Thursday, January 31, 2013

new "leading from behind" analysis

Walter Pincus and Marc Ambinder both have articles judging the Obama foreign policy approach as "leading from behind" and approving it. Pincus quotes from former officials Bob Gates and Geeorge Shultz on the value of avoiding large ground combat operations. Ambinder notes how much criticism Obama gets when he refuses to get deeply involved, as in Syria.

Critics complain about inconsistency. "If Libya, why not Syria?" Or even, "If Syria, why not Congo?"

I think it's useful to remember that even Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his famous comment about consistency, noted that it shouldn't be welcomed in diplomacy. The full statement was:
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

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