April 25, 2011

"This spring, Obama officials often expressed impatience with questions about theory or about the elusive quest for an Obama doctrine...."

"... Obama has emphasized bureaucratic efficiency over ideology, and approached foreign policy as if it were case law, deciding his response to every threat or crisis on its own merits. 'When you start applying blanket policies on the complexities of the current world situation, you’re going to get yourself into trouble,' he said...."

Writes Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker.

But even for case law, you need doctrine!

61 comments:

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

The Obama Doctrine is: Blame the Bush Doctrine!

Palladian said...

"'When you start applying blanket policies on the complexities of the current world situation, you’re going to get yourself into trouble,' he said...."

The Obama Doctrine: We Make It Up As We Go Along!

David said...

Shades of Dukakis, who said his presidency would be about competence.

Then he tanked.

traditionalguy said...

Leadership must start by leading one's self in a visibly intelligent way toward a clear goal. Only then will followers line up and follow that leader. Since Obama has zero leadership ability, his message has been "Rascists, Rascists Everywhere...Follow Me or be Called a Rascist". Only a small fringe element of total fools believes that Wind Mills, Solar Panels and High Speed Trains will ever help the USA. Obama knows that, but he is playing oil politics to enrich Soros in Brazil. Did you notice that Libya is a stalemate. Now who wanted that to happen?

Mark said...

Let's see what shiny thing I pull out of my a** today!

bgates said...

The Obama doctrine is simply to ignore conventional wisdom, the loud voices of the media, and events of previous years, and make decisions based on experience.

Specifically, choose the team with more the more experienced back court.

Julius said...

Doctrine = Don't rock the boat! Appease the established domestic interests and "international community".

Obama is the ultimate Do-Nothing President.

bgates said...

A lesser man might think a giant organization could use some kind of overarching philosophy, so that each of the members of the organization could formulate their initial response to events by deciding what action would be most in line with that philosophy.

It takes a man of Obama's unique talents to realize the benefits of having the entire bureaucracy be paralyzed while the person at the top mulls, and ponders, and evaluates each situation as it is happening, then communicates the results of his deliberations hours or days or weeks later.

For the efficiency.

Julius said...

@traditionalguy-

Do you run out of Kleenex, paper towels, and toilet paper at exactly the same time?

Lots of puzzling evidence that you've been postin' up lately...

MayBee said...

Who needs a doctrine?

One totally not superior world leader declares another world leader must step down, and they must.
Right?

Milwaukee said...

Sailors, the sort who sail in sailboats, know that one of the rules of navigation is that the boat with the right-of-way maintains course. The United States is a pretty big country, pretty significant. Yes we need blanket policies. Other people need to know what we are about so they won't be surprised. As in businesses like a stable tax structure. We are a democratic republic, we should support transparency.

The Iranians are not at all opaque about their aspirations to anihilate Isreal and the degenerate West. The United Soviet Socialist Republics were blunt about what they wanted out of life. Of course, a lack of transparency supports corruption, chrony capitalism and incompetence. Maybe President Obama prefers those.

Police departments need to have "shoot to kill" orders in writing. Then when the perp is shot dead, that is what the officer intended to do. The Isrealis have a policy that the lives of hostages are forfet. The terrorists know that, and the hostages know that. If they should some how save them, so much the better. The Isrealis don't negotiate with terrorists. Those are powerful cards, and laying them on the table is a good idea. Of course, they have balls.

Zach said...

Brzezinski, too, has become disillusioned with the President. “I greatly admire his insights and understanding. I don’t think he really has a policy that’s implementing those insights and understandings. The rhetoric is always terribly imperative and categorical: ‘You must do this,’ ‘He must do that,’ ‘This is unacceptable.’ ” Brzezinski added, “He doesn’t strategize. He sermonizes.”...

Nonetheless, Obama may be moving toward something resembling a doctrine. One of his advisers described the President’s actions in Libya as “leading from behind.” That’s not a slogan designed for signs at the 2012 Democratic Convention, but it does accurately describe the balance that Obama now seems to be finding. It’s a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the U.S. is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the U.S. is reviled in many parts of the world.

