April 29, 2014

Explaining the ‘Obama Doctrine’

He says it’s not “sexy” but it “avoids errors.” Not so much.

Barack Obama appeared to take offense Monday to a question regarding his administration’s foreign policy put forth during a press conference in Manila. Obama is wrapping up a trip through Asia, which some see as an attempt to reassert America’s clout overseas while allies and enemies alike wonder if the U.S. still has the muscle to drive international relations anymore. The president was asked to explain the “Obama Doctrine,” but since he can’t – because there really isn’t one – he gave a flip response that he didn’t have time to get into it.

“[I]f you look at the results of what we’ve done over the last five years,” he said, “it is fair to say that our alliances are stronger, our partnerships are stronger, and in the Asia Pacific region, just to take one example, we are much better positioned to work with the peoples here on a whole range of issues of mutual interest. And that may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention, and it doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows. But it avoids errors.” An awful lot can be said about Obama’s foreign policy, but “avoids errors” isn’t one of them. And feel free to name an alliance that’s stronger. We can’t think of one.

It may not be entirely fair to say that there is no Obama Doctrine. The Obama Doctrine, as best as can be understood, is really just a series of unrelated and uncoordinated decisions meant to have maximum political benefit at home, while having minimal impact overseas. The Obama Doctrine doesn’t seek to maintain international peace and stability so much as domestic poll ratings, driven by the misguided belief that America is universally reviled for its strength and therefore would be more popular if it were less a force in the world.

While Obama didn’t “have time” to get into his own mistakes – Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, etc., etc. – he was not at a loss for words about his critics. “Do people actually think that, somehow, us sending some additional arms to Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army? Or are we more likely to deter them by applying the sort of international pressure, diplomatic pressure and economic pressure that we’re applying?”

Four rounds of sanctions have so far only pinpointed a small segment of the Russian leadership, and therefore have been virtually useless. Separatists in Ukraine are as bold as ever, and likely being driven by Russian special forces. Real economic pressure would come in the form of broad-based sanctions that would hit Russians in their wallets, spurring a possible recession that Russia may be facing this year anyway. Once the Russian people realize that Vladimir Putin’s military adventures might land them in the poor(er) house, they may be less likely to support his path to a new empire.

The international pressure that Obama speaks of needs U.S. leadership. The Europeans are fractured on the issue. Eastern Europe is too close to Russia and has been burned once too often by Obama’s feckless foreign policy to take a bold stand. Many politicians and industrialists in high places in Eastern Europe, Germany, France and elsewhere are on the dole of Russia’s various energy conglomerates. And the continent as a whole is too fearful of standing up for human rights, for fear of angering a belligerent enemy.

The Cold War taught us that the only way to stand up to dictators is to show resolve and strength. Obama has demonstrated neither. And now Russia is making energy deals with Iran, and pushing against the Ukrainian border, and soon Putin will be looking elsewhere to expand. America doesn’t need a “doctrine” so much as consistent leadership.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service, are proud sponsors of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Folds of Honor, Honoring the Sacrifice, Warrior Freedom Service Dogs, Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, the Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.