” According to multiple reliable sources, on Air Force One during President Barack Obama’s recent Asia trip, he spent some time talking with his traveling press corps about his approach to foreign policy. He was defensive and, by one account, “fuming.” He felt that the criticism of his approach was unfair. He had clear ideas about how to manage America’s global interests. In his own words, they centered on a single concept: “Don’t do stupid shit.”
In fact, after making this point, he reportedly stood up, headed forward toward his own cabin on the plane, and then stopped. He turned back to the gathered reporters, and, much like an elementary school teacher hammering rote learning into students, he said, “So what is my foreign policy?” The reporters, in unison, then said, “Don’t do stupid shit.”
How far we have come from the audacity of hope; yes, we can; the soaring expectations framed by the brilliant oratory of the president’s Cairo speech on relations with the Muslim world; his Prague speech on eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide; and his Oslo speech when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, “don’t do stupid shit” is a comedown even from his expectation-lowering remarks in the Philippines on that same Asia trip in which he limned his vision for a foreign policy that consisted mostly of “singles” and “doubles.“
Having reported that “Don’t do stupid shit” was Obama’s personal mantra in regards to his foreign policy approach , author David Rothkopf then proceeds to explore whether Obama actually lives by his self-assigned credo …
” It is, of course, the prerogative of the president of the United States to make and frame his foreign policy as he sees fit. It is among the executive’s most clearly defined and potent responsibilities as described in the U.S. Constitution. So rather than getting into a lengthy discussion about how disappointing it is for this president — who once was seen as a potentially transformational figure — to have embraced defensive minimalism, or dwelling on the lack of imagination that has led to America’s incredible shrinking foreign policy, let’s take Obama’s foreign policy on its own terms.
Let’s ask the question: Is this administration succeeding in its goal of not doing stupid shit?“
Mr Rothkopf first ponders the age-old democrat habit of parsing the most basic of english language words , a la Bill Clinton … what is the meaning of “is” , “stupid” and finally “shit” .
” This all depends, as another president might have said, on what your definition is of “stupid” and of “shit.” But mostly it depends on your definition of the word “doing.” Because if doing stupid shit actually requires taking an action that crosses the administration’s stupidity threshold, then it would rule out all the times when not doing something was stupid. While this might be a clever way to dodge the bullet for an administration that is often criticized for its reluctance to act, this falls into the same kind of minor league Talmudic semantic contortionism that led the aforementioned prior president to parse the meaning of the word “is.” “
After vowing to stick with the more mundane and socially accepted meanings of those three simple words the author gets down to cases and finds , not surprisingly , Obama wanting …
” In terms of sins of commission, there is nonetheless a list of some doozies that seem to violate Obama’s own new foreign-policy guidelines. “
Read the whole litany of foreign policy “stupid shit” foisted on the world by the Obama administration at Foreign Policy and see what George Will has called the foreign policy of Monty Python .