September 14, 2013 5 Comments
Whew, it’s been a while since I did an original political cartoon. We’ve seen some really terrible developments in American foreign policy this past week or so. President Obama laid down a “red line” on Syrian chemical weapons use more than a year ago. Then, last week, he denied setting a red line. Per the Commander in Chief, the international community set it.
This week, Secretary of State John Kerry assuaged domestic doves and foreign foes as to how “unbelievably small” a U.S. strike on Syria would be. Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal went to town on that one.
In a glowing review of the President’s Tuesday night prime time speech, Walter Shapiro denied cheerleading for Obama. This is hardly credible given how extraordinarily painful and opaque the White House’s waffling military machinations have been.
The Commander in Chief about-faced when Russia supplied an out consisting in Assad’s vow to allow inspection and destruction of his massive chemical weapons stockpile. National security expert Max Boot pointed out the dim prospect of such a solution.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled a world leadership coup with his New York Times op ed. After reading it, New Jersey senator Bob Menendez confessed that, “I almost wanted to vomit.” I think this graphic is a little more palatable, and totally apt.
America has for her Commander in Chief that kid who gets picked last for sports games, the one who bullies turn upside down to shake out his lunch money. Putin was a KGB hot shot; Obama was a community organizer. This is not good.
When I was in college, literally learning about the politics of peace and war, I was introduced to Win, Lose, or Draw: Domestic Politics and the Crucible of War. After conducting some game theory research, author Alan Stam recommended a simple strategy for dealing with unfriendly regimes: tit-for-tat. It’s like the eye-for-an-eye of international relations.
The simple lesson that every American president should remember is this: clear and consistent communication is indispensable to the national security interest. Speak loud, and carry a big stick; make the other side think you’ll use it. What the Obama administration has done instead is the opposite. American officials have telegraphed a lack of resolve, betrayed a sense of hesitation, vacillated between options, and came ill-prepared to the bargaining table. Our Ship of State must survive three more years with an incompetent helmsman.
American foreign policy hasn’t seen such tragedy and disgrace since Jimmy Carter was in the White House. I mean it when I ask, pray for the wisdom of America’s leaders.