The brilliant Richard Fernandez totes up Obama’s blunders in the Middle East, in this article and in this one. He says, among other things, that, “The administration’s foreign policy is unwinding like a busted spring.”
Or is it? Certainly, if you look at it in the conventional sense, it seems that way. But really, it depends what the intent was. I don’t think this unwinding is sheer incompetence; I think it’s purposeful.
With Obama and foreign policy, up is down and down is up. Obama supports the people he shouldn’t and fails to support those he should, and he does both quite consistently. Even a stopped watch is right more often than Obama. And although Obama’s foreign policy may resemble a stopped watch at times, it is running—perhaps even rather more smoothly than is readily apparent.
For example, I think that Scott Johnson is correct here, although I think he doesn’t go far enough:
From the perspective of Obama, however, our reduction to smallness and irrelevance represents a great success.
That is Obama’s goal, but I see it as a goal in the service of something more. He’s not just interested in smallness and irrelevance for their own sakes. He’s interested in weakening America’s influence, and in doing so he allows other forces to rise, forces that previous administrations had opposed. Those forces could be summarized as being either leftist or Islamicist, depending on the country and the situation. In studying Obama’s decisions in the foreign arena, it is difficult to escape the idea that Obama prefers that these groups gain more power around the world. And since he can’t come out directly for them, sometimes he must support them by apparent indirection and inaction.
The Obama Doctrine.