the world. Even with the social engineering experimentation in the 90’s and I imagine that is happening now, we still persevere despite the added B.S. that we are forced to work under. But, at some point, getting involved in pointless missions that have no specific goal will eventually wreck the military by exhausting the morale and professionalism.

    A parallel to that is the British forces that used to be the preeminent military force in the world. They have reorganized over the last 100 years to become a smaller, more professional force, but no longer the big dog on stage in the world.

  3. Excellent article, Phineas. One I mostly agree with, but, I will say, having the US lead some actions, say, if we did something about Darfur, can continue keeping the US as the world leader. Of course, Obama wants the US to be just another country, equal to Somalia, and has ruined our street cred around the world.

    Again, excellent points, Aewl. And it would be nice if Obama would clarify the point of this adventure. Regime change? Leveling the playing field for the rebels? Securing the oil? Who knows? It’s rather nebulous.

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  6. captainfish says:

    I think we are confusing humanitarian relief with aid against civil conflict.

    In Darfur, that is a humanitarian crisis as the government and tribes are massacring true civilians.

    In Libya, that was a faction of rebels attacking the government. The government responded in defense.

    Can we honestly say, that the “rebels” are not members of a more radical Islamic group? We now have reports that al-Queda are supporting the “rebels”.

    And… if they are indeed rebels then there is no civilian crisis. These people are armed. Heavily armed. They are in fact rebels.

    We have no business overthrowing this government. Isn’t that what Obama believed back in 2007? What are we going to replace Kadafffffi with? The murderous rebels? Muslim Brotherhood? al-Queda?

    Saddam MURDERED thousands of his people with a chemical weapon yet the libs and UN dithered for over a year on what to do about him.

    But, the UN oks a mission against Libya in a month without ever issuing a sanction?

    Now who’s a war-monger? Instead of bringing peace to this world, Obama has brought war and violence.

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