I think President Obama's speech was in keeping with his basic strategic rationale from the start. He did announce the surge. Part of that was, I think, the military boxed him in. You remember [Gen.] Stan McChrystal leaked his recommendation. It became very difficult for a Democratic president to overturn it.
But Obama has started his presidency saying we are too committed overseas, we are too militarily engaged, we have too large a footprint, we've got to rebalance, we've got to focus on nation-building at home. We've got to focus on Asia. And he sounded all those themes.
It was a remarkable speech for an American president in the caution, the strategic emphasis, rather than the idealistic emphasis.
He says things like, "We must be as pragmatic as we are passionate, as strategic as we are resolute. People would have America overextend itself, confronting every evil that could be found abroad." This is reminiscent of a very different strain of America, in many ways, a strain that goes back before the Cold War.
For reactions from other CNN analysts, click here.
However much Obama embraces the ideals set in Truman's doctrine – to help countries under undemocratic regimes achieve freedom and to supply them with economic aid -, he has to be pragmatic and strategic in his foreign policy, i.e. he has to use the country's resources sensibly and in regions that are of vital interests.
The economic situation in America today is not the same as it was in the pre-Cold War era. Besides the Cold War ended peacefully without bloodshed. The Russian Perestroika under Gorbachev saw the the fall of the Iron curtain and the rise of a new Europe. The U.S. hadn't played much a role in this democratisation process. In this respect Obama could have a wishful thinking dream that situations sometimes could come out better than anticipated, if they were left to their devices.
When are the Republicans going to stop talking out both sides of their mouths. You can't complain about the deficit and yet still hold on to the war machine. You can't have wars and not expect to impact our economy in a negative way. It's time for the Republicans who are calling for reining in spending to stand up and admit that you can't have wars without substantially increasing the deficit. Hate to tell you boys that you can't have it both ways!
Toward the end of his speech tonight, Obama obviously felt the need to pathetically claim, "We stand not for empire" - which is clearly an admission that he feels a need to emphasize and, without the slightest proof, reinforce this ridiculous claim that the US is not acting as a global Empire.
As Shakespeare famously wrote of the human nature of the guilty "(S)he protesteth too much".
So tonight, the ever smooth Obama, seems clearly to be protesting too much about an issue that a fast increasing number of Americans beyond Chomsky, Bacevich, Berman, Parenti, Kolko, Chalmers Johnson, Korten, Hedges, Harvey, Hardt, Wolin, Zinn, et al have known for years. That our former country is now the seminal part of a disguised global corporate/financial/militarist Empire, which hides behind the facade of its bought and paid for Two-Party "Vichy" sham of democratic government.
Which means that today even the faux-Emperor himself seems to know that he has no clothes on, and that the global Empire that he fronts for is today becoming very naked to very many people here and abroad.
So, tonight's speech by faux-Emperor/president, Obama, was very good news for all of us who know that our former and now captive country "stands precisely for Empire" - although "we" certainly do not!
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Check out all of Fareed's Washington Post columns here:
Obama as a foreign policy president?
Why Snowden should stand trial in U.S.
Hillary Clinton's truly hard choice
China's trapped transition
Obama should rethink Syria strategy
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