CNN wonders: Is Obama foreign policy “inarticulate or disengaged”?

posted at 4:01 pm on August 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Our long brief national nightmare is over, I suppose, now that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama plan on “hugging it out” over the recent contretemps over the Obama administration’s foreign policy. How much of that short-lived rift was reality?  “I don’t think anyone doubted,” Molly Ball says in this CNN segment with John King earlier today, “that they had authentic, honest disagreements on many aspects of foreign policy.”

Well, perhaps; there were rumors of that during Obama’s first term, so Ball’s correct that those differences had been presumed in the past. But if that was the case, why did her latest book Hard Choices not reveal them? As President Obama himself might say, the sudden appearance of those differences at the same time that Obama’s approval ratings are cratering might mean they’re, um, horse manure:

One explanation: Hard Choices was likely written for the most part before Obama began cratering in the polls, or at least when that may have seemed temporary. If the book had come out during an Obama rebound, the inclusion of harsh criticisms (or any at all) would have unnecessarily made her vulnerable rather than riding on Obama’s residual approval to the nomination. Claiming to have differences now, while Obama’s approval numbers sink to record lows, makes her memoir look even more calculated, disloyal, and dishonest.

CNN also asks a rather intriguing question in framing this rapprochement on foreign policy. Is the Obama Doctrine inarticulate or disengaged? To which many might answer — both:

It sounds like advice offered by parents to teenagers on prom night: Don’t do stupid stuff. But it also is an important guiding foreign policy principle of the President of the United States.

Ever since the President uttered the phrase during an off-the-record discussion with reporters earlier this year — the actual words were a bit saltier and later confirmed privately by administration officials — foreign policy critics have seized on “DDSS” as a crystallization of the Obama Doctrine.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is only the latest critic of the “DDSS” comment, describing the remark in an interview with The Atlantic magazine as too simplistic. …

The apparent struggle to neatly encapsulate the President’s strategy is not lost on his critics.

“I do think the administration is showing some signs of a little bit of fatigue,” Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon said in a recent interview with CNN.

“It’s time for a little more ambition frankly because the world senses that this President is too disengaged,” O’Hanlon added.

The Obama foreign policy is both inarticulate and disengaged. Disengagement is explicitly part of the approach, which became very clear in Iraq in the rise of ISIS, but also in Syria and Ukraine. In all three hot spots, the Obama administration had to get dragged into responses, although in Ukraine and now against ISIS Obama has ended up ahead of the curve in relation to America’s Western allies. Obama tosses out red lines without preparing for the consequences when they get violated, and shrugs off threats like ISIS with sophomoric sports analogies. His policy is to react only when forced by circumstances to do so.

Again, this doesn’t seem very different from what Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy approach has been. She ran Obama’s foreign policy apparatus for most of his presidency, so that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The anodyne recitation of those years Hard Choices makes it very difficult for Hillary to suddenly change course and claim a different doctrine for herself, especially without articulating it other than to say it exceeds the “don’t do stupid stuff” of the White House.

And when Hillary hit the retreat button after getting a rebuke from David Axelrod, she lost what little credibility and authenticity she had, Ron Fournier argued in an update to a column praising her independence:

Maybe I jumped the gun. After weathering some pushback from the White House, including a snarky tweet by Obama consultant David Axelrod, Clinton released this statement through a spokesman:

“Earlier today, the Secretary called President Obama to make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies or his leadership. Secretary Clinton has at every step of the way touted the significant achievements of his presidency, which she is honored to have been part of as his secretary of state. While they’ve had honest differences on some issues, including aspects of the wicked challenge Syria presents, she has explained those differences in her book and at many points since then. Some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues. Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night.”

There are several problems with this statement. First, it’s inaccurate. She certainly did criticize his policies, if not his leadership, most directly with the “stupid stuff” formulation. Second, it’s borderline demeaning, like a subordinate trying to get back in the boss’s good graces. Clinton is an accomplished person who has challenged glass ceilings. She shouldn’t have to come even close to apologizing for her opinions. Third, her interview wasn’t “hyped,” it was covered fairly, and now she’s trying to blame the messenger. Finally, it’s too cute by half, too Clintonian. It doesn’t seem, well, authentic. She’s trying to distinguish her policies from Obama’s without upsetting all the president’s men. She can’t have it all.

