The weekend ended with the first tangible sign of a nuclear deal with Iran, after more than three decades of hostility. Then on Monday came the announcement that a conference will convene in January to try to broker an end to the civil war in Syria.
The success of either negotiation, both long sought by President Obama, is hardly assured — in fact the odds may be against them. But the two nearly simultaneous developments were vivid statements that diplomacy, the venerable but often-unsatisfying art of compromise, has once again become the centerpiece of American foreign policy.
At one level, the flurry of diplomatic activity reflects the definitive end of the post-Sept. 11 world, dominated by two major wars and a battle against Islamic terrorism that drew the United States into Afghanistan and still keeps its Predator drones flying over Pakistan and Yemen.
But it also reflects a broader scaling-back of the use of American muscle, not least in the Middle East, as well as a willingness to deal with foreign governments as they are rather than to push for new leaders that better embody American values. “Regime change,” in Iran or even Syria, is out; cutting deals with former adversaries is in.
For Mr. Obama, the shift to diplomacy fulfills a campaign pledge from 2008 that he would stretch out a hand to America’s enemies and speak to any foreign leader without preconditions. But it will also subject him to considerable political risks, as the protests about the Iran deal from Capitol Hill and allies in the Middle East attest.
“We’re testing diplomacy; we’re not resorting immediately to military conflict,” Mr. Obama said, defending the Iran deal on Monday in San Francisco. “Tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically,” he said earlier that day, “but it’s not the right thing for our security.”
Still, diplomacy is a protracted, messy business with often inconclusive results. It is harder for a president to rally the American public behind a multilateral negotiation than a missile strike, though the deep war weariness of Americans has reinforced Mr. Obama’s instinct for negotiated settlements over unilateral action.
What a GIRLY-MAN!
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Mr. Obama listed his priorities in the Middle East as Iran, Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Promoting democratic principles, while still important, was no longer an overriding interest.
That more pragmatic approach was on display this month when Mr. Kerry visited Egypt, where the military-backed government is prosecuting its ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, and cracking down on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Mr. Kerry emphasized continuity with Egypt’s generals and said little about their brutal tactics.
For Mr. Obama, all of this may matter less than resolving the nuclear threat from Iran, an achievement that would allow him to reduce America’s preoccupation with the Middle East and turn to another of his foreign-policy priorities, Asia.
“This was a president who was elected on the promise to wind down two wars responsibly,” said Bruce O. Riedel, a former administration official who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “He can now also say he has avoided a third war.”
Yes it’s all about avoidance, isn’t it. And Brit (“I love my dead gay son”) Hume knows precisely what President Obama is avoiding.
Rather reserved compared to Lloyd Green on Tina Brown’s crappy newssite
The Obamacare debacle and his plummeting approval rating are a sign that Americans are done hoping for change from this administration.
No it means that corporate whore like you get a free lunch and plenty of bling for your efforts.
America’s health-care morass is now entwined with the president’s credibility crisis, and neither shows any signs of abating.
Documents released last week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee once again demonstrate the administration knew that the Obamacare signup system was a disaster in the making but still had the audacity to roll it out. Two late September emails from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tell the story.
A September 26 email stated, “the results are not good and not consistent at all.” A September 27 email likewise depicted pending failure: “The scripts are failing so far due to issues like load balancing, inefficient and defective code, and inefficient queries. We have not been successful in moving beyond 500 concurrent users filling applications without income verification.”
The world has no more ended than the Affordable Care Act has failed. Website problems aside t’s a striking success. But there’s no stopping Lloyd when he’s on a roll.
As Bob Schieffer put it on Sunday, “every day there just seems to be some new mind boggling development about the problems with Obamacare . . . There’s now evidence that people in the White House, including the President, were briefed months before the program started that there were some flaws here.”
Yet only earlier this month, Obama told Americans, “We would not have rolled out something knowing very well that it wasn’t going to work the way it was supposed to, given all the scrutiny that we knew was going to be on the website.” Really?
WE WERE WARNED! WHY DID WE IGNORE THEM?
From the start, Obamacare was premised upon a wealth transfer from the Republican base to America’s poor and minority communities, much as the Obamans have tried to hide this fact. As Thomas Edsall of Columbia’s School of Journalism explained, “the Affordable Care Act can be construed as a transfer of benefits from Medicare, which serves an overwhelmingly white population of the elderly—77 percent of recipients are white—to Obamacare, which will serve a population that is 54.7 percent minority.” Over a decade, the ACA stands to slash $455 billion from Medicare budget to help pay for Obamacare.
REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH!!!!! MARXISM AT ITS MOST PURE!
The Economist summed it up like this: “a man with little interest in details and a disdain for business, Obama tried to impose a gigantic change on the whole country all at once and far too casually.” Obama’s cool and Obamacare’s failure may have seriously damaging consequences for the Democrats.
Upscale America will likely go Republican in 2014, just as it did in 2010 and 2012. Yes, wealthier Americans voted Democratic in 2008, but that was a protest against Bush and his war.
Still, all this might be manageable for Team Obama, except for one thing—middle America now has a real bone to pick with the President. Nationwide, Obama’s approval is lowest in the Midwest (36 percent). Even the South likes him better. And unlike the South, the Midwest went for Obama, not Romney.
Apparently, nobody likes being left for road kill, treated like the canary in the coal mine, stripped of their health insurance, or losing their doctor. Especially when the president promised them otherwise, and especially when it’s about America changing its values system.
America The Roadkill
But don’t worry Mr. President. For as Peter Mintun of The Cockettes sings –