These three quotes, when taken in all at once, seem to somehow resonate.
- Barack Obama: “Peace in our time.” (No, really.)
- New York Times (1): “Mali Army, Riding U.S. Hopes, Is Proving No Match for Militants“
- New York Times (2): “U.S. Weighing How Much Help to Give France’s Military Operation in Mali“
Byron York wants you to read the two NYT pieces in reverse order than I do… which pretty much illustrates the current foreign policy disagreement in the Republican party. Byron presumably wants people to note that we’re being drawn into intervening in Mali despite the fact that the country is falling apart, and he presumably is against intervention on those grounds; I want people to note that Mali is at least falling apart because we – and by ‘we’ I mean ‘the Obama administration’ – messed up our commitments there, and now an actual American ally* is going in their to clean it up.
I’m sympathetic to Byron’s tacit argument, by the way: there’s an argument for staying out of this, or at least making the French pay through the nose for our help. After all, Mali was a former French colony, and there’s an aspect of foreign French policy that treated decolonization as an amusing Anglophone conceit that, alas, had to be humored in public. If they want to use our stuff, why not charge all that the market will bear? …I don’t quite take that position because I still have that nagging feeling that even our inconvenient promises should be kept. Which is, admittedly, not always the optimum attitude to have when it comes to national security.
Well, at least both Byron York and I (probably) agree with Andrew Malcolm that Barack Obama is a tin-eared bumbler with delusions of competence.
*No, really, they are. Trust me: the French find this as onerous as we do, but we’re kind of stuck with each other at this point.