Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Peace of Retreat

I've figured our president is so totally focused on his domestic agenda that foreign policy and wars are only of interest depending on how he figures they'll hurt or help his domestic agenda.

Iraq? Afghanistan? Is it more trouble to win or lose? On Iraq, he'd have to go out of his way to lose--so complete the victory it shall be.

On Afghanistan, three months of debate and the jury is still out on whether we want to win. Will losing or fighting to win hurt his domestic vision more?

Saying that foreign policy is a distant second in priorities for this administration might seem an odd thing to say for a president who has traveled abroad so much already.

But it makes sense if you think of the trips abroad as efforts to disengage from foes and retreat a bit by giving our foes what they want in order to buy time to pass domestic legislation.

Understand that when you retreat, it takes a while for an enemy to pursue you and fill the vacuum. And that time it takes for the enemy to re-engage will surely be much quieter.

And if you want to, you can argue that the period of quiet while the enemy approaches is actually "peace." It isn't peace, but you can pretend for a while that it is so you can focus on domestic issues.

And if conflict erupts after the domestic agenda is achieved? Oh well. Breaking eggs and making omelets, right?

Heck, never waste a crisis, right? Maybe that will be an excuse for even more far-reaching changes at home or simply refusing to reconsider the passed legislation since don't you know there's a war on?