Ross Douthat: Why Can’t Obama Fight Wars Like George W. Bush Did?
Today, Ross Douthat hilariously laments Obama’s “stark depature” from Bush/Cheney’s method of war-making.
This way [liberal] of war has obvious advantages. It spreads the burden of military action, sustains rather than weakens our alliances, and takes the edge off the world’s instinctive anti-Americanism. Best of all, it encourages the European powers to shoulder their share of responsibility for maintaining global order, instead of just carping at the United States from the sidelines.
But there are major problems with this approach to war as well. Because liberal wars depend on constant consensus-building within the (so-called) international community, they tend to be fought by committee, at a glacial pace, and with a caution that shades into tactical incompetence. And because their connection to the national interest is often tangential at best, they’re often fought with one hand behind our back and an eye on the exits, rather than with the full commitment that victory can require.
Now, very few functioning bipeds look at the Bush/Cheney wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and say, “more please.”
But I must say, if you’re trying to avoid “tactical incompetence” and wars that unfold at a “glacial pace” and the failure to achieve victory — you probably shouldn’t look to George W. Bush as a role model.