Is No Foreign Policy Really Better Than a Supposedly “Bad” Policy? Deciding Not to Decide Carries With It Its Own Pitfalls and Complications
By Ken K. Gourdin
A Washington Post editorial reprinted in The Salt Lake Tribune criticizes U.S. support for Saudi Arabian intervention in Yemen’s civil war. For the editorial (last accessed January 18, 2017), see here: http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4788909-155/washington-post-editorial-a-bloody-alliance.
However anyone might feel about the various foreign policies of previous administrations, and however worthy of criticism those policies (implemented by both Republican and Democrat administrations) may be, at least those administrations had enough courage to formulate discernible policies. To call President Barack Obama’s foreign policy “muddled” is to concede that he actually has one, a fact I pointed out in response to the editorial. I wrote:
These people (read, “The Obama Administration”) were the “smart” ones, the enlightened ones who weren’t going to get the United States into such situations as this. I simply wish President Obama had something approaching a foreign policy that I could criticize him and his administration for: His stance appears to be, “When it comes to foreign policy, I’ll decide to not decide: If I actually decide something, if I attempt to develop and articulate an actual policy, people are going to criticize me, and I don’t want that. If someone asks, I’ll simply blame the previous administration, say, essentially, that doing something ‘bad’ ‘is not who we are,’ and mumble something about a red line.”
Even if I disagree with him, I could at least respect the courage of President Obama’s convictions—if only I knew what those convictions are.