From reading the article, it seems to me that Obama doesn't have a strong conception of what he wants to do. Because of this, he's drawn toward positions that let him take a passive or reactive role.

Zach said...

I'm also reminded of the infamous three hour meeting that started with the US not getting involved in Libya and ended with a bombing campaign. If the leader is going to decide everything on a case by case basis, why wouldn't a staffer appeal every possible decision? You're never more than a meeting away from getting what you want.

Cedarford said...

The need to avoid a "Doctrine" is fairly manifest.

In 3 years, the IMF has stated that the Chinese economy will surpass the US one, not just free of debt but with 5 trillion in the coffers to build any military or do any domestic programs or countinued scooping up of strategic minerals and ag lands on the international market.


A date of 2014 shocked many, who had thought when the US economy was 3 times the size of China's, back in 2004, that China would surpass the US as #1 around 2030 under "Free Trade for Democracy!" and "Globalization".

The last 10 years under Bush and Obama, however, saw America in rapid decline as our manufacturing, construction, and financial industries were gutted. So 2030 is coming a lot sooner.

That and our near-bankruptcy has to force us to look at past "Doctrines" and see if they are sustainable or not. America had a 110-120 year run as the largest economic power, the nation with the most wealth, and the Reserve Currency that gave us unlimited borrowing power for:

1. "Making the World Safe For Democracy".

2. World's 9/11 service.

3. The economy that can absorb tens of millions of illegals with endless jobs available and have money left over for nation-building adventures and more lawyers per capita than any nation but Israel to suck up a cut of the pie no one will miss.

4. A medical system and drug system twice as expensive per citizen than any other advanced nation.

We not only should be cautious about new "Doctrines" but with China #1 in a few years - we have to examine all our past Bush Doctrines, Clinton Doctrines, Reagan and Carter Doctrines for viability and affordability.

Even question each and every ruling by the "wise Courts" that committed government to spend domestically for various "rights" - Decisions made back when lawyers in robes assumed America had infinite economic capacity to accomodate spending mandates.

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

Does Ryan Lizza not understand what case law is?

Mark said...

I'd always wondered who was running Cedarford.

Who knew it was Tom Friedman?

J said...

The Obama Doctrine: whatever Bush did badly, I can do worse!

Martha said...

The Obama Doctrine: Leading from behind.

Well, that explains WTF.

AllenS said...

The obama doctrine is affirmative action. It got him this far, and he'll be damned if he is going to change a thing. It means never having to say you're sorry.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Dithering is the anti-doctrine.

Jay said...

When you start applying blanket policies on the complexities of the current world situation

Translation:
We have no principles other than occupy the White House.

edutcher said...

The Obama Doctrine is: Don't make a decision until the Valkyries natter you into making one.

And, since he's from The Second City, we know what he thinks of the law, case law, or any other kind.

AllenS said...

Case law? I doubt if he's concerned about statutes either.

Synova said...

A blanket policy might well be a bad idea, but making decisions without looking above-all at the big picture is foolish, irresponsible, and not the action of either a president nor a statesman.

Synova said...

Sarah would do better you know.

She might still make the wrong decisions, but if she were considering intervention in Lybia she'd be looking at it in the context of everything else in the middle east, Egypt and Syria, as well as our relationship to our "hey, could you please do the heavy lifting" allies.

And she'd never have suffered under the delusion that because we were *asked* that the minute we did anything we'd become "evil" again.

She'd think of Burma and the demands for intervention by the US that needed to "do something" but just not, you know, the sort of things that Americans tend to do.

It doesn't need a "blanket policy" it needs at least a nod to the notion that nothing we do exists in isolation.

And that decisions shouldn't exist in isolation either.

Synova said...

BTW, the new Dr. Who was hysterical. Dr. Who comes to America! He's sitting in Dick Nixon's chair while his companions are in the tardis in the middle of the oval office and the secret service has about 12 guns pointing at the Doctor...

The Doctor says, "You can't shoot me..."

And his friends burst out of the tardis... "They're Americans!!!!!"

I just about fell off the couch.

traditionalguy said...

