Yesterday the White House unveiled its national security strategy. It came in basically three parts.
Part One is the “anything but Bush” part. Where the goal is to put as much distance between Obama and Bush – even where there is not a lot space. Renaming the War on Terrorism, the war on al Qaeda is a case in point. Did the Bush administration not know it was fighting al Qaeda? Did Obama stop doing Predator strikes?
Part Two is an overwhelming desire to substitute soft power for hard power. The problem is that soft power – like diplomacy – is not a substitute for hard power. Obama has already given us an object lesson in how this really works with the New START treaty. The US gave the Russians everything they wanted and in return got nothing other than ensuring Russia will be a dominant nuclear power for the next half century while the US nuclear deterrent continues to atrophy.
Part Three of the strategy is living in the world of wishful thinking. It emphasizes engagement and cooperation. But the strategy has no strategy for when the other side chooses not to cooperate as in the case of Iran. The US opted to engage Iran. Iran opted to make parodies about US foreign policy.
Hope is not a strategy…but it is the Obama national security strategy.