With U.S. foreign policy in the doldrums on every front, President Obama’s handlers decided it was time for action. And, so he jetted to Afghanistan to spend Memorial Day with the troops.
The fly-in to Bagram Airfield was only the first “photo op.” Two days later the president convened a Rose Garden press conference to announce his decision regarding future U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan and his timeline for ending America’s longest war once and for all. The next day, it was off to West Point to deliver “a major foreign policy address” at the commencement ceremony.
All these carefully orchestrated stops were contrived to reassure an increasingly doubtful domestic audience. The intended message: President Obama is still in charge, so you can stop worrying about what’s going on in the world and get back to watching “America’s Got Talent.”
Well, that was the plan. But only a White House indifferent to world affairs could hope that a series of speeches would erase concerns over setbacks in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine, the inability to deal effectively with China’s increasingly aggressive territorial claims, or the resurgence of al-Qaida.