Your Lying Eyes

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06 July 2009

I Hate to Say It

I really don't have any major problems with Obama's foreign policy so far. I'm not thrilled about the escalation in Afghanistan - we really need to get the hell out of that quagmire and there's no sign that's going to happen any time soon. Unfortunately, to insulate himself from suspicions that he's an Ayers-esque peacenik* uninterested in defending America from her enemies, Axelrod had him campaign on ramping up our involvement in Afghanistan to counterbalance his call of a withdrawal from Iraq. Even Obama couldn't get away with blatantly going back on that campaign pledge.

But otherwise he pretty much seems to care very little about the rest of the world, and only wishes to do the minimum necessary to keep out of trouble. And given the financial mess we are in, it's just as well since we really can't afford the two messes we're in now, never mind having to take on the many foes others see in the world. He's quite content to let the pros (i.e., everyone in the State Department except Hillary) take care of business. However, should his foreign-policy attentions turn from blithe deference to Foggy Bottom wonks into active pursuit of Obama-esque visions, we could be in for some trouble.

* And for good reason - a naive article he wrote while at Columbia in support of the Trotsyite Nuclear Freeze movement surfaced after the election.


Anonymous robert61 said...

I'm developing much the same take. I was especially happy that he was so reserved about the post-election chaos in Iran. He has made some noises about democracy and Honduras, but I'm hoping that was a sop to a constituency, not a harbinger. The Afghanistan ramp-up surprised me, having assumed all along that he was just saying that so he wouldn't seem like a pussy.

July 07, 2009 9:47 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

He has made some noises about democracy and Honduras, but I'm hoping that was a sop to a constituency

I think State is just following a formula - automatic rejection of a coups. But in the background they're trying to work out a compromise where Zelaya would basically recant his quest for another term and quietly serve out the remaining months. They're even leaking reports of frustration with his attitude.

On Afghanistan, hopefully at some point maybe next year he'll begin the process of declaring victory and going home once Axelrod gives him the nod.

July 07, 2009 6:45 PM  
Anonymous Polichinello said...

I agree. One can quibble about Iran and Honduras, but foreign policy-wise, Obama's far better than Bush (or McCain would have been, GAWD!). I'm betting we're going to see a Kosovoesque intervention before he leaves 1600 Pennsylvania, but for now this is as good as it will get.

July 10, 2009 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

Ziel: How refreshing to hear you characterize Afghanistan as a quagmire given your early support of our efforts in Iraq (check your blogs from very early on).
Great to see you are learning.

July 15, 2009 9:21 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Ummm I don't think you'll find a single post of mine on this blog showing any kind of support for our effort in Iraq - certainly not enthusiastic. Just enter "Iraq" into the little "Search this blog" box in the upper left corner.

And I've most certainly never voiced enthusiasm for our efforts in Afghanistan. I was very enthusiastic the first 2 years, but once we won - the Taliban was overthrown - I wasn't sure why we still needed to be there.

July 17, 2009 4:52 PM  

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