So what Big Picture does Obama use? My guess is the same one that every growing nation state out side of the USA has seen for 40 years. They see the USA as a ruling military colossus that frustrates every other nation's wishes under an arrogant Pax Americana rule. IT IS THE US MILITARY MIGHT, STUPID! Reasoning back from that point of view: you destroy the US Military by destroying its dollar based economy. You also demoralize the US Military by sending it into the death Valleys of Afghanistan, for no purpose. In WWII we attacked the German military by strangling the oil supplies at a huge loss of American life. Obama only has to paint Walt Disney fantasies of windmills and solar panels replacing Dirty CO2 and he destroys the oil and coal extraction. He sends anywhere else but here. Therefore the Obama doctrine is destroy the USA's unbeatable Military Power and send that power anywhere else but here.

Sy said...
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Mark O said...

He's just not that smart.

Scott M said...

A blanket policy might well be a bad idea, but

...sometimes a blanket party is the only way to get Private Leonard to stop making everyone else do push-ups.

Phil 3:14 said...

Hope and Change

I Hope this works, and if it doesn't
I'll Change


But the new all-consuming doctrine is:
Win The Future! (as in 2012)

Hagar said...

I think Obama wants to change the United States to his way of thinking.
Govern it, not so much.

Tim said...

Oh-Bah-Muh...Oh-Bah-Muh...Oh-Bah-Muh...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghSJsEVf0pU

Milwaukee said...

"Doctrine" is what happens when flesh appears on "principles". Since Obama and the left have one principle: "I'm wonderful, look at me, do what I want!", having a doctrine is nigh impossible.

Oh, and you're not as cool as me. That's a corallary to their principle. Other variations sound like really mean middle school girls.

AprilApple said...

Just love and adore Obama. If you are not a media suck-up, you get cut off.

AprilApple said...

Next on Oprah! Who needs leadership when you have a Cult of Personality.

ricpic said...

The Obama doctrine: hit America when it's down. Then in a fatuous smirking tone tell everyone to buy a Volt.

Mr. Buford said...

While rereading 'Landscape Turned Red - The Battle of Antietam,' I came upon a passage detailing the similarities of Generals Halleck and McClellan that aptly addresses President Obama's leadership style in all manners of 'doctrine' foreign and domestic:

He, as they were, is, "...versed in the rules of bureaucratic survival: be ever cautious, deflect responsibility whenever possible, protect flanks and rear at all times from the hostile fire of critics."

Henry said...

Palladian wrote: The Obama Doctrine: We Make It Up As We Go Along!

Anyone remember the Crazy Nixon policy? This was Nixon's idea that if the communists thought he was a little crazy, they were more likely to negotiate with Kissinger.

Now we have the Crazy Nixon Obama policy. No one knows what he'll do next. Except that everyone knows he'll start with talk and move on to half-measures.

For once I wish his deliberative approach would lead to principled disentanglement.

rhhardin said...

You need a solar panel for when the grid shuts down permanently, so you can recharge your mp3 player battery.

Tully said...

Aw, c'mon! The Obama Doctrine has been clear and consistent all along. It's to (a) alienate our allies, (b) appease and apologize to our enemies, and (c) vote "present" whenever a crisis presents itself.

wv: "aversere" as in averse re action

TMink said...

"Obama has emphasized bureaucratic efficiency over ideology"

Oh my, what lies! No need to read further.

Trey

TMink said...

"From reading the article, it seems to me that Obama doesn't have a strong conception of what he wants to do."

Sounds like no core values to me.

Trey

bagoh20 said...

I think that when you look back with 20/20 hindsight, you find that the strictly logical decisions were rarely the great ones. It's also surprising how few big decisions are simply logical calculations. There are always too many unknowns, and too little time. This is the purpose and value of ideology. You don't ignore the facts, but you understand that they have limits. Otherwise it would be easy.

chr1 said...

They still let men write for the New Yorker?

I suppose they must be men who are ok with women, and women's rights, and Obama, and global warming, and gay rights, and gay people in the military and Obama's lack of a doctrine, and minorities, and multiculturalism, and indie music but also Swan Lake, Toni Morrison and also Obamacare...evenings at the Met and also social awareness enough to extend moral concern to the ghetto from your garden party.

Sweet gig.

Quayle said...

The cool frat boy running the company.