All she’s doing is proving that her doctrine is as inarticulate and disengaged as Obama’s — and even less authentic.


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“hugging it out”

That’s some ‘presidential’ stuff, right there.

*facepalm*

Midas on August 13, 2014 at 4:02 PM

How about Inarticulate AND disengaged.

gerrym51 on August 13, 2014 at 4:03 PM

What foreign policy?

There isn’t one that you can actually parse.

ajacksonian on August 13, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Ogabe is lazy and malicious.

He ate a dog.

viking01 on August 13, 2014 at 4:03 PM

“Inarticulate”?

Holy dog whistle

forest on August 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM

I’d say BOTH

deadrody on August 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM

CNN also asks a rather intriguing question in framing this rapprochement on foreign policy. Is the Obama Doctrine inarticulate or disengaged?

Yes. Not to mention incompetent and designed explicitly to withdraw America from the world stage. Which creates a vacuum, and nature and nations abhor a vacuum.

rbj on August 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Is it poop or crap?

Akzed on August 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM

They are “stuck on stupid” as a great General once said.

Sven on August 13, 2014 at 4:06 PM

In all three hot spots, the Obama administration had to get dragged into responses, although in Ukraine and now against ISIS Obama has ended up ahead of the curve in relation to America’s Western allies.

What the ? You say that like its something new. If the US wasn’t leading on , then nothing was happening. When was the last time someone OTHER than the US led the world in dealing with any international crisis ?

Please.

deadrody on August 13, 2014 at 4:08 PM

What “foreign policy”?

Newtie and the Beauty on August 13, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Clinton is an accomplished person who has challenged glass ceilings.

Trying to find the silliest nonsensical thought in those quotes, I decided on this one.

Fenris on August 13, 2014 at 4:09 PM

It’s stupid and sh*t.

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Hugging it out?

It’s a good thing she carries around a “reset” button.

HotAirian on August 13, 2014 at 4:10 PM

They are “stuck on stupid” as a great General once said.

Sven on August 13, 2014 at 4:06 PM

General Honore tasked with cleaning up the Katrina mess and dealing with drama queens like Shemp Smith.

viking01 on August 13, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Bill really HATES him. Hate hate. That’s all you need to know.

djl130 on August 13, 2014 at 4:11 PM

The irony in “don’t do stupid stuff” is that everything he does comes off looking stupid anyway.

Bitter Clinger on August 13, 2014 at 4:15 PM

“Doing Stupid Sh*t” is Obama’s Foreign Policy.

/ UrkelDouche = Obama.

Key West Reader on August 13, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!

Ned Pepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Amb. Stevens: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!

Ned Pepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

The loss of lives and a cover up story to hide the administration’s poor policies and decision making seems to be completely lost on you. Crawl back under your rock. Moron.

Deano1952 on August 13, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Amb. Stevens: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:18 PM

I think they know this already. And they will not forget.

Shame on Obama.

Key West Reader on August 13, 2014 at 4:21 PM

C. Nonexistent

CW on August 13, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Dumb and Dumber…they both suck…

PatriotRider on August 13, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Benghazhi!!

Ned Pepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Do you fancy yourself a complex thinker?

Pssst , not close. Not even in your barely wet dreams. You’re a troll…think about that.You’re a troll.

CW on August 13, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Ukranians: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:24 PM

“Inarticulate?” “Disengaged??”

How about Incomprehensible? Indefensible?? Disingenuous???

RedPepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Dead Veterans waiting on ObamaCare/VA: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Is the Obama Doctrine inarticulate or disengaged?

Obama has a doctrine?

Sorry, but anyone who can actually utter a phrase such as “don’t do stupid [stuff]” and pass that off as a legitimate, philosophical projection of ideas and standards doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

Aizen on August 13, 2014 at 4:25 PM

CNN Wonders: Is a frog’s butt water-tight?

petefrt on August 13, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Benghazhi!!

Ned Pepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Does it hurt being a living breathing a@@hole?

/Just curious

Key West Reader on August 13, 2014 at 4:25 PM

500 Yazidis killed this month: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

300 kidnapped and enslaved Yazidi women: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Dead Veterans waiting on ObamaCare/VA: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Please don’t get me started.

