Gary Kasparov, former chess champion turned political activist, has defined the Obama doctrine:
The Obama Doctrine: "Do as little as necessary to appear to be doing something without actually committing to a cause or course of action."
Or, in the words of Bret Stephens this morning:
Republicans know what’s wrong with Barack Obama ’s foreign policy. He has given the U.S. the reputation of a faithless friend and feckless foe. He sent thousands of troops into Afghanistan with no intention of defeating the Taliban, raising the cost by cheapening the goal. He squandered a hard-won win in Iraq with a fumbled exit.
He announces initiatives—the pivot to Asia, the arming of moderate Syrian rebels—then fails to follow up. He is gutting the military. He repeatedly shows that he is disengaged, ill-advised and stunningly ill-informed. Tell us, Mr. President: Is al Qaeda, core or otherwise, still on a “path to defeat”?
Strangely enough, both men agree that the Obama doctrine values appearances over reality. Obama appears to be in charge; he appears to be doing something. He isn't.
In truth, it’s all for the cameras and for the election. ISIS is not quaking before Obama. Putin is not staying up nights worrying about our hapless president.
No one should be surprised. It takes experience to access reality. Obama brought no relevant experience into office. Thus, he has consistently fallen back on ideology and ideology can only give you access to appearances.
Isn’t this what Plato meant?
And isn’t this why Aristotle, even if he got some of it wrong, laid the groundwork for science?