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Obama’s Subtle and Maligned Foreign Policy

2015-12-22

Obama’s choice is the best of a bad selection: first the imperatives: America must not be seen to be unresponsive to the needs of people seeking freedom anywhere, particularly in Syria. America has global reach, having the largest military budget by far of any in the world. But we must not get overly involved, whatever that implies (1,000 or 10,000) with minimal casualties and minimal stress on a military budget relatively weak in manpower. Therefore: the least we can do, and the most we can do, is send a few Special Forces, characters who are itching to go anyway. And the objective: hold the territory already taken, not gain any new territory, and especially not a military victory. Finally, the time frame: no deadline, because deadlines cause the enemy to bide their time. All the more important that the operations be “sustainable”, that is renewable from year to year. So your “realpolitik”: no victory, but a dynamic stalemate or “Mexican standoff.”
Putin’s aggressive measures should be seen as based on a perceived need to hold the allegiance of his people in difficult times. Thus the impulse to fascism, which is acceptable to American foreign policy as long as it is not aggressive. Opposition must not be seen to be too effective .

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