As Hillary Clinton said just the other day, “don’t do stupid stuff” is not an organizing principle of great nations. She was taking a jab at President Obama having made, excuse the expression, a dog’s breakfast out of American foreign policy. Last May, in a moment of candor, he did describe his foreign policy as just that. Not a dog’s breakfast, but don’t do stupid stuff.
One critic has since claimed that the problem with the statement was simply that it was made in the negative. As if it would have been better to say, “do stupid stuff”. Or maybe the critic meant, “do smart stuff”.
Those quasi-bromides don’t seem to be organizing principles, either. But, at this point, it doesn’t really matter because all Obama can seem to do is stupid stuff. We’ve been treated to plenty of examples of it on the international stage in just the last couple of years. The vanishing red line in Syria, the failure to come to the aid of the Syrian resistance, the failure to deal with IS/ISIS/ISIL before it emerged from Syria. How can we forget the Ukraine debacle and other embarrassing encounters with Vladimir Putin? We can’t because they just keep coming.
Just last week we learned that the Pentagon had been shipping munitions supplies to Israel without White House or State Department knowledge. The shipments happened at the same time that Obama was trying to limit Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip. The Pentagon simply took advantage of some of the bureaucratic confusion that hangs like a heavy fog over our Nation’s Capital. This support-on-the-sly made the Administration look, well, stupid.
Last weekend, as Iraq was rapidly nearing the conflagration point, President Obama denied that he had anything to do with the U.S. troop withdrawal. Instead, he said, the withdrawal was the doing of George W. Bush and the Iraqi government. In a nutshell, Bush turned Iraq over to the Iraqis who then refused to knuckle under to Obama’s conditions for keeping our troops in country.
This little fib has been ripped in opinion pieces all across the Internet. Obama is on video and in print on multiple occasions taking credit for the troop withdrawal. So, why deny it at this point? Because it’s the stupid thing to do.
Later last week, the President took a time-out from his vacation for a little drumroll and fanfare announcement. He stated that airstrikes had ended the ISIL siege of the religious minorities stranded on the mountaintop.
In reality, most of the refugees simply walked off the mountaintop sans any airstrike aid. Oh, and the siege apparently wasn’t as fierce, or the number of stranded refugees nearly as great, as advertised. The latter dropped from the originally estimated 40,000 to about 3,000.
Obama may ultimately claim to have been fooled by the Defense Department into acting, although he’s a great actor all by himself. But, it’s more likely that he decided to take the PR heat off his persistent inaction with a twofer – a seemingly grand humanitarian gesture using American military might.
That circumstances will, at some point, be revealed for what for they actually were has never been a consideration for this President. Doing now and denying later is one of the hallmarks of his time in the White House. Today, we are supporting Kurds with airstrikes to help them retake the Mosul Dam from ISIL. If, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out, we can expect Obama to say it was done either without his knowledge or full understanding.
As Forrest Gump once famously said, stupid is as stupid does. Regardless of how intelligent the President may be, if he does stupid stuff, he’s stupid. And that also solves the mystery of what in the world is the Obama foreign policy. It’s just stupid.