Obama’s Kantian fantasy

by Taylor Dibbert Considering both domestic and foreign policy, is it […]

Image by © Dreamstime

Image by © Dreamstime

by Taylor Dibbert

Considering both domestic and foreign policy, is it actually possible to be worse than Barack Obama? In Cairo in 2009 he championed a different American foreign policy in the Middle East. If by ‘different’ he meant ‘disastrous’ then things seem to be going as planned

It ‘s time for people to face reality because this is absurd. Barack Obama, the Senator, justwasn’t ready for the presidency. How much more evidence do people need?

He harbored delusions of grandeur that were difficult to conceal and truly believed he could reshape American politics. He spoke of a post-partisan era, denigrated lobbyists, and said he would change the way things worked in Washington. And he did. Although it might be more accurate to say he changed how things don’t work in Washington.

Sure, Washington might have changed, but not in the way that Senator Obama spoke so eloquently about on the campaign trail in 2008. He envisioned himself as the second-coming of LBJ.

He wanted a new “Great Society” to tackle poverty and inequality. He was going to rebuild infrastructure and reform education. Okay, but isn’t it time for a reality check? If he really cared so much about addressing inequality and improving peoples’ lives why did he demonstrate so little interest in the implementation of his key domestic initiative, the Affordable Care Act?

Furthermore, the Obama administration is actually run by lobbyists; in 2013, one scholar found that there were 119 ex-lobbyists in his administration. This is unsurprising because Mr. Obama’s rhetoric won’t ever come close to matching reality.

Regarding foreign policy, Mr. Obama’s performance has been even more dismal. He’s still so obsessed with being the anti-Bush that he’s forgotten what it means to be the Commander-in-Chief.

At one time, he spoke of a nuclear-free world, but what was his point? In Cairo in 2009 he championed a different American foreign policy in the Middle East. If by ‘different’ he meant ‘disastrous’ then things seem to be going as planned. The Arab Spring came and went before Mr. Obama fully comprehended the import of events in the region.

Syria continues to burn as Washington looks more like a bystander than a world power intent on changing events on the ground. No need to elaborate when it comes to Iran; naiveté is fueling discussions with Tehran.

So let’s just look at this realistically.

Five years into his presidency, President Obama remains reluctant to acknowledge that he wields tremendous power when it comes to foreign affairs. As his time in office becomes increasingly ineffective, even astute operatives might be more interested in the jockeying for his presidential library.

Post-presidency, attempting to contain Mr. Obama’s failure to several government buildings in Chicago or New York seems unreasonable, but stranger things have happened.

In the meantime, Mr. Obama is making Vladimir Putin look absolutely brilliant. Mr. Obama – the Deliberator-in-Chief – yearns for a Kantian world of perpetual peace. He longs for a place where the acceptance of international institutions, multilateral cooperation and democratic norms are what matter most.

Unfortunately, some other world leaders seem to be more interested in the lessons gleaned from Machiavelli and Hobbes. That’s probably because we’re still stuck in a place where power matters. A place where red lines can’t be discarded. And a place where the international community still looks to Washington for global leadership.

The US has footed the bill for international security since the end of World War II. Mr. Obama seems to think that it’s time for someone else to do that. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be working out very well either.

And yet there’s so much more. He’s upset allies, notably Israel and several Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia. Senior policymakers in Tokyo and Seoul are wondering if Washington is truly committed to its strategic rebalancing to the Pacific.

In fact, based upon Mr. Obama’s policy of “gradual escalation” to deal with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, it’s highly questionable – perhaps even crazy – to think that Mr. Obama will ever be capable of matching Vladimir Putin’s resolve.

Sure, Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is a big problem, but it’s a problem that emanates from his hopelessly naïve view of world affairs. The bigger problem is the fact the Mr. Obama may actually believe that he’s doing an okay job.

To be fair, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney didn’t have much foreign policy experience either. But even then, would he have been any worse than Mr. Obama?

Is it actually possible to be worse than Mr. Obama?

Source: the Commentator


The views expressed on austriancenter.com are not necessarily those of the Austrian Economics Center.

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