The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Strategic Patience

Barack Obama has been rightly criticized for not having a coherent strategy for addressing the aftermath of the many foreign policy challenges that face him. Not only have these criticisms come from his political opposition but from by his past Secretary of Defense, his past director of the CIA, and by a number of retired military flag officers who have served during his presidency. But now it looks like the administration has come up with a "strategy" and plans to roll it out later in the week. It's called "strategic patience."

In essence, it suggests that foreign policy failures in Egypt, in Iran, in Libya, in Yemen, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Ukraine, in North Korea, with ISIS, with al Qaeda, with al Nusra, with Boko Haram, and with the Taliban, to mention only those entries at the top of the list, are not failures at all—but victories. They are examples of "strategic patience"—a.k.a. deliberate inaction in order to avoid addressing a problem now in the delusional hope that: (1) the problem will resolve itself, (2) that the perpetrators of the problem will see the light and become progressives after long, heartfelt talks with John Kerry, or (3) that some other Muslim country or countries will step into the breach and try to address the problem, without prodding by the West.

Interestingly, the third option has actually occurred—Jordan has ratcheted up its military efforts against ISIS, but hardly because of "strategic patience." Jordan's King Abdullah exemplifies the fact that some national leaders get very focused when one of their own is barbarically murdered by radical Islamic thugs. I suppose that focus is anathema to those practicing "strategic patience."

I get the feeling that Obama and his Team of 2s expect that "strategic patience" will be lampooned for what it actually is—an excuse for lack of action, a lack of focus, and, to be frank, a lack of will. Therefore, the latest narrative voiced by Barack Obama and his supporters is that there's little for Americans to worry about. As an example, consider the recent words of Obama supporter and democratic strategist, Jennice Fuentes:
“You and I have more of a chance of dying of cancer, of a heart attack, of a traffic accident and even from gunfire than dying from an attack by ISIS. So I think what the president is saying is that he’s well-informed as to what is a real threat in this country to Americans.” 
Yeah ... this president would have us believe that the real threat is global warming.

9/11? Oh, that was just a bunch of crazy people who though they could fly planes without their owner's permission. The 3,000 odd civilians who were killed? Victims of a tragic workplace accident.

Iran? Just a bunch of "extremists" who want respect and nothing more. All this talk about annihilating Israel and killing Jews isn't anti-Semitic, any more that the recent attack of the Kosher Deli in Paris was. After all, Barack Obama himself has told us that that attack was “a bunch of folks” who were “randomly” shot “in a deli.” Hmmm.

But I digress.

Are the supporters of Barack Obama so self-absorbed (or so historically ignorant?) that the don't realize the sentence—“You and I have more of a chance of dying of cancer, of a heart attack, of a traffic accident and even from gunfire than dying from an attack by ..."—could have been uttered in 1938, as the Nazis began their murderous march through Europe. At that time, the Nazis posed little physical threat to Americans, in fact, not a single American had been killed by them. So their evil potential was largely ignored by American politicians and the media of the day.

Four years later, millions began to die, including hundreds of thousands of Americans. We practiced "strategic patience" in the 1930s. How did it work out for us?

I have to wonder when Hillary Clinton, Obama's past Secretary of State and active participant in many of his foreign policy debacles will comment on the wisdom of "strategic patience." Actually, it's amusing to observe Clinton, the presumptive Democrat presidential candidate for 2016. It's as if she's been placed in witness protection, hiding from media questions and unwilling to commit to viewpoints of her own (until, I suspect, her pollsters tell her what those views should be).

UPDATE (2/12/15):
Richard Fernandez considers Obama new "strategy" and comments:
“Strategic patience” only works when you are winning;  like waiting for an oak tree to grow.  There’s no point waiting for the oak tree if the squirrel has already eaten the acorn. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has confused “strategic patience” with the belief that losing for a long enough eventually turns you into a winner. That is like thinking that a pinhole leak in a gas tank will eventually fill it.

Why would anyone believe this? Conrad Black argues in the National Review that the biggest weakness of the media-political-academic elite is the acquired conviction that if you repeat a falsehood for long enough it eventually becomes the truth.  This ruse has worked so long it has become second nature. Like Brian Williams, they think you can just make things up.  But in so doing “they betrayed their viewers and listeners, and not with harmless piffle like Williams’s invented derring-do” but with fatal falsehoods.  And they are betraying them still.  What the elites may soon discover is that they are betraying themselves also, and boy will they be surprised.
Here's the thing—the "squirrel has already eaten the acorn," but it really doesn't matter. Obama has demonstrated that he believes in fantasy, that "if [he] repeat[s] a falsehood for long enough it eventually becomes the truth. It certainly does for his trained hamsters in the media, who never, ever question the veracity of his outrageous claims, and who, I suspect, will swoon over the subtle nuance of strategic patience.

It has gotten so bad that this president's spokespeople (e.g., Jen Pesaki at the State Department) now make one inaccurate or obtuse statement in the morning, trying to cover for some Obama gaff. After a firestorm created by the inaccurancy or obtuseness of the statement, they then provide an opposite tweet in the evening, and preface the opposite with the phrase "As we have stated all along ..." Except they haven't. Liars all the way down.