Sunday, October 21, 2012

Appease, Surrender, Abandon, and Get Nothing: Obama's NaivePolitik

Obama’s superior foreign-policy acumen has been part and parcel of the Beltway narrative. “I killed Osama and I Got Us Out of Iraq” were supposed to offset the awful economy. Pundits were sure that youth-lived-in-Indonesia and college-traveler-to-Pakistan Obama could easily dispatch provincial “businessman” Romney in the  final debate – a fitting climax to the President’s inevitable reelection. As Obama whispered to Putin’s envoy: “Tell Vladimir to wait until the election. Then I will be flexible,” he could not even imagine a loss to such a weak opponent.

The Benghazi tragedy of 9/11 shook the foundations of this narrative. For weeks, the administration kept changing its story, as if in a panic. On the eve of the final debate, foreign policy has moved to the front burner to decide an election that was supposed to be about the economy. The rough-and-tumble of the last debate will swell an audience waiting for blood.

Obama entered the first two debates with weak cards, but he was supposed to contest the final debate from a position of strength. All that has changed. Romney can produce a devastating laundry list of Obama’s foreign policy defeats to an audience that is actually listening. And Obama will not have Candy Crowley, unless Bob Shieffer wants to join her in the tank.

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  1. Realpolitik provides a robust framework---Henry Kissinger would agree.

    Foreign Policy Matters when the unexpected (Big) thing happens. A big military (the only pure public good) is a great insurance policy---it is both preventive of war and promotive of peace. Otherwise, relaying on the developing countries in the UN is the usual prescription; but, if they could make the right decision, then the developing countries would have been developed countries by now.

  2. While Pakistan got the right attention in the debate last night, the other giant elephant (Saudi Arabia) was not mentioned.