Key West Reader on August 13, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Benghazhi!!

Ned Pepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Making fun of our people getting killed. Typical.

Ebola on August 13, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Their hug will only be awkward if their balls touch.

myiq2xu on August 13, 2014 at 4:29 PM

150,000 dead Syrian rebels: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:29 PM

balls touch.

myiq2xu on August 13, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Yuck. But funny.

CW on August 13, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!

Ned Pepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Who, besides yourself mentioned Benghazi?

Useless little troll. Your Momma just called you upstairs, your Mac & Cheese is ready.

D-fusit on August 13, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Their hug will only be awkward if their balls touch.

myiq2xu on August 13, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Obama doesn’t have any.

Hillary, well, I really don’t know about that.

Bitter Clinger on August 13, 2014 at 4:32 PM

CNN also asks a rather intriguing question in framing this rapprochement on foreign policy. Is the Obama Doctrine inarticulate or disengaged?
===========================

Its NeverEnding, constantly evolving
and Perpetually Morphing,..as Hopey
see’s fit!!!

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 4:32 PM

balls touch.

myiq2xu on August 13, 2014 at 4:29 PM
Yuck. But funny.

CW on August 13, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Gotta have’m first and one of them is very questionable.

Sven on August 13, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Special Forces:

Iraq crisis
3m

US Special Forces have landed on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar to assess potential mission to rescue Yazidi refugees – @NBCNews
End of alert

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 4:33 PM

both doors monty

cmsinaz on August 13, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Is Obama foreign policy “inarticulate or disengaged”?

YES!!

Next question…

landlines on August 13, 2014 at 4:34 PM

US Special Forces have landed on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar to assess potential mission to rescue Yazidi refugees – @NBCNews

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Are they building a putting green?

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Unbelievable. Any President other than Obama would have said ‘to get those people the hell off that mountain’

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:37 PM

“I don’t think anyone doubted,” Molly Ball says in this CNN segment with John King earlier today, “that they had authentic, honest disagreements on many aspects of foreign policy.”

Just another lie. This entire dustup was staged to allow Hillary to appear separated from O on policy, and for O to look semi-tough by calling it horsesh*t. Naturally their media prostitutes fully cooperated in the charade.

Blacksheep on August 13, 2014 at 4:38 PM

I was going to say non-existent.

Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!

Ned Pepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Obviously, the subject frightens you.

I wonder why.

formwiz on August 13, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Screw Iraq.
Tired of hearing about that hell hole since 2003.
Keep golfing Mr. President.
Hater gonna hate.

Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Thank you, President Obama!

Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Actually Obama’s azz is a pretty safe place to be.

Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Nothing to see here..

Only fearmongering and scaring the populace

Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 4:39 PM

both doors monty

cmsinaz on August 13, 2014 at 4:34 PM

cmsinaz: Lol,————-:)

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Tries to triangulate out of her comments, like slick willy.

jake49 on August 13, 2014 at 4:40 PM

“I don’t think anyone doubted,” Molly Ball says in this CNN segment with John King earlier today, “that they had authentic, honest disagreements on many aspects of foreign policy.”

The same could be said of Churchill and Hitler.

formwiz on August 13, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Ned picked the name of a murdering, kidnapping, rapist, thief who tried to kill John Wayne in True Grit.

In addition, Ned is a plagiarizer with zero shame. He has zero credibility.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 4:40 PM

ISIS will make Benghazi look like peanuts vs. coconuts.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Are they building a putting green?

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:36 PM

faraway:

Interesting,..I would think, that a Golf Country Club
would be built first, um yes, they are probably doing a
survey!!:)
(sarc)

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 4:43 PM

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 4:39 PM

:)

cmsinaz on August 13, 2014 at 4:44 PM

“Dear Leader’s policies: Bafflement, or Buffoonery?
“Discuss.”

orangemtl on August 13, 2014 at 4:51 PM

What, “nonexistent, foolish, dumb, stupid, idiotic, a trip through fantasyland” were all taken?

BD57 on August 13, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Oh .. forgot “Feckless.”

BD57 on August 13, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,…..HilKilRod and Bi Bi Photo Op:

Retweeted by Brigitte Gabriel
Israel Today @israeltoday · Aug 12

Has Hillary Clinton really opened her eyes or has her election campaign started?? http://bit.ly/1kZCJMy

https://twitter.com/israeltoday/status/499213224475369472/photo/1

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 4:53 PM

“Inarticulate?” “Disengaged??”

