By John Sykes
Conn Carroll at the Foundry in The Obama Doctrine opens with:
Aside from the wooden performance, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about President Barack Obama’s Oval Office address on Iraq last night. The President again evinced the impression that he viewed Iraq as a distraction, and he twice said he wanted to “turn the page” to other issues. As forgettable as the address was however, once placed into the broader context of foreign policy speeches and actions, a clear Obama Doctrine can now be defined, as James Carafano and Kim Holmes do in a new paper released today.
Emulating the foreign policies of the idealists Jimmy Carter and Woodrow, the 4 tenets of the Obama Doctrine, as expressed by Carafano and Holmes, would be:
- America will ratify more treaties and turn to international organizations more often to deal with global crises and security concerns like nuclear weapons, often before turning to our traditional friends and allies;
- America will emphasize diplomacy and “soft power” instruments such as summits and foreign aid to promote its aims and downplay military might;
- America will adopt a more humble attitude in state-to-state relations; and
- America will play a more restrained role on the international stage.
Carroll would set our sights on the wiser foreign policy visions of Monroe, Truman and Reagan:
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” It’s a vision that is consistent with the Monroe Doctrine ideal that America is committed to the principles on which republican self-government is based. It’s a vision that embodies the Truman Doctrine’s support for peoples threatened with Communist aggression. And it’s a vision that continues the Reagan Doctrine’s “peace through strength” strategy of revitalizing the U.S. military while promoting economic growth at home and increasing support for oppressed people around the world. What all these lines of thought have in common is that America is an indispensable nation in the defense of liberty around the world.
The Obama Doctrine reflects weakness, not strength, peace through appeasement, not leadership. All failed in the past and will do so in the future.
Monroe, Truman and Reagan offer conservative realism and wisdom with “peace through strength” from a “Shining city on a hill”.