Friday, February 20, 2009

Krauthammer 2/20/09

Lower Profile Diplomacy

My take on Charles Krauthammer's latest. His column was published in the Washington Post.

Summary: He lists the foreign policy reverses that various countries hit the US with since the new President took office. Every new President is tested but while Obama's tests have been small ones, he has not stood up to them well.

I would like to think the supine posture is attributable to a rookie leader otherwise preoccupied (i.e., domestically), leading a foreign policy team as yet unorganized if not disoriented.

My Views: I'm not sure I agree with K's conclusions. A chess game may start with a slow, passive plan. The player uses a passive layout because he wants to build up for the middle game. Obama may have calculated on sacrificing a few reverses early on in order to disipate ill will. Once he has revamped America's diplomatic position, he may want to get more aggressive later on.

There's also a good arguement that America ought to lower its profile for awhile. First, to regroup its economy and second, to encourage other friendly countries to take up some of the slack in foreign obligations.

Charles Krauthammer is a more establishment columnist. He came to punditry by way of psychiatry (at Massachusetts General Hospital) via the New Republic Magazine. He appears on TV where you never see his wheelchair. Here's his Wiki bio.

He wrote a book which is pictured at the right. I am drawn by the substance and the thinking than any particular writing flair.