How about Incomprehensible? Indefensible?? Disingenuous???

RedPepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:24 PM

I hope your thoughtful enough to zip Obama up after finishing.

itsspideyman on August 13, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!Benghazhi!!

Ned Pepper on August 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Obviously, the subject frightens you.

I wonder why.

formwiz on August 13, 2014 at 4:38 PM

They always tell you what they fear.

itsspideyman on August 13, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Incompetent?
Inept?
Idiotic?
Naive?
Stupid?

Whatever it is that is running through Obama and his merry band of idiots is bottom of the barrel as far as the USA and the western world goes.

jukin3 on August 13, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Bottom line is that Barry will tell Billary to back off on the criticism or he will steer the black and brown vote somewhere else in the primary.

rmkdbq on August 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

I don’t understand why she needs to be seen as friendly with him.

crankyoldlady on August 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

His policy is to react only when forced by circumstances to do so.

No, I’d say is policy is “Hope and Change”. Do nothing and Hope things work out, if they don’t then Change something.

taznar on August 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Hey Iraq! Fore!

Sven on August 13, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Inarticulate? Disengaged? Either way we are screwed. (What difference at this point, does it make?)

warmairfan on August 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

I don’t understand why she needs to be seen as friendly with him.
crankyoldlady on August 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Because party unity…unlike the GOP…

Newtie and the Beauty on August 13, 2014 at 6:11 PM

I don’t understand why she needs to be seen as friendly with him.

crankyoldlady on August 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Street cred. Not enough to be married to the first black president.

de rigueur on August 13, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Clinton is an accomplished person who has challenged glass ceilings.

Right…Billy Jeff’s coat tails go all the way to the glass ceiling…

ladyingray on August 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Hillary! = Obama v2.0

GarandFan on August 13, 2014 at 6:19 PM

I don’t understand why she needs to be seen as friendly with him.

crankyoldlady on August 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

He still has fans…and Shilary needs them in 2016…

ladyingray on August 13, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Ned not only wants an Imperial president with no congress but he could care less how many people die on that mountain and he cares less about the deaths at Ben Gazi. I thought demos were full of compassion,,, Not!!!!! Ned is a phony a stalinist.

garydt on August 13, 2014 at 6:23 PM

He has no policy – policy.

dogsoldier on August 13, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Obama is certainly engaged! He is the de facto leader of the muslim world. As such, he has armed the terrorists through his secret wars in Egypt, Libya, and Syria!He has facilitated this treason through his Muslim Brother, Brenan,at the CIA and the Iranian , Valerie Jarret!Now we will fight our enemies who are using Obama supplied weapons against the western world!This moron has unleashed the hounds of Hell right before our eyes without a peep. Obama has secretly attacked Christians and Jews by his actions! When the Truth comes about about this lying, moronic, fraud, It will be unprecedented in American history!Benghazi is only a small piece of the clandestine plot!

Marco on August 13, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Incoherent might be the word they are looking for.

talkingpoints on August 13, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Ukranians: “Hey Yazidis, don’t count on that rescue”

faraway on August 13, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Now just a darn minute there.

I’m sure the Yazidis will be just thrilled to get their MRE’s from Bammy’s munificence.

Maybe they’ll even have time to eat a few of them before Barry’s head-choppin’ JV muzzie buddies arrive on the scene.

VelvetElvis on August 14, 2014 at 10:46 AM

It’s indisarticulaged. And it was opposite day when <0 announced the core tenet of his admin's foreign policy–"Don't do stupid stuff."

Ay Uaxe on August 14, 2014 at 11:55 AM

CNN has closed down almost all comment blogs on Obama and Clinton. Or they have no comments section, or they put the story in “Sound Off” which censors posts. Because the vast majority of comments are anti-Obama and Clinton and they just can’t allow their message to be polluted with what American actually think

AmericaDS1234 on August 14, 2014 at 1:16 PM

It must have dawned on brain dead Hillary that she was one of the architects of the foreign policy she was criticizing. The real question is, what world will she wake up in tomorrow.

savage24 on August 14, 2014 at 3:44 PM