KRISTOL IS AS KRISTOL DOES…. We talked earlier about President Obama facing at least some pushback for putting the economy in front of foreign affairs in his address to Congress. I should have realized similar criticism from Bill Kristol wouldn’t be far behind.
Kristol, now a contributor to
Time the New York Times the Washington Post, argues today that the president only devoted a “few sentences” to foreign policy last night, adding, “The treatment of foreign policy was perfunctory at best.” That’s a subjective question, I suppose, but Obama devoted nine paragraphs, totaling about 600 words, to the issue, and outlined an entirely new approach to international affairs. Kristol may not approve of the vision, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.
But more importantly, Kristol wasn’t too terribly concerned with the extent of Obama’s comments on foreign policy, or where they were included in the speech, but he seemed quite troubled over what the president didn’t say.
The only particular place mentioned by Obama, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan, was Israel: “To seek progress toward a secure and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors, we have appointed an envoy to sustain our effort.” The Israeli-Arab dispute and its envoy merits a mention. Yet Iran and its nuclear program does not?
This was not the speech of a man who even contemplates the possibility of using force within the next year to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Kristol seems to think this is criticism, as if asking, “Where was the belligerent saber-rattling at Tehran?” is necessarily evidence of some kind of presidential omission. Obama probably won’t attack Iran in 2009 — and we’re supposed to think that’s a bad thing.