Best Defense

Quote of the day: President Obama reflects on his use of military power

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on March 11, 2016.



Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on March 11, 2016.

There is a lot to chew on in this quotation from President Obama, from an interview he did with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg:

Where am I controversial? When it comes to the use of military power. That is the source of the controversy. There’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow. It’s a playbook that comes out of the foreign-policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses. Where America is directly threatened, the playbook works. But the playbook can also be a trap that can lead to bad decisions. In the midst of an international challenge like Syria, you get judged harshly if you don’t follow the playbook, even if there are good reasons why it does not apply.

Overall, the interview reinforced my view that Obama’s foreign policy is very much in the mold of Eisenhower. Of course, the difference is that when Ike was president, America stood victorious astride the globe. It does not now.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at Twitter: @tomricks1

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