The NYT discovers that Obama is a feckless idiot (there’s that term again) when it comes to foreign policy. Gee, a guy who was a community organizer, law school assistant and a six-day senator lacks any capability for dealing with a harsh world? Who’d have thunk? The failure to get Britain to join him on his most excellent adventure has his biggest fans wondering who he is; the rest of us already had the measure of the man.
[I]t is what one former adviser to Mr. Obama, who declined to be quoted by name, “the kind of setback that reeks of misjudgment and mismanagement.”
Other former players in the Obama team, at least when speaking on the record, were only slightly more forgiving. “I think Obama is fighting a lot of war weariness and war wariness in both Britain and the U.S.,” said Christopher R. Hill, Mr. Obama’s first ambassador to Iraq and a longtime diplomat before becoming dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. “But you could almost see it coming. When you don’t have an overall diplomatic strategy, it’s hard to marshal a coalition. It’s better to have diplomacy backed by force, than force without a diplomatic strategy.”
[I]n this case, Mr. Obama has done comparatively little to explain his longer-term strategy for changing the course of events in Syria without getting sucked into a war. In fact, he has argued the opposite — that a brief strike will do the trick of teaching the Syrians a lesson.
“It doesn’t seem credible,” said Eliot Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and the author of “Supreme Command,” a study of presidents and their relationships with the military. “The argument has been that you can do a strike, call it a day, and say ‘We taught them a lesson.’” If so, said Mr. Cohen, who served as a counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the State Department, “I fear it will just be a symbolic use of power.”
The British Parliament, however, fears it will be something else: the beginning of another conflict in which the West will inevitably get sucked in.
Update: This just in, from White House Dossier: Quote of the Day
“We’re hardly ‘going it alone’ in Syria. Al Qaeda will be providing ground support.”
– Secretary of State John Kerry
A note from our attorneys: This is not a real quote