Former Veep Dick Cheney hardly waited ’til President Barack Obama was off the West Point stage before scampering over to his buddies at Fox News to berate the president’s foreign policy address as vapid and his presidency “as the weakest of his lifetime.”
Might he be spluttering because the new “Obama Doctrine” outlines how realistic engagement in a complex, multipolar, interconnected 21st century actually works, as opposed to how the megalomaniacal Cheney, he of five Vietnam-era draft deferments, would like it to work; an aggressive, expansionist, militaristic America that exaggerates threats, overreacts to problems and intervenes unilaterally? My, how the chicken-hawks are always willing to lay down your life for their country.
Republicans, particularly neocons, have been piling on Obama because he appreciates the devastating consequences of military action for American blood and treasure enough to require every other reasonable possibility for resolution be fully explored. For instance:
♦ Obama chose to make a deal ridding Syria of its chemical stockpile and weapons capacity, 90 percent of which has been accomplished to date, rather than escalate entanglement and risk American lives by inconclusively bombing a few chemical weapons sites in retaliation for Syria’s chemical attacks.
♦ Sanctions, isolation and world condemnation have severely damaged Iran’s economy, but it was still building centrifuges and nuclear infrastructure prior to Obama’s, mind you temporary, deal trying something different, like negotiating.
♦ Russian president Vladimir Putin has accepted the outcome of the Ukrainian election, will begin negotiating with the new president and has withdrawn most of his troops from the country’s eastern border, essentially what Obama set out to do with sanctions.
Ultimately, the question of American military involvement must be whether it meets the test of strategic “essentiality.” Engaging allies, isolating adversaries and strengthening global order and institutions may not be as intoxicating for Cheney fans as punching every bad guy in the nose, but it’s exactly what’s called for in a war-weary America.
Talk about hypocrisy. One of Obama’s leading critics condemning negotiations leading to the release of prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is Sen. John “Wars-Are-Us” McCain, who was among 108 POWs released as a result of negotiations with North Vietnam. We’ve been negotiating with the enemy through back channels forever and exchanging POWs since the Civil War.
Whether Bergdahl’s behavior was appropriate or not, we sent him there and we owe it to him and his family to bring him home. Sure, there’s a possibility of the released Taliban returning to the battlefield and potentially harming Americans. Those are “ifs.” Bergdahl being home is a “given.” Are we so fragile that five more jihadists become a threat? Besides, what were we going to do, withdraw our fighting force in December and leave him there forever? Want to hear conservatives squeal then?
Evidently it’s no problem committing thousands of troops to a fake war, but bring one home from a real war and that’s the scandal?
Marty Moore is a freelance writer living in Port Richey.