Daniel W. Drezner

Open Afghanistan/West Point speech thread

Comment away on Obama’s Afghanistan speech here.  My quick hits: Well, everyone who’s been waiting for Obama to do something unpopular to demonstrate his leadership skills should shut up for a while; My favorite bit was the Eisenhower quote: "As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our ...

Comment away on Obama’s Afghanistan speech here.  My quick hits:

  • Well, everyone who’s been waiting for Obama to do something unpopular to demonstrate his leadership skills should shut up for a while;
  • My favorite bit was the Eisenhower quote: "As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests.  And I must weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces.  I don’t have the luxury of committing to just one.  Indeed, I’m mindful of the words of President Eisenhower, who — in discussing our national security — said, ‘Each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration:  the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.’"
  • To that end, my reaction to the proposed policy is very similar to my reaction to Bill Belichick’s much-discussed fourth down play a few years back.  At the end of that post, I wrote:

[I]t’s possible to defend Belichick’s call on fourth down as the rational, utility-maximizing decision, but conclude that he committed a series of small blunders that got the Patriots to the point where they had to convert a high-risk, high-reward play.  In other words, sometimes the criticized decision might be the right one to make, but the decisions that structured the controversial choice might not have been. 

… Looking at the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which move echoes Belichick’s play-calling?

I think I have my answer now. 

This is a 51-49 decision, and I’m far from confident that he’s doing the right thing.  If that Eisenhower quote is any indication, however, I’m pretty sure that the decision-making process was solid. 

Developing….

Comment away on Obama’s Afghanistan speech here.  My quick hits:

  • Well, everyone who’s been waiting for Obama to do something unpopular to demonstrate his leadership skills should shut up for a while;
  • My favorite bit was the Eisenhower quote: "As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests.  And I must weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces.  I don’t have the luxury of committing to just one.  Indeed, I’m mindful of the words of President Eisenhower, who — in discussing our national security — said, ‘Each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration:  the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.’"
  • To that end, my reaction to the proposed policy is very similar to my reaction to Bill Belichick’s much-discussed fourth down play a few years back.  At the end of that post, I wrote:

[I]t’s possible to defend Belichick’s call on fourth down as the rational, utility-maximizing decision, but conclude that he committed a series of small blunders that got the Patriots to the point where they had to convert a high-risk, high-reward play.  In other words, sometimes the criticized decision might be the right one to make, but the decisions that structured the controversial choice might not have been. 

… Looking at the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which move echoes Belichick’s play-calling?

I think I have my answer now. 

This is a 51-49 decision, and I’m far from confident that he’s doing the right thing.  If that Eisenhower quote is any indication, however, I’m pretty sure that the decision-making process was solid. 

Developing….

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner