Monday, March 14, 2016

I Miss Him Already

Here is a very long, very comprehensive article about Obama's foreign policy, based in large part on direct conversations with him. It considers and gives voice to both the positive and the negative; in particular, the infamous "red line" decision. I'd suggest that whatever you might think about his policies and their outcomes, after reading this I doubt you'd believe, if you ever did, that our president is anything but a deeply thoughtful, smart, and complex thinker; and that he has only the best interests of the country at heart. Right or wrong, agree or not with the decisions he's made, this article makes it pretty clear.

One can't help but wonder if George Bush ever had conversations like this, or was capable of it. And to think that Donald Trump could be the next occupant of the White House, in this context, is simply too awful to consider.
...“Having said that,” he continued, “I also believe that the world is a tough, complicated, messy, mean place, and full of hardship and tragedy. And in order to advance both our security interests and those ideals and values that we care about, we’ve got to be hardheaded at the same time as we’re bighearted, and pick and choose our spots, and recognize that there are going to be times where the best that we can do is to shine a spotlight on something that’s terrible, but not believe that we can automatically solve it. There are going to be times where our security interests conflict with our concerns about human rights. There are going to be times where we can do something about innocent people being killed, but there are going to be times where we can’t.” 
If Obama ever questioned whether America really is the world’s one indispensable nation, he no longer does so. But he is the rare president who seems at times to resent indispensability, rather than embrace it. “Free riders aggravate me,” he told me. Recently, Obama warned that Great Britain would no longer be able to claim a “special relationship” with the United States if it did not commit to spending at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense. “You have to pay your fair share,” Obama told David Cameron, who subsequently met the 2 percent threshold... 
...The defense of the liberal international order against jihadist terror, Russian adventurism, and Chinese bullying depends in part, he believes, on the willingness of other nations to share the burden with the U.S. ... “We don’t have to always be the ones who are up front,” he told me. “Sometimes we’re going to get what we want precisely because we are sharing in the agenda. The irony is that it was precisely in order to prevent the Europeans and the Arab states from holding our coats while we did all the fighting that we, by design, insisted” that they lead during the mission to remove Muammar Qaddafi from power in Libya. “It was part of the anti–free rider campaign.” 
The president also seems to believe that sharing leadership with other countries is a way to check America’s more unruly impulses. “One of the reasons I am so focused on taking action multilaterally where our direct interests are not at stake is that multilateralism regulates hubris,” he explained. ... "...So we have to be mindful of our history when we start talking about intervening, and understand the source of other people’s suspicions.”...
 These are the words of exactly the sort of president I'm glad we have had for the past two terms. They stand in inexpressible contrast to those of the previous one; and to those we've heard from the pretenders on the right, the difference is like a redwood forest unto a patch of weeds.


Smoothtooperate said...

He took over with America just days away from going bankrupt. America was careening out of control.

The Tpubs/government sucks up every bit of internet traffic, phone traffic including locations. The Tpubs went into a rights confiscating frenzy. Spending trillions on spying on our own people while the roads crumble. Cutting taxes while at war...for a decade +++

Obama always seems to say the right thing. He knows what it's like to be poor and experience great loss. The job has clearly worn on him. Jackie Robinson didn't go through what Obama has been through, and will always go through.

The Tpubs will try to bury Obamas legacy every second of every day. That racism ain't ever going away.

It's gonna be a sad day when Obama leaves the WH. The good news is a Dem. will be moving in to soften the blow.

That Tpub reboot thing really changed the way the dealt with almost everyone except old white males.

Smoothtooperate said...

Obama confronts a heckler! Thank gawd Trump wasn't there.

Anonymous said...

I am sad already too. He is a reasoned, eloquent, down-to-earth man who has accomplished a surprising amount given all manner of ugliness directed his way. I have never been so dismayed and disheartened about our country. Never thought I'd see the day I'd actually be afraid of where we may be headed. Civil War? It's crazy out there.

Sidney Schwab said...

Yes, dw, it truly is.

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