Making decisions is hard when your not doing it in hindsight.
His speech Tuesday at the United Nations signaled how what some have called the Obama Doctrine is once again evolving.Presidents are allowed to evolve, but this team's Hamlet-like nature is growing a bit old.
In his first term, that doctrine was defined by Mr. Obama’s surprising comfort in using military force to confront direct threats to the United States. But he split with his predecessor George W. Bush in his deep reluctance to use American power in long, drawn-out conflicts where national interests were remote and allies were missing.
At the United Nations on Tuesday, Mr. Obama drove home the conclusion that he came to after his own party deserted him over a military response to the chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,000 Syrians: The bigger risk for the world in coming years is not that the United States will try to build empires abroad, he argued, but that there will be a price to be paid in chaos and disorder if Americans elect to stay home.
But his image around the world is radically different from what it once was. From South Asia to the Middle East, his presidency became known more for roughly 400 drone strikes against affiliates of Al Qaeda and cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program, both of which he saw as direct threats. Despite his early overtures, diplomacy in the region stagnated.
Now, after a remarkable month that began with his planning and then aborting a Tomahawk missile strike against the military facilities of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Mr. Obama has recommitted himself, he told world leaders on Tuesday, to devoting the rest of his presidency to two high-risk diplomatic initiatives: finding a negotiated end to the Iran confrontation, and creating a separate state for the Palestinians that Israel can live with, without fear.
There the stakes are far higher, for Mr. Obama and for his closest ally in the region, Israel, and he made it clear that he would not allow Iran to obtain a weapon on his watch. The question, after five years and several evolutions of the Obama Doctrine, is whether the Iranians believe him.
I am very concerned about the penultimate paragraph quoted above. If the President is going to focus on Iran and the Palentinian-Israeli problem, then congrats - we are in the Carter Administration.
Those two problems will vex any President as, well, they are in a word; intractable.
The last paragraph of the quote is all his creation. He has destroyed his credibility with dithering and faux red lines. At this point, the only way to correct that problem is to do something the President isn't inclined by nature to do - and something the American public has no desire to undertake.
His best goal at this point is to under-promise and over-deliver in foreign policy and then see what happens. He really has lost his freedom of movement. Personal capital is about spent.