Obama Doctrine- Stumble Around & Carry a Wet Noodle UPDATE

Obama Doctrine- Stumble Around and Carry a Wet Noodle

(UPDATE: 3/5/2014- Well, not surprisingly for a guy who likes to lead from behind, President Obama has stepped in “it” again.  Witness Putin NOT shaking in his boots as Obama tries to talk Putin out of the Russian “intervention” in the Ukraine.)

If diplomatic language is to have any effect, the recipient must fear a military bat to the side of the head.

Professor Henry R. Nau (George Washington University) in today’s Wall Street Journal explains how President Obama’s purported diplomacy lacks any punch (literally) and thus has caused the decline of America’s role on the global stage.  In short, Obama is neither feared nor respected.  Recall President Theodore Roosevelt’s approach to diplomacy: “speak softly, and carry a big stick.”  President Obama’s approach is more “stumble around, and carry a wet noodle.”  Block quote excerpted from “The Best Diplomacy Is Armed Diplomacy” by Henry R. Nau Wall Street Journal 9/19/2013

The president never met a diplomatic opportunity he did not like—yet he has steadily reduced American power to back up that diplomacy.

“Diplomacy without arms,” the Prussian King Frederick the Great once said, “is like music without instruments.” He meant that unless the adversary is prevented from achieving his objectives by arms outside negotiations, he has no interest in taking seriously peaceful alternatives being offered inside negotiations.

Meanwhile, the U.S. contemplates force only if negotiations fail.

Yet America’s emphasis on diplomacy isn’t the problem. The problem is its failure to arm diplomacy.

The use of force—the buildup, deployment and actual use—before and during negotiations serves three purposes. First, it puts the adversary on notice that it is unlikely to compete outside negotiations.  Second, force denies the adversary gains on the ground outside negotiations.  And third, the use of force brings heavy-duty capabilities to bear at the bargaining table[.]

Arms compel the adversary to take diplomacy seriously. And using lesser force early often avoids the need for greater force later.

The purpose of armed diplomacy, however, is not to defeat adversaries in some conventional military showdown, or to coexist with them indefinitely in some morally ambivalent status quo. It is to succeed in negotiations that move freedom forward in adversary countries.

When armed diplomacy works best, no military force has to be used. But it is a mistake to assume that such military force isn’t needed.

Do we want to put our military in harm’s way unnecessarily in a game of diplomatic brinkmanship? Of course we don’t.  However, for diplomatic language to have any effect on the recipient, the recipient must fear a military bat to the side of the head. –Grizzly Joe


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