He's too stupid to even know how stupid he is.

But he's covering for a lot of grasping and clutching lefties in administrative power, and they're busy like termites eating away the remaining structures, which they see only as tools of white power.

Erik said...

"Bureaucratic efficiency over ideology"? Who can take such bullshit seriously?

Leadership requires principles, and when it comes to foreign policy Obama has none. There are a lot of things to criticize Bush for, but one blessing of those years was the clarity of the man's principles. We all know where he stood, what he was going to say, and what he wanted to do. It was easy to support; it was easy to criticize.

On foreign policy, even his domestic allies have no idea what he's doing. There is being flexible, and there is being unprincipled. Given the results, it's clear Obama is more of the latter than the former.

Big Mike said...

@Julius, I strongly disagree with your assessment at midnight last night. Obama does a lot -- just most of it is detrimental to what I, and many others, perceive as the best interests of the United States.

Like way too many Democrat politicians he seems to care little for foreign policy, and without some notion of an end state he wants to achieve the result is an incoherent lurching from one side to the next. If you don't know where you're going, you aren't going to get there, are you?

chr1 said...

Yes we can!

Yes sir. Still believe it. You guys believe it right? Clearly there's a pattern here. Hell, the Presidency's too big a job for any one person...maybe we're all just racist. It's a tricky thing.

You're still all voting for him, right? They tried to take Planned Parenthood away. Bastards. I'm not racist. The Republicans are blocking him at every turn...don't bitter clingers understand the SCIENCE of global warming?

You don't need a doctrine, life just comes at you man.

Yes we can!

Fen said...

"Doctrines are racist" said the Diversity Hire as he excused himself from work to go play another round of golf.

Gary Rosen said...

"I'd always wondered who was running Cedarford."

It's his Hezbollah butt buddies. He loves the way they fight, hiding in the women and children.

E.M. Davis said...

I can't wait until he gets fired or retires.

Moose said...

I think the only thing Trump has gotten right so far about Obama is - how did this guy get into Harvard? Was it due to the what we're never supposed to say?

edutcher said...

Hagar said...

I think Obama wants to change the United States to his way of thinking.
Govern it, not so much.


If you recall, the word, "rule", was the Demos' favorite back in '08.

E.M. Davis said...

I can't wait until he gets fired or retires.

You think the country can survive until he retires?

vbspurs said...

Zach wrote:

I'm also reminded of the infamous three hour meeting that started with the US not getting involved in Libya and ended with a bombing campaign. If the leader is going to decide everything on a case by case basis, why wouldn't a staffer appeal every possible decision? You're never more than a meeting away from getting what you want.

Excellent point.

But ZACH...don't you see this means that Obama is a deep thinker -- he's just too intelligent not to listen to the rationale of others. He's the best kind of leader!

...my grandpa said of such people, "they set their watch after every clock they pass."

Dangerous, dangerous people.

cubanbob said...

Obama is nothing more than a deeply tanned Alfred E Nueman so why would anyone expect his doctrine to be anything but " What, me worry?" He is calm, cool, self-assured in a way only the truly stupid can be. Since most of America's problems are of our own creation (and those that are not we needlessly aggravate) perhaps we need this smug fool presiding over us just to wake us up and get us off our self indulging butts.

C4 rants notwithstanding the Chinese are not ten feet tall and the yids are not going to destroy this country. The democrats on the other hand are doing a great job of ruining this country financially, much more so than all of our adversaries combined.

Hagar said...

Kind of what I am thinking too.
The country is not broke now, nor was it in 1930, but these people are likely to do an equally good job of messing up our financial system so that it will take a decade or more to get things moving again.

Jason said...

This is why you can fly a C-5 galaxy through this Administration's OODA-loop right now.

William said...

It's quite a long article. Ryan Lezza doesn't seem hostile to Obama, but if you wanted to find something good to say about Obama's handling of these situations, you would be hard pressed to find it. A lot of Obama's vaunted pragmatism, realism, and idealism boils down to advancing the best interests of Obama. When his best interests are not apparent, he stutter steps, waiting for an opening....The article states that after a year in the Senate, Obama became bored. WTF. Does he has attention deficit disorder?

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