"The “Blob”—the epithet Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes used to scorn Washington’s inbred, vainglorious, bipartisan foreign-policy elite—is striking back. In a series of foreign policy reports designed to influence the incoming administration, Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post reveals, the Blob will publicly criticize Obama’s “reluctance” to exercise America’s military prowess and call for a more “muscular,” “interventionist,” assertive policy, from the South China Sea to the Russian border, but particularly in the Middle East. They are pumping for more war.
The names are familiar—former secretary of state Madeline Albright and former Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley lead the Atlantic Council task force. Former Bill Clinton NSC adviser Brian Katulis and former Bush deputy secretary of defense Rudy deLeon are senior fellows at the Center for American Progress. The inescapable Martin Indyk heads a Brookings group of former top officials from Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations. These are the apostles of American exceptionalism, from the neoconservatives who promoted the invasion of Iraq to the “indispensable nation” liberal interventionists who championed regime change in Libya. Virtually without exception, all supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the most catastrophic foreign policy debacle since Vietnam. Virtually without exception, none were held accountable for that folly.
The reports—and the Blob—share two conclusions. They censure Obama for excessive timidity. “There’s a widespread perception that not being active enough or recognizing the limits of American power has costs,” the Post quotes Philip Gordon, a senior foreign-policy adviser to Obama until 2015. “So the normal swing is to be more interventionist.” And all favor ramping up US military activity—on the Russian borders, in the South China Sea, and particularly in the Middle East, promoting no-fly and safe zones in Syria, more special forces, more aggressive use of air power, more military aid, and a more integrated security partnership. The objective is not only to defeat ISIS and Al Qaeda and its offshoots militarily, but to create order in war torn Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, as well as to counter Iran and Russia in the region.
The Obama years demonstrate the dangers