If you’re a critic on the left who deplores the President’s drone strikes . . .
Or a critic who thinks he’s not been tough enough . . .
. . . perhaps the Atlantic Monthly piece everyone’s been talking about will move you closer to my own view: We could not have a more thoughtful, steady commander-in-chief.
(It’s impossible to read without wondering — with dread — what a Trump or Cruz presidency might look like.)
A tiny snip:
. . . Obama returned to a point he had made repeatedly to me, one that he hopes the country, and the next president, absorbs: “You know, the notion that diplomacy and technocrats and bureaucrats somehow are helping to keep America safe and secure, most people think, Eh, that’s nonsense. But it’s true. And by the way, it’s the element of American power that the rest of the world appreciates unambiguously. When we deploy troops, there’s always a sense on the part of other countries that, even where necessary, sovereignty is being violated.” . . .
Making the point that Obama is a gambler but not a bluffer, Jeffrey Goldberg concludes:
George W. Bush was also a gambler, not a bluffer. He will be remembered harshly for the things he did in the Middle East. Barack Obama is gambling that he will be judged well for the things he didn’t do.
It’s so much easier to just want to bomb a problem until, in Ted Cruz’s words, you make the sand glow. Or in Trump’s words, get a lot tougher than just waterboarding. Enough with all the thinking — let’s just do something! What we need is a tough “dead or alive” shock-and-awe approach like we had in our last macho Republican president. Yes, true, he didn’t get him dead or alive; and, yes, true, the shock and awe didn’t work and cost us trillions that could have gone into building our infrastructure . . . and caused widespread death and misery while playing into the hands of the terrorists. But why quibble? It was muscular. It was direct. We need to try it again. (And 35% tariffs and a trade war would be a good idea, too: bring back Smoot-Hawley! That’ll show the Mexicans and Chinese who have their boots on our neck!)