“I have my concerns about President Obama’s foreign policy. But nothing eases them like listening to his Republican critics. There’s an onion-like quality to the arguments GOP politicians often deploy against Obama’s policies in the Middle East. Peel away the layers of grave-sounding but vacuous rhetoric, and you’re left with almost nothing intellectually nourishing at all.”
There really is something to the idea that Republicans have simply lost the plot of their own myth. We might, for instance, ask ourselves just when it became a complaint that a president preferred to understand a situation before sending people to start shooting and bombing and killing?
And it is true; we all have our concerns about something President Obama is doing or failing to do. But that is rather quite the way things are supposed to be. Another question we might pause to consider: When did perfection become our expectation?
Certainly the president should have done this, or not done that, but let us focus on a more substantive question: Just who actually has a functional strategy for addressing the would-be Islamic State?
And it is reasonable enough that the thumping war hawks should demand that the United States lead the way, and such, but, well, is it not also true that none of them have a damn clue what to do?
Reporters and Republicans still seem to find this outrageous. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said the president’s comments were “scary.” (When asked what he’d do differently, Christie said he didn’t want to talk about it.) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also pretended to be outraged over the weekend, saying of ISIS, “We ought to bomb them back to the stone age.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined the pile on, though for different reasons.
And a note to the junior Senator from Texas: Machismo is not a strategy.
But, seriously, just how is it a point of complaint that the United States is not rushing blindly toward war? We might complain that even on our best of days policies regarding war and peace are nothing more than searching with our good eye closed, but at the very least we have an assertion of a pretense of a search for something useful, and when the hell did we become so cynical that this needs to be part of the discourse?
Beinart, Peter. “The Unbearable Emptiness of a New York Times Op-Ed”. The Atlantic. 1 September 2014.
Benen, Steve. “A stunted debate on ISIS”. msnbc. 2 September 2014.