Foreign Policy Blogging at OTB

I’ve just published a foreign policy-related post at Outside the Beltway:

A Harsh Editorial on the President’s Foreign Policy

The editors of the Washington Post published an editorial highly critical of the president’s foreign policy, generally, and his response to the situation in Ukraine in particular. What’s less clear: what he should do differently or why.

14 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw

    I think the core of the criticism would have to be directed at the Administration’s foreign policy prior to the situation in Ukraine. What was the policy last year? Or are we just reacting to events?


  • ...

    Some of that WaPo editorial is ahistoric. And while I agree that the President’s foreign policy has been awful on the whole, I don’t think it is fair to say that he has been sitting back and passively observing events. Overturned governments in several countries seem evidence otherwise.

    Further, I would argue that what the President is doing now is more in line with both reality and our interests than was the foreign policy pursued in Ukraine by underlings in the last year. Too bad senior officials turned over our Russian foreign policy decisions to the Cheneyites.

    Now why was it a bad idea to vote for Romney in 2012?

  • TastyBits

    I posted this as a response to a link on an earlier post, and I will probably not get the chance to respond anytime soon.

    I would suggest you verify Walter Russell Mead’s track record before placing any trust in his analysis. Any pundit who cannot learn the basic facts about what he is pontificating is a hack.

    Within the last 6 years, has he said that Israel would bomb Iran?

    Did he know that the Russians got screwed in Libya? Did he understand that the Russians would not get screwed in Syria?

    Does he understand that the Iranian Mullahs will never allow a mob of street protesters to overthrow them? Does he understand that they have absolutely no problem with slaughtering tens of thousands of their people?

    Does he have any idea of what military buildup it would take to put China in check?

    Did he understand the implications of installing a foppish dandy to run a country of warlords? (Karzi/Afghanistan)?

    Did he understand the implications of firing the Iraqi army?

    Did he understand the implications of not installing a strong man in Afghanistan and Iraq?

    Does he understand that the Iraq invasion destabilized far more than the Middle East? Does he understand that because President Bush lacked the will to do what was required he (Bush) allowed Putin to begin expanding power?

    Let me help him, you, and everybody else. The only reason for invading Iraq was to establish military bases. Period. President Bush fucked it up. Period. End of story.

    President Obama has been childish with the bowing and the Russian “Reset Button”. I am sure he is dovish, and he is reluctant to use force. I would prefer he keep his mouth shut or toss these matters to the UN or European Allies. This is about all they are good for.

    The US military is not large enough to accomplish the tasks of the hawks. To put China and Russia in check is going to require a Cold War size military.

    Finally, I am astounded by the lack of knowledge by people about various subjects they are paid to write about. They are wrong over and over, and even worse, their followers keep following them.

  • PD Shaw

    @Tastybits, I usually don’t get into arguments directed to the person; your comment is a good reason why, its too time consuming to deal with a judging a person, than judging their argument. I’ve read and enjoyed two of Mead’s books, but find his blogging too long-winded at times.

    Mead clearly does not like Wilsonian idealism, and foreign policy referenced to universal ideals, instead of a more realistic framework originating from the interests of states.

  • In correspondence he’s self-identified as a Jeffersonian.

  • PD Shaw

    @Dave, I would have thought he was at least partly Hamiltonian.

    Mead’s critique today is that Obama is a Wilsonian/Jeffersonian, meaning he wants “to pay less into the international system, and take more out.” I’d have to chew on that one, but I do think he is correct that some states or leaders have an anti-American interest — it may not predominate or be insurmountable, but idealists appear to be easily confounded by this possibility.

  • TastyBits

    @PD Shaw

    He may be one of the few who has done his homework, but the vast majority of pundits are spouting nonsense.

    I see the same pundits being linked to and quoted as having some opinion worth more than my dogs. These pundits are continually state the same wrong conventional knowledge, and nobody ever calls them out on it. The reason for this is that they all believe the same crap, and actually learning the truth would spoil the narrative.

    The fact that Israeli planes do not have the fuel capacity for a round trip bombing run to Iran is not top secret knowledge. An intern with a Stratfor account should be able to figure it out in a few hours or minutes. Of course, this would blow the “Israel bombs Iran” narrative. I have a serious problem with somebody who is too lazy to do this little research.

    It is the same for all the remaining questions.

    Here is my biggest problem. My knowledge comes from reading mostly primary sources, then secondary sources, and some commentary (60%,30,10). These guys seem to be pontificating based upon reviews of a movie based upon the Cliff Notes of a novel.

  • jan

    I would call the Washington Post editorial ‘blunt,’ — something rather unexpected from this publication’s pages when addressing a policy direction/decision emanating from this administration. I’m personally glad to see it, as questions and criticism, especially from the MSM, are persuasive in keeping any administration on deck and responsive in discussing, defending, or reconfiguring their judgement calls. It’s similar to the checks and balances mechanism we should be having in our Congressional debates, in hammering out good, long-term proposals, as opposed to simply political expedient ones.

    As to the various disapproving editorials being published about this POTUS’s handling of foreign policy, they are opinion pieces. Much of their analysis is based on this president’s prior foreign policy missteps and false conclusions made, mainly in the middle east. In fact, Syria seemed to be a prelude to the current confrontation in Ukraine, where Putin gingerly stepped in and took control, sidelining our country and making it appear like a weak, deflated bully. Basically, we should never be drawing red lines we aren’t willing or able to implement, as false blustering is akin to being a shrinking violet, as to how uncourageous and vapid the person behind such behavior is seen by others. However, with much inconsistency, we have engaged in both types of role-playing, which in turn has resulted in a reduction of respect from allies and enemies alike. IOW, we are rapidly becoming a paper tiger in the eyes of our global counterparts.

    Part and parcel to how we are seen by others is a growing blind spot in how we misinterpret the perspectives and goals foes have in their dealings with us, along with the gambits they may be will to take to achieve these goals.

  • ...

    TB, the pundits aren’t there to illuminate issues. They are there for propoganda purposes, to spout the line of their paymasters. Why do you think Tom Friedman still has a job?

    Illuminating complex issues to an engaged citizenry isn’t part of the mission statement.

  • Why do you think Tom Friedman still has a job?

    Life is full of great mysteries. Besides, if he didn’t have a job how would he pay for that enormous house he just bought?

  • ...

    You’re kidding, right, lol?

  • Do you know what an Irish bull is?

  • TastyBits


    I wonder if any of them have noticed that Egypt is back where it started. It is almost as if somebody told the military to just back off and wait a while. If things were not going the way they wanted, they could just gin up a mob, and the military could ride in to save the day. I am sure all of this was spontaneous.

  • ...

    Had to look it up. Not sure who’s the target, though. Attention span reduced to about 15 secs, max.

Leave a Comment