From the outset of the Obama presidency and the emergence of the Obama Doctrine, the similarities between this Administration and that of Jimmy Carter have been striking. Like Obama, Carter trumpeted soft power and international institutions as the means to solve the most perplexing foreign policy problems. The programs of both Presidents hinged on the cooperation of adversaries who interpreted the U.S. initiatives as signs of weakness, and in the second half of their presidencies, both faced the prospect of sharp reversals.
This White House has seen similar reversals—failing to deter aggression from Iran, Hamas, or Hezbollah. Now, Egypt finds itself on the tipping point. This Administration’s halting and tentative response is “emblematic of a White House that lacks a serious plan for dealing with a part of the world where the U.S. has vital strategic interests.”
If President Obama continues to pursue a Carteresque foreign policy—talking softly while whittling away at the stick—he will only put American lives and the prospects for peace at greater jeopardy. It is past time for this Administration to change course. For starters, the U.S. needs a proactive agenda for responding to the situation in Egypt.
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