President Barack Obama speaks at US Central Command (CentCom) at MacDill Air Force Base
President Barack Obama sits next to Commander of Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin III during in a briefing from top military leaders while at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida
"Osama bin Laden is no more. Because of you, the core al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan & Pakistan has been decimated" —Obama to our troops
President Barack Obama participates in a briefing from top military leaders while visiting U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. From L-R are: United States Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Obama, Commander of Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin III and U.S. Special Operations Commander Joseph Votel.
President Barack Obama greets members of the military upon his arrival at MacDill Air Force Base
"In three months, our combat mission will be over in Afghanistan & our war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end." —President Obama
This past week saw American corporate media at one of its criminally shameful worst. And there is gross competition for how low they can go. Brian Ross of ABC news led the pack in exploiting the grief of James Foley’s family to push utterly offensive nonsense that the White House was derelict in pursuing efforts to rescue James Foley from the grip of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL/IS). At the heart of this spurious attack is the media’s sensational headline that Foley’s mother claims that the Obama administration threatened them with prosecution if they paid ransom money to the militants to secure their son’s release.
Bam! That framing was all that was needed to shift focus away from the heinous actions of the militants, to the virulent and cynically profitable blame-Obama-for-any-and-all-horror-that-happens-in-the-world syndrome in our political zeitgeist. And like clockwork, the rest of the media, politicians, and many commentators were baited and hooked by this media scam, including, I’m sorry to say, the Foley family itself.
How the constant chorus of ‘do something’ Obama foreign policy critics gets it wrong
There is a fun foreign policy game making all the rounds in Washington D.C. this summer: Pin the tail on Barack Obama.
Its appeal is not hard to understand; it’s so easy to play.
Step 1: Pick a foreign crisis that touches even slightly on U.S. national security interests. This shouldn’t be hard, because the United States defines practically everything in the world as being an American interest.
Step 2: Make clear that this is no garden-variety problem but rather “the defining crisis of [OBAMA'S] presidency”……
….. Step 6: Publish your condemnation in a major newspaper or news outlet. Wait for a phone call from a booker with a Sunday morning talk show.
There are no points for understanding how international relations work, how U.S. power is actually utilized or how other countries interpret their own interests. There’s no space on the board for tracking the real-life impact of your recommendations.
Foreign policy stewardship would be easy if it were as simple as playing this game. If, as President Obama joked recently, America “control(led) everything around the world,” there wouldn’t be much to decide at all.