E.J. Dionne: …. Prudence went on vacation during the administration of the second President Bush, but it’s back as the hallmark of President Obama’s approach to foreign policy. And it was the underlying theme of Obama’s speech on Afghanistan last week.
You would think this would be popular. But it turns out that Obama finds himself almost alone in his effort to define a broad new middle ground in international affairs. It’s not that the center isn’t holding. It’s that most politicians don’t seem to want to go near it.
….Obama is trying to get out of Afghanistan, carefully. He’s trying to put “a difficult decade” of war behind us. If he is reelected, he would chart a new course freed from the two enormous military engagements that George W. Bush undertook.
…His withdrawal schedule from Afghanistan is too slow for the doves, too quick for the hawks. In the case of Libya, he’s too aggressive for those weary of American military intervention and not bold enough for those who think the United States has a moral obligation to bring down the Gaddafi dictatorship. The fact that almost all our troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year goes unheralded.
…Obama is not being excessively prudent to worry that a quicker withdrawal could disrupt our alliances, undo our achievements on the ground and weaken our efforts to leave a relatively stable situation behind when we do get out…….his effort to find a more stable middle ground in foreign policy deserves more support than it’s getting.
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