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It’s been hard to keep up with all the Obama Doctrines that have emerged over the past five years.
First, the Libyan war gave us the doctrine of “leading from behind.”
Then, in Syria, we saw the birth of a new Obama Doctrine: military action “just muscular enough not to get mocked” (though, Obama backed off of even those miniscule strikes, taking that one out of contention).
Then earlier this year, Obama claimed the guiding principle of his foreign policy was “Don’t do stupid shi*t.”
Now, in an interview with The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, Obama unveiled yet another Doctrine – one, he says, that guides both his domestic and foreign policies: “No victor/no vanquished.” Said Obama:
We have so many things going for us right now as a country — from new energy resources to innovation to a growing economy — but we will never realize our full potential unless our two parties adopt the same outlook that we’re asking of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds or Israelis and Palestinians: No victor, no vanquished and work together.
It’s hard to fathom just how inane – and hypocritical – this is. Domestically, Obama didn’t exactly follow the “no victor/no vanquished” approach when he controlled both houses of Congress and rammed the stimulus and Obamacare through on party-line votes. House Republican Whip Eric Cantor gave President Obama a list of modest proposals for the stimulus at a White House meeting, but Obama told the assembled Republicans that “elections have consequences” and “I won.” In other words, he was the “victor” and they were the “vanquished.” Deal with it.
Internationally, does he really believe that we should follow a doctrine of “no victor/no vanquished” when it comes to the fight with the Islamic State – a movement so radical it has been crucifying its opponents? Apparently so. For a year, he rejected repeated calls by the Iraqi government for drone strikes to prevent the advance of the Islamic State. Now that the Islamic State has taken control of large swaths of Iraq, Obama has launched limited strikes – only to protect US diplomatic facilities in northern Iraq (for fear of another Benghazi) and prevent the massacre of Yazidi minorities, but not to defeat the Islamic State or drive it from its strongholds.
So it seems our policy when it comes to the Islamic State is a hybrid of the Obama Doctrines: “no victor/no vanquished” and strikes “just muscular enough not to get mocked.”
That explains a lot.
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