Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Political Philosophy

Obama's Once and Future Diplomacy

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post cover the President's remarks at West Point in an aspirational, rather than factual, manner. Both begin by (proudly) declaring Obama's "new national security strategy rooted in diplomatic engagement and international alliances" which "repudiated his predecessor's emphasis on unilateral American power and the right to wage pre-emptive war."

Except, of course, Obama's obstinate and futile reliance upon "diplomatic engagement" (read: talking even when no one is listening) to the exclusion of practical alternatives is nothing new. It has been tried and found wanting for the past year in China, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Syria, Palestine, etc., etc.

And, of course, George Bush went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the company of UN resolutions and a broad coalition. Media approval is not the measure of multi-lateralism. Support for the wars declined over the years, but this reflects a nation's endurance (which Obama praised) rather than an "emphasis on unilateral American power."

Further, Obama actually seemed to stress the opposite of the media's "repudiation" interpretation. He focused on strengthening the enduring policy and historical legacy of American partnerships with coalition allies.

In truth, the speech could have been delivered by George Bush - though the media would have interpreted it in a wildly different (i.e., more derogatory and critical) light. Obama did not articulate a new strategy, he articulated an old strategy he has failed to live up to. Everyone, especially George Bush, recognized the utility and profit of diplomacy. The difference between the two presidents is their responses when diplomacy has failed.

It's a shame that in those few instances in which I find Obama's vision to be praiseworthy (even if I find his actions pursuant to that vision to be lacking), it is concealed beneath the biased distortions of a media desperately trying to make Obama into the "hope and change" for which they yet despair.

Discussions - 2 Comments

My guess is that the reporters described Obama's speech in the same way as it was described to them by the spinners in the White House.

Rich's comment is on the money.

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