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Glenn Reynolds: Maybe It's Time To Return To Having A "Well-Regulated Militia" | Main | More Carriers For The US Navy? Not Anytime Soon.
March 11, 2014

Ron Fournier: President Obama "Blinded by [Self-] Righteousness" on Foreign Policy

It's not the flaws we know of that are usually our undoing. It's the flaws we hide from ourselves and call virtues.

Days before Vladimir Putin's troops invaded Ukraine, National Security Adviser Susan Rice dismissed suggestions that Russia was about to pounce. "It's in nobody's interest," she said. Days later, President Obama declared the invasion to be illegal. "In 2014," he said, "we are well beyond the days when borders can be drawn over the heads of democratic leaders."

Two things strike me about those quotes. First, they were right. From the viewpoint of the United States and its allies, invading Crimea made no sense, legally or strategically. Second, it didn't matter: Putin plays by his own set of rules, and it's dangerously naive not to realize that.

I have no idea what Fournier is talking about here, as far as invading Crimean making "no sense." It is a standard goal of nations to hold militarily-advantageous ground, and a warm weather port is a classic example of such.

I certainly don't wish to say Putin was justified to invade a country in order to play his Empire Games. But anyone who says that standard imperial behavior "makes no sense" ought to read a history book.

Any history book. Any single one of them will do.*

Fournier is here attempting the old game of mixing criticism with Obama with an embarrassing level of sycophancy towards him.

Ukraine is illustrative of a flaw in Obama's worldview that consistently undermines his agenda, both foreign and domestic. He thinks being right is good enough. From fights with Congress over the federal budget and his nominations, to gun control, immigration reform, health care, and Syria, the president displays tunnel-vision conviction, an almost blinding righteousness. I'm right. They're wrong. Why isn't that enough?

With such certitude, Obama finds it hard to see why anybody would oppose him, which makes it almost impossible to earn new allies. He's also slow to realize when some fault lies with him. The result is Obama's legacy of "Right, but " moments.

He then goes on to list Obama's strategic errors, both domestic and foreign, in which, per Fournier's thesis, Obama has acted as if merely Thinking The Right Thing was enough.

Spoiler alert: Fournier basically agrees that everything Obama thinks is in fact Thinking the Right Thing.

Interestingly -- or perhaps inevitably -- Fournier maybe exposes more of the left's worldview than he intends with this criticism. Perhaps the left should not be credited (as they credit themselves) for merely Thinking the Right Thing.

Perhaps they should be required, as humans have throughout history, to also act the right way, and achieve positive results.

Perhaps the cult of "Thinking the Right Thing" -- with no particular urgency on the left regarding, for example, undertaking charitable efforts to help the poor -- is a petty vanity that excuses failure to match words with deeds and justifies bad results.

Or: Nah. I'm sure "Thinking the Right Thing" is all that's really required.

Obama, meanwhile, is underwater in public polling on both the Ukraine and Russia, generally.

Meanwhile, in Crimea, the local parliament may vote to secede and then join the Russian Federation.

One odd little historical detail: There's an old, old treaty that says Crimea can't be part of Russia. Russia signed it with Turkey (well, the Ottoman Empire).

I'm sure this treaty "makes no sense." Empires never consider things which other empires may control major strategic ports.

* We talked about this on the last podcast with Matthew Continetti -- the press seems addicted to a narrative that excuses Obama on the Ukraine, by claiming, variously, "no one could have predicted this," "Putin is a madman and the new Hitler," "this makes no sense," and the like.

I hate to point this out to the media but the Dreaded Sarah Palin predicted it.

It's in fact not terribly hard to predict that dictators with expansionist appetites will take their meals where they can find them.

Funny Commenters:

40 Once again, I have failed Him.

Posted by: Reality

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posted by Ace at 03:03 PM

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