Wall Street Journal’s columnist Bret Stephens on March 14, 2016, took a closer look at Barack Obama and his failed policies. Barack Obama—do you remember him?—will remain in office for another 311 days. But not really. The president has left the presidency. The commander in chief is on sabbatical. He spends his time hanging out at a festival in Austin. And with the cast of “Hamilton,” the musical. And with Justin, the tween sensation from Canada. Excerpts below:
I was a bit late in reading Mr. Goldberg’s long article, “The Obama Doctrine,” which appeared last week…
…it’s a deep dive into a shallow mind. Mr. Obama’s recipe for Sunni-Shiite harmony in the Middle East? The two sides, says Mr. Obama, “need to find an effective way to share the neighborhood,”…
The recipe for better global governance? “If only everyone could be like the Scandinavians, this would all be easy,” he says, sounding like—Barack Obama.
Then there’s Mr. Obama the political theorist. “Real power means you can get what you want without having to exert violence,” the president says in connection to Vladimir Putin’s gambles in Ukraine and Syria.
As for current threats, Mr. Goldberg asks Mr. Obama what he would do if Mr. Putin made a move against Moldova, “another vulnerable post-Soviet state.” Mr. Obama’s answer—“if it’s really important to somebody, and it’s not that important to us, they know that, and we know that”—is of the April Glaspie school of diplomacy. So long, Moldova.
U.S. allies fare less well under Mr. Obama… Nicolas Sarkozy,the former and possibly future president of France, is dismissed by Mr. Obama as a posturing braggart. Regarding the president’s commitment to Israel’s security, Mr. Goldberg reports, citing Mr. Panetta, that the president “has questioned why the U.S. should maintain Israel’s so-called qualitative military edge, which grants it access to more sophisticated weapons systems than America’s Arab allies.”
As for those allies, Mr. Obama treats the Saudis with such naked contempt that it prompted former intelligence minister Turki al-Faisal to denounce the president in anop-ed: “Could it be,” the prince asked, “that you are petulant about the Kingdom’s efforts to support the Egyptian people when they rose against the Muslim Brothers’ government and you supported it?”
Summing up the president’s worldview, Mr. Goldberg describes him as a “Hobbesian optimist”—which philosophically must be the equivalent of a Jew for Jesus. But Mr. Obama has shown that he lacks Hobbes’s understanding that Leviathan must fill the vacuums that will otherwise be filled by an ISIS or a Putin, or an optimist’s belief that American power can shape the world for the better.
Comment: Mr. Stephens is only one of many brilliant journalists and academics who are now taking a look at the seven and a half years of Obama disaster foreign policy. He will be leaving after having spent those years giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the West and distancing the United States from its friends around the world.