Sunday, August 7, 2011

Less Posturing, Less Attitude, More Policy

If, lacking relevant experience, you are called on to manage crises in foreign lands, you will not know how to run a policy. You will be reduced to offering attitude and posturing.

Considering that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton is conversant in foreign policy, it should not be surprising, as Caroline Glick brilliantly notes in her latest column, that America’s approach to the Middle East is more about posture and attitude than about policy.

What exactly is policy? Wikpedia offers a cogent defintion: “A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s).”

I would add that a policy determines actions, too.

Posturing means that you pretend to be in charge without actually being in charge.

If you don’t have a policy, you may be able to pretend to be in charge, but your actions will be incoherent, inconsistent, and unpredictable. And that‘s when you deign to take any action.

Lacking a policy, you will make histrionic gestures that make it appear that you are in charge.

In everyday life, someone whose actions are incoherent, inconsistent, and unpredictable is someone you do not want to deal with.

In world affairs, when the president of the United States has nothing to offer beyond posture and attitude, America and the world have a problem.

When it comes to the Middle East, Glick claims that Obama does have a policy in one area: toward Israel. He wants to undermine Israel. It seems to be the exception that proves the rule.

In her words: “What makes Obama's Israel policy notable is not simply that it involves betraying the US's most steadfast ally in the Middle East. After all, since taking office Obama has made a habit of betraying US allies.

“Obama's Israel policy is notable because it is a policy. Obama has a clear, consistent goal of cutting Israel down to size. Since assuming office, Obama has taken concrete steps to achieve this aim. “

As for the rest of the Middle East, Obama has not known what to do, so he has offered posturing and attitude.

Glick writes: “Obama has not adopted a similarly clear, consistent policy towards any other nation in the region. In Egypt, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Libya, and beyond, Obama has opted for attitude over policy. He has postured, preened, protested and pronounced on all the issues of the day.

“But he has not made policy. And as a consequence, for better or for worse, he has transformed the US from a regional leader into a regional follower while empowering actors whose aims are not consonant with US interests.”

To buttress her point, Glick offers some examples: “OBAMA'S PREFERENCE for posture over policy is nothing new. It has been his standard operating procedure throughout the region. When the Iranian people rose up against their regime in June 2009 in the Green Revolution, Obama stood on the sidelines. As is his habit, he acted as though the job of the US president is to opine rather than lead. Then he sniffed that it wasn't nice at all that the regime was mowing down pro-democracy protesters in the streets of Teheran and beyond.

“And ever since, Obama has remained on the sidelines as the mullahs took over Lebanon, build operational bases in Latin America, sprint to the nuclear finishing line, and consolidate their power in Iraq and Afghanistan.“

4 comments:

Phil L. said...

Gee, I wonder if Obama's love of Muslims and hatred of Jews has anything to do with it?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

It's so hard to imagine such a thing... especially after all American Jews voted for him.

Dennis said...

The problem is that far too many Jews want to appease thinking that once the "Wolf" has something to eat for the moment that he will go away. Unfortunately it only whets the appetite of the Wolf.

Dennis said...

What in Obama's life has prepared him to solve problems, make policy, govern, et al? He has spent most of his life around those who destroy, deconstruct, incite and create problems. How can one spend their entire life surrounded by malcontents and anti-semites without it affecting his world view?
What has he ever done that denotes a core of beliefs that builds instead of destroys? Obama cannot lead because he has spent most of his life attacking leaders in every possible field of endeavor. I would posit that he cringes internally at the word "leader." Thats why most of his actions have the feel of being dictated. A sort of, "I won the election," and everyone who challenges me needs to STFU.
It is not for any reason that larger and larger numbers are the "enemy" instead of the opposition. An enemy can be demonized and delegitimized and no action against them is out of bounds.
The typical actions of a tyrant or dictator rather than a leader. I suspect that if Obama thought he could get away with it he would take Bill Ayres advice and do away with large numbers of people to create his utopian society.
I look forward to see his actions if Obama really begins to believe he cannot win re-election.