Friday, August 29, 2014

only himself to blame

President Obama blundered badly when trying to explain his foreign policy on Thursday when he said, "We don't have a strategy yet." Aides had to try to explain what he meant, since that statement played right into the criticism made of that policy. What he "meant" seems reasonable -- that military and diplomatic options were being developed and weren't ready for disclosure. But what he said matches the definition of a gaffe by journalist Michael Kinsley: "A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say."

The administration has long been plagued by some anonymous staffer's description of its foreign policy in places like Libya as "leading from behind."  What they meant was leading along with others, but it didn't sound that way.

It seems to me that the administration is deferring military action not least because it needs both actionable intelligence and coordination arrangements with the Iraqis and others. Meanwhile, it is still trying to push the formation of a durable Iraqi government and is working diplomatically to get more regional allies to join in the fight against the IS jihadists.  Good luck.

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