Now (Robert) Kagan Pivots, Too
As predicted, Bob Kagan follows in Kristolâ€™s wake. Afghanistan is so passÃ©; itâ€™s clearly time to focus on Iran. Check out the last paragraph in his column in Sundayâ€™s Washington Post â€” specifically, the order in which the problems facing Obama are presented, and then the singling out of Iran:
â€œIt is only natural that President Obama should respond to unexpected or shifting circumstances by reevaluating his approach. Events in Iran, Afghanistan or China do not occur in isolation. You cannot expect a president to escalate a war without it affecting his broader attitude toward the questions of war and peace. You cannot expect Iranâ€™s spurning of his good-faith offer to have no effect on his broader perception of the strategy of engagement. For Obama, as for all of us, these events, these decisions and these lessons affect our broader perceptions and understandings, about the way the world works and about Americaâ€™s proper role in the world. Obamaâ€™s current understanding was on display at Oslo last week. People at home and abroad should take notice.â€
The neo-cons clearly see a great opportunity in Obamaâ€™s escalation in Afghanistan and the follow-up of the Nobel speech in Oslo. Theyâ€™re trying hard to re-establish alliances they made with liberal interventionists in and around Bill Clinton and the Balkans in the 1990s by appealing to that â€œgreat tradition of hawkish Democrats fighting wars both hot and cold: Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy, as well as that one-time Democrat, Ronald Reagan.â€ (Make sure you read Kristolâ€™s and Fred Kaganâ€™s editorial in the December 14 Weekly Standard, â€œSupport the President.â€)
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