Victory For Liberal Hawks
You voted twice for Obama? You’re getting the policies of McCain and the Clintons, the candidates he defeated. I wish I could understand this – but, of course, my worry is that the pincer movement of Rice and Power is already pushing us into a war we do not need, and cannot win.
This is worse than a mistake. It’s a betrayal – delivered casually. Maybe he thinks his supporters will treat this declaration of war just as casually. In which case, he’s in for a big surprise.
David Rieff predicted this day a short while back when he greeted Obama’s elevation of Susan Rice and Samantha Power by saying, “Save us from the liberal hawks!” In an essay written before Obama’s Syria decision, Jacob Heilbrunn explains:
The chaos in Libya has chastened Obama, who is resisting attacking Syria militarily. But Libya’s travails aren’t stopping a chorus of warrior intellectuals from denouncing what they consider his morally culpable passivity. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, for example, complains, “Liberals, once characterized as bleeding hearts, seem now to have none at all.”
Will Obama remain aloof in Syria, or will a liberal president once again accede to the cries of the hawks? His elevation of Rice and Power suggests that the pressure will be on from within his own administration. Both Rice and Power are personally much closer to the president than Kerry and could seek to undermine him. Even as Rice controls foreign policy from the White House, Power will occupy a potent pulpit at the United Nations, historically a highly visible platform for moralistic defenses of America and denunciations of evildoers abroad.
In naming Rice and Power, Obama, you could say, is staging his own potent intervention on behalf of the liberal hawks.