31 July 2013

Uncommon Commentary #353: Arab-Spring Fever

It's remarkable how seriously some otherwise-sensible commentators apparently take the notion of an "Obama Doctrine".  If Obama's approach to the upheavals in the Near East were consistent enough to be called a "doctrine", would he have reacted as inconsistently as he has?  After weeks of defying pressure to do something to aid the rebellion in Libya, he abruptly reversed his public stance and ended up taking the USA to war without a declaration of such; he denied that his administration was working toward Gaddafi's violent overthrow, and then claimed credit for the violent overthrow when it did occur; he spent two years resisting calls for intervention in Syria—this resistance included drawing a "red line" over the use of chemical weapons, the crossing of which he never made a precondition for joining the fight versus Gaddafi—before executing another Libya-style flip-flop, which so far has not led to anything but a promise to supply anti-Assad insurgents with small arms; and he has dithered over policy regarding Egypt in the wake of the Muslim Brotherhood's ouster, first calling for a "review" on whether to continue military aid, then justifying continuation of that aid by describing the (latest) coup d'état as a popular revolution, and presently holding up that aid, specifically, the delivery to Egypt of four F-16's that we promised to that country while Morsi and his ilk were still in power.
It seems obvious to me that, when President Obombast speaks of the election of radical Islamists as a "transitional phase" between secular despotism and secular "democracy", he's not elucidating a doctrine but merely pretending that the developments of the disastrous "Arab Spring" are proceeding just as he had planned.  Foreign-policy doctrines are only for presidents who sincerely try to serve in their country's best interests.