President Obama is at the point where his scaling-back policy is starting to undercut or demolish many of the other foreign-policy goals of his administration—and, indeed, his own personal ideals dating back to his childhood.
By James Mann
Nathan Brown (professor of political science at George Washington University, and an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) shows how Egypt today is taken up two opposing narratives, which are driving the country toward a civil war or a military takeover.
The Egyptian Crisis. By John B. Judis.
Which former president’s foreign policy does Barack Obama’s resemble most closely?
Pundits and, for that matter, the Obama campaign were right to ding Mitt Romney’s foreign policy address Tuesday for banging the table instead of putting anything substantive on it. But what could Romney do? Obama has given him almost nothing to work with. Foreign affairs won’t decide the 2012 election, but, if it did, President Obama would win walking away.
Replying to Romney’s speech, Robert Gibbs, an Obama adviser, said this: “It’s widely accepted that President Obama has an exceptionally strong record on national security issues, and I think, quite frankly, Mitt Romney is having a hard time making an argument against President Obama on these issues.” It pains me, as a supposedly crankily skeptical journalist, to agree with a partisan spin doctor, but here goes: Gibbs is right.
Jonathan Rauch — “Love Classic Republican Foreign Policy? Vote For Obama”
Syria and the 2012 Election
“This year, both Republicans and Democrats are obliged to try to manipulate the events in Syria to the same end: winning the election. And so Romney and McCain have denounced the White House’s reliance on economic sanctions to alter the behavior of the Assad regime, suggesting that Obama doesn’t have the fortitude to resolve the crisis and protect U.S. interests in the region. But what they don’t always articulate is what is implicit in that critique: namely, that they are essentially proposing American military intervention in Syria, whether in the way of a no-fly zone or the deployment of ground troops. Needless to say, for an American public weary of fighting wars in the Middle East, this is not a popular course of action. Here, Obama’s more cautious policy clearly has the upper hand.”
Can a new right-wing website take on the mainstream media and its supposed liberal bias?
"So far, the Beacon’s coverage illustrates the tension between Continetti’s aspirations to produce serious journalism and its identity as an attack dog for the right. After it launched, the Beacon ran a solid story about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to close a nuclear plant, which would benefit a competitor that had donated to his campaign. But other stories have missed the mark. For instance, a story by Adam Kredo attacked NPR for running “a series” reflecting the same view vis-à-vis nuclear weapons policy as one of its supposed donors, the Ploughshares Fund. But Kredo provided only two examples of this “series”—and the main one was an article from Foreign Policy magazine that had simply been re-posted on NPR’s website."
-Eliza Gray, “Right vs. Write”
Can Israel trust the United States when it comes to Iran?
"Even if Barack Obama is truly the pro-Israel president his Jewish supporters claim he is, the [Lyndon] Johnson precedent tells us that it may not matter. Like Johnson, Obama presides over a nation wary of another military adventure, especially in the Middle East. According to Israeli press reports, Netanyahu intends to ask Obama to state—beyond the vaue formulation that all options are on the table—that the U.S. will use military force if Iran is about to go nuclear. But few here expect Obama to make that policy explicit."
—Yossi Klein Halevi, “Can Israel trust the United States when it comes to Iran?”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Is intervention in Syria a moral and human imperative at this point?
"I don’t really think there is any kind of a reasonable argument against intervention in Syria. Quite the opposite: There is a moral and a human imperative to act that is larger than any nation’s interests and larger than any strategic calculation. That is so obvious it is an embarrassment to have to say it."
—Kanan Makiya, “Interventionin Syria is a Moral and Human Imperative”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
What do Syrian activists think the United States should do about Syria?
"What’s undeniable is that Syrian people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid as well as political and economic assistance. Assad has proven he will not relent, with the Interior Ministry vowing that it will continue to implement the “security solution” until every expression of resistance is eliminated. With Russia and China essentially giving the green light for Assad to continue his massacre, only an international coalition led by the United States can stop the regime’s violence. The hope for a democratic future in Syria currently hangs in the balance."
-Radwan Ziadeh, “A Plea For U.S. Intervention From a Syrian Activist”
Photo courtesy of ABC News Australia
Can Obama’s record on foreign policy back up his “hawkish” reputation?
"Of course, it is not the president’s sagacity that is in judgment. It is his honesty, his honesty to himself, surely, but also his honesty to us. Ajami published in the last issue of TNR an essay about a novel first published in Beirut four years ago, titled In Praise of Hatred and written by Khaled Khalifa. It is about today’s bloodletting, yesterday’s sectarian political program, eternal loathing. And, to be sure, Syria’s ace-in-the-hole, its proximity to Israel, that it was the confrontation state. These insights laid out in a novel were not secrets. They were common knowledge. But Obama somehow believed that he could talk these truths out of their secure place in the world."
-Martin Peretz, “Obama’s ‘Hawkish’ Foreign Policy? If Only It Were So.”
Photo courtesy of Business Insider