[Posted by Karl]
Asked to describe the “Obama doctrine” for foreign policy, Pres. Obama could not help but get a bit defensive:
And the — as a consequence of listening, believing that there aren’t junior partners and senior partners in the international stage, I don’t think that we suddenly transform every foreign policy item that’s on the agenda. I know that in each of these meetings the question has been, well, did you get something specific? What happened here? What happened there?
Countries are going to have interests, and changes in foreign policy approaches by my administration aren’t suddenly going to make all those interests that may diverge from ours disappear. What it does mean, though, is, at the margins, they are more likely to want to cooperate than not cooperate. It means that where there is resistance to a particular set of policies that we’re pursuing, that resistance may turn out just to be based on old preconceptions or ideological dogmas that, when they’re cleared away, it turns out that we can actually solve a problem.
Clearly, Obama does not want to answer questions about the overall results of his “doctrine” because those answers are not pretty. Pres. Obama would prefer to blame his predecessors, especially former Pres. Bush. However, the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl — hardly a raving wingnut — addresses that ploy’s expiration date:
Now comes the interesting part: when it starts to become evident that Bush did not create rogue states, terrorist movements, Middle Eastern blood feuds or Russian belligerence — and that shake-ups in U.S. diplomacy, however enlightened, might not have much impact on them.
Diehl surveys the results of the Obama doctrine to date, with devastating effect. North Korea rejected Obama’s diplomatic overtures to test a missile designed for a range that could strike Hawaii or Alaska. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority were impressed by Obama’s intervention — or willing to offer even token concessions. Russia ignored Obama’s diplomatic overtures of appeasement (as comical as they may have been) on NATO and missile defense, and is blatantly violating its cease-fire agreement with two Georgian republics. Iran rejected Obama’s overtures, announcing its plan to expand its uranium enrichment and trying an American journalist for espionage.
Top White House adviser David Axelrod claims that Obama’s apology tours to Europe and Latin America have made anti-American sentiment “uncool” and “created a new receptivity” to US interests. In the real world, Nicaragua’s Communist president Daniel Ortega can spew anti-American agitprop to Obama’s face for an hour straight without any defense from Obama. And Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez can use Obama to popularize anti-American propaganda, as Obama proclaims it “a nice gift.”
As for Europe, the reality is that our allies are equally taking advantage of the Obama doctrine. On issues as diverse as the global recession, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Europe and NATO have almost entirely rejected Obama’s agenda.
Diehl concluded his column with this:
Obama is not the first president to discover that facile changes in U.S. policy don’t crack long-standing problems. Some of his new strategies may produce results with time. Yet the real test of an administration is what it does once it realizes that the quick fixes aren’t working — that, say, North Korea and Iran have no intention of giving up their nuclear programs, with or without dialogue, while Russia remains determined to restore its dominion over Georgia. In other words, what happens when it’s no longer George W. Bush’s fault? That’s what the next 100 days will tell us.
Actually, the immediate problem is that Obama, Axelrod & Co. are either unwilling to admit the Obama doctrine is an abject failure to date, or are in denial about it. So the real question is what parade of horribles will be so severe, public or prolonged that Obama will be forced to come to grips with — and act on — that reality.