“Literally pointless”: Charles Krauthammer and disastrously wrong neocons misread Obama, again
Neocons blast West Point speech, miss the obvious: Obama’s foreign policy problem is stagnantly thinking like them
President Obama has just advised us that the front edge of our country’s foreign policy has shifted — shifted again, that is to say. Pivots, resets, evolutions, rethinks, and the like — none coming to much — are all the Obama administration’s strategy abroad consists of. Empty as the wind, these periodic reports from the White House are nonetheless important to follow, the latest more than any other.
This one came Wednesday in the president’s commencement address at West Point. The venue is logical if very regrettable, given that it reflects the extreme militarization of our foreign relations so far in our century. We are now served “this new chapter in American foreign policy,” as Obama told the cadets of the Class of 2014. There is nothing remotely new in the president’s plans, but they deserve attention nonetheless: In the nothing new lies a significant disclosure of just what this administration intends to accomplish and pass on.
“Literally pointless,” Charles Krauthammer, the neoconservative commentator, said of Obama’s address on Fox News. “It didn’t have a point. It was a defensive speech.”
I have waited long and patiently for the chance to agree with this pugilistic exceptionalist, and he makes the chances few. But the moment is not all I expected. Pointless and defensive, yes. But Krauthammer misses the paradox: In Obama’s pointlessness lies the point: He makes no point on foreign policy because he is not permitted one. In the defensive tone lies a confession that the man of resets and pivots is paralyzed.