Is there an 'Obama Doctrine'?
By Ben Pershing
President Obama went to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, and he delivered something in return -- the clearest articulation yet of his foreign policy views.
In case you haven't heard, Obama accepted the peace prize even as he ordered an intensification of the war in Afghanistan. This was real irony, not the fake Alanis Morisette kind. The Los Angeles Times writes that Obama used "a ceremony honoring the pursuit of peace to lay out a moral justification for war." The New York Times editorial board says he "returned again and again to Afghanistan, arguing that the war was morally just and strategically necessary to defend the United States and others from more terrorist attacks."
Like some other observers, Jake Tapper thinks the speech "was nothing short of the Obama Doctrine -- the most comprehensive view we've been offered yet of how the president views foreign policy -- and how he sees himself within the pantheon of world leaders." The Wall Street Journal saw in Obama's "embrace of armed might in the service of a 'just war,' a sharp change in emphasis from his past rhetoric criticizing the foreign policy of the Bush years." Is Obama really in the midst of a foreign-policy metamorphosis? Robert Kagan thinks so: "Something about this Afghan decision, coupled perhaps with events in Iran, has really affected his approach. I don't know what to say about an 'Obama doctrine,' because based on this speech, I think we are witnessing a substantial shift, back in the direction of a more muscular moralism, a la, Truman, Reagan." Stephen Hayes isn't so sure.
December 11, 2009; 8:38 AM ET
Categories: The Rundown
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