Thursday, January 15, 2015

Failure of Diplomacy

The White House is taking fire on President Obama’s no show at the Place de la République. Reviewing the picture caption highlights the American absence.

Arm in arm, world leaders, left to right: Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union President Donald Tusk, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, Jordan's Queen Rania, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and other guests
The following is a summary of the various reasons proffered for the failure to participate. The main theme that emerges is the administration’s view that terrorism is a problem, but does not rise to the status of a war or require a “war”-type of solution.

Thoughts on Obama’s Administration
Failure to Participate
  • The “War on Terror” is over. Obama’s political and National Security teams play down Islamic terrorism (change label, end wars, move on)
  • Charlie Hebdo has bad judgment. Don’t offend religions (especially Islam) 
  • Lead from behind. We have less power and are not liked. New environment requires stealth.
  • We are not exceptional nation and not the leader of “free world.”
  • Obama and White House advocate diplomacy, but are not good at it or its “optics.” August beheading and golf.
  • “Wars on Terrorism” are top down and have failed. Best to use bottom up approach; i.e., social work, education, mental health, etc. Hold a summit on extremism and talk about what works and not works (Feb. 18, 2015).
Mollie Hemingway offered a good review of many of the administration’s views and columnists’ reactions to the Paris behavior.

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