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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Michael Gerson, "On foreign policy, Obama was ‘behind the curve’": No, Obama Struck Out Looking



On August 15, 1951, the St. Louis Browns sent 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel to bat against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of a doubleheader. Gaedel walked after four pitches and never played in another Major League Baseball game. Warned by the St. Louis Browns not to swing, Gaedel was also told that snipers had him in their sights if he decided to disobey orders.

What does Gaedel have to do with American foreign policy? Well today, in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "On foreign policy, Obama was ‘behind the curve’," Michael Gerson notes the harsh judgment of former Obama administration officials - Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, Robert Ford, and Hillary Clinton - concerning the president's foreign policy. Observing the comment of former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford that the Obama administration had been "consistently behind the curve," Gerson continues:

"Historians will also record the collapse of sovereignty at the heart of the Middle East, creating a vacuum that has attracted, inspired and empowered some of the worst people in the world. These events have produced more than 250,000 Syrian dead, including more than 10,000 children; driven one of every five Syrians from their country; resulted in a refugee crisis that now reaches to Europe and beyond; revealed the United States as an unreliable strategic partner; and allowed Iran and Russia to make a play for greater regional influence."

Was Obama "behind the curve"? I don't think so. He came to the plate hoping to draw a walk, but unlike Gaedel, no one told him not to swing. Obama struck out "looking," never even dreaming of taking a cut at a pitch.

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