Thursday, March 24, 2016

Obama's Red Line: A Second Thought


I had fallen into thinking that once Assad had crossed the red line, O had to act militarily and his failure to was a failure.

But no longer since reading The Obama Doctrine by Jeffrey Goldberg. The mistake was pronouncing the red line. And I'm not saying military action wasn't in order. That can be argued both ways. But if Obama in good conscience and on analysis concluded that such action wasn't on balance a good thing, surely he was right not to act. Better to face the criticism and to understand the mistake of his less than circumspect pronouncement than take, to his mind, unwarranted and worsening-the-situation action.

The logic of that seems impeccable to me.

Goldberg talks about how Obama talks about how comfortable he is with his ultimate decision and how proud-not in a before the fall way--he is to have made it. He finally did what was contrary to the conventional thinking that had been carrying him along, contrary to his own inner conviction, until he liberated himself from convention and acted according to his deepest instincts and reasoning. 

And how common is it that we're on the brink of doing something that just doesn't feel right, and we force ourselves out of a kind of reflexive lethargy and do or not do what accords with our deepest sense of ourselves and with what we most deeply think and feel? It's an absolutely liberating experience when it happens.

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