October 27, 2021


In his work War, Presidents and Public Opinion, Mueller defined the rally effect as “being associated with an event which (1) is international and (2) involves the United States and particularly the president directly; and it must be (3) specific, dramatic, and sharply focused”. At present even if we are threatened in several fronts by Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East and Africa and the expansionist moves by Russia’s Putin in Europe, this tradition of our population of “rallying around the flag”, is not happening. All polls clearly indicate that the public confidence in our president’s ability to handle our nation’s security is diminishing.

In this, an election year, we expected opposition from republicans on any action of our president, but criticism has come from democrats also. Several democrats in the congress including Robert Menendez who stated “I just don’t get a sense that we have a strategy”, and Eliot Engel who said “I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if we had committed to empowering the moderate Syrian opposition last year, would ISIS have grown as it did?” expressed their opinions. Unfortunately Obama is not one to react well to criticism and as reported in the Daily Beast he responded to a bipartisan group of congressmen that questioned his actions, or lack of, in Syria by describing his critics comments as “horseshit”. Now, his past Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, told The Atlantic while in an interview promoting her book, “great nations need organizing principles, and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” clearly mocking a recent response of President Obama to a reporter’s question to define his foreign policy. And that is the crux of the matter; the people are looking for a clear definition of how our President is going to respond to world troubles with clear goals and objectives. Instead what we get from the “great communicator”, are misleading, confusing, and contradictory statements. In 2011 he told us that his retiring our troops from Iraq, was an accomplishment to fulfill his campaign promise, but a few days ago faced with the present disaster, blamed that country’s Prime Minister Al-Maliki for refusing the proposal, as if he could not force the issue.

The facts are that the touted troop withdrawal was in response of a pact accomplished by prior president Bush, and the remaining Status of Forces agreement was not signed because of the lack of effort and/or interest of Obama. The military establishment warned at the time of the possible negative consequences of not achieving that purpose as it had always been done in prior conflicts. Recently he acknowledged his being surprised by ISIS rapid movement, albeit blaming the intelligence sector, and also confessing in a recent interview that he had learned a lesson in Libya that they had not prepared for governance after Kaddafi, getting close to sponsoring the neoconservative “nation building”, that failed in Iraq after the military part was successful. In summary it looks that the closest we can ascertain to be his “doctrine”, is wait, hope for the best, react when it is inevitable, and do a minimum to achieve a limited goal without consideration for the long term consequences.