From the Good to the Petty

Bottom line up front: Stanley McChrystal gets 30,000 more U.S. troops--with the prospect of at least a few thousand more from allies--and a couple of campaign seasons to make a difference. That is a very good thing, and well worth suffering through the blame-it-on-Bush introduction, the subsequent nuclear-free-one-worldism and such. Conservatives who expect more from Barack Obama will forever be disappointed.

Nor should conservatives get overly excited about the 18-month timeline, at least yet. Beginning to reduce troops in the summer of 2011 is within the bounds of good strategic sense, assuming we make good use of the time until then. Nor is it really the case that Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar will take great succor from the timeline; they already think they'll outlast us. It will hurt them to lose what they see as the gains they've scored, not just this year but over the past three years, at great effort.

There were two other notably good bits. One, the war on Afghan President Hamid Karzai seems to be over. The rhetoric about his rule as being consistent with Afghan law is a good start to the needed rehabilitation process. Winning the war will be the best anti-corruption measure. Second, the president's concluding recognition of the U.S. role in the world sounded a lot like good old American exceptionalism. Welcome to the American tradition, Mr. President.

Finally, a bit of deliciously petty partisanship: lots of long faces at MSNBC. Olberman taking refuge in Cheney-bashing; Matthews grumpy at having his Bill-Moyers-vintage-Vietnam-LBJ analogies taken away; Rachel Maddow trying to take chirpy consolation in Obama's pragmatism; a progressive circular firing squad. A perverse but still real measure of success.

Thomas Donnelly is a resident fellow at AEI.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Thomas
Donnelly

What's new on AEI

In year four of Dodd-Frank, over-regulation is getting old
image Halbig v. Burwell: A stunning rebuke of a lawless and reckless administration
image Beware all the retirement 'crisis' reports
image Cut people or change how they're paid
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.