I realize the national conversation isn't supposed to be about the Commander-in-Chief's strategic decision-making, but I want to peer back deep into the mists of time to March 17, 2011 when I was idly browsing on the Internet only to discover that, with negligible public discussion, much less a Congressional declaration of war, President Obama had launched America into a war with a country that had been considered one of the success stories of recent American diplomacy. In puzzlement, I blogged:
In theory, this shouldn't be all that hard to blast Gadaffi's air force and tanks in open desert. There's a difference between a land war in Asia and a land war in North Africa. We already won one of those 68 years ago, against a better general than anybody working for Gadaffi.
But, then what happens? I don't know.
I still don't know.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming: Let's Talk About How Mitt Romney Is a Big Doo-Doo Head Instead.
Forty-five years ago, Romney’s dad, a leading GOP candidate for the 1968 Presidential nomination, came out against the Vietnam War. When asked why he had supported it after returning from a quick visit in 1965, he said he'd been "brainwashed" by the diplomats and generals. This proved the end of his White House hopes. His son drew the lesson that caution in the face of the Establishment was crucial.
The problem we face on foreign policy is the Establishment monoculture in Washington: in the run-up and follow-up to the Iraq War, many of the sensible people were purged and the loonies rewarded.
Obama is one of the few to benefit from being right: he gave one speech against the Iraq War and got the White House. Howard Dean gave a hundred speeches and got a life of leisure.
Today, the acceptable limits of foreign policy discourse in America are set by:
So, the only feasible foreign policy alternative to stake out is: "The President's foreign policy isn't quite crazed enough!"