That sums up as well as anything President Obama’s approach to foreign policy – or domestic ones for that matter.
The charge is made by Vali Nasr, a professor who worked with Richard Holbrooke in 2009, as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He writes of his profound disillusionment in “The Dispensable Nation: America Foreign Policy in Retreat.” The Daily Telegraph sat down to interview him.
“The president had a truly disturbing habit of funneling major foreign policy decisions through a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers whose turf was strictly politics,” Mr. Nasr writes. He did not like “how a Berlin wall of domestic focused advisers was erected to protect Mr. Obama.”
I’m surprised that he’s surprised. After all, this was the Illinois state legislator who refused to vote on issues that might pin him down in later elections. Instead, Obama voted “present” more than anything else. When it came to writing the Affordable Care Act, he farmed it out to others to do. He doesn’t have a coherent plan on the economy; instead he prefers placing blame on others (Bush) or demonizing Republicans. The Benghazi attack he blamed on a video. When it came to rescuing the ambassador and the SEALS, Obama went to bed. Why would Nasr think foreign policy would be any different?
The Daily Telegraph continues:
“‘The White House seemed to see an actual benefit in not doing too much,’ Prof Nasr writes, ‘The goal was to spare the president the risks that necessarily come with playing the leadership role that America claims to play in this region.’
“Admiral Mike Mullen, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until September 2011, is quoted lamenting how little support Mrs Clinton received from the White House, even though she remained on good personal terms with Mr Obama.
“‘They want to control everything,’ Admiral Mullen is quoted as saying of a White House that Prof Nasr says was'”ravenous’ in its desire to manage foreign policy, even by the to-be-expected standards of turf wars between diplomatic and national security teams.
“‘American foreign policy has been on a four-year autopilot, which I argue has been excessively risk averse and domestically focused. I don’t see any clear decision yet to change that,’ said Mr Nasr in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
“‘I wrote this book to problematize the way Obama has approached this whole region, and that it is dangerous to disengage and confuse a low-level foreign policy with success in foreign policy,’ he concluded.
“‘My hope is that Kerry will be able to do more, but it is still early. He’s definitely trying to create more US engagement, but there has to be a fundamental, strategic decision in the White House to reorient our approach.'”
It is our lap dog media that allows Obama to continue acting in this way. He’ll keep doing it and getting by with it as long as they turn their heads away from it.
That the country will suffer and the Middle East decline into chaos doesn’t concern Obama. He’ll be out by the time the worst hits. Then the media can shift blame to the incoming president.