Despite the monumental snow job by the White House to carefully craft and spin the image of the US president as cerebral & aloof ‘no drama Obama’, his modus operandi has generated a pileup of smoldering snafus in domestic & foreign policy.
The dolorous drama for Obama was, that ‘hiding from behind’, he outsourced his presidential prerogatives in world affairs to Clinton clan consiglieres and bushwhacking Tampa-centric generals. But that was then, and it’s never again!
The three musketeers
The White House nominations of John Kerry followed by John Brennan and Chuck Hagel to man the State Department, CIA & DOD, if they survive piranha pack PR attack and sail unharmed through Congress crucible, would be nifty tour de force to install US foreign policy tight triumvirate.
In the ensuing fracas around the candidates for top posts at Langley and the Pentagon, the question – who pulled it off, POTUS or Veep – is not as obvious as it might seem to be.
The king and the cardinal
Yes, Barak Obama brought Joe Biden on board, but it was The Bidenator who had the prescience and cojones to fight an uphill battle against the surge malarkey in favor of counter terrorism light footprint in Pakistan &Afghanistan.
Back then it was a forlorn solo mission: Ol’ Joe was ridiculed by COINdinistas and sidelined by the rookie Appeaser-in-chief who, after 3 month of sit-on-the-pants ‘analysis’, caved in and, to avoid the accusations of being soft on defense, tripled US boots on the ground in the ‘war of necessity’ in Afghanistan.
Obama’s aversion to military escalation was palpable even before he moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but that decision contrary to his instincts could be explained if not justified on 2 grounds:
- It granted the top brass the last chance to play & prove the COIN remake.
- The evolving Commander-in-chief got enough breathing space and political clout to come up with his Plan B for tactical or even strategic adjustment of US power projection.
Before it transpired that Pentagonesque surge in Afghanistan was fundamental & irreversible fubar, the president had already made up his mind about Plan B, shifting his bets from stick-in-the mud counterinsurgency to agile & mobile air cavalry of counterterrorism.
The vice president didn’t have to say ‘I told you so’, having won the most valuable ally at the White House and another nom de guerre, The Un-Cheney, along the way.
Since then it was only a question of time to conjure up two-step plot for two: first, to purge the foreign policy triad – diplomatic, intelligence & military establishment – from the irreconcilables (consider it done), and second, to recruit ‘a few good men’ to do the right thing (remains to be seen).
It was a clever ruse that could be attributed to The Chess Master, to put the howling hyenas off the scent after a lonesome lady (don’t worry, she’s safe, sitting pretty at the UN) to secure a trouble free confirmation for the 1st team member of the foreign policy troika to lead the State Department.
However, it would take deus ex machina to get Congressional unqualified high five for CIA & DOD nominees. If it does happen, it will be US foreign policy royal flush.
Whether it will to be used wisely or abused foolishly, one way or another herein hides the second-term drama for the new old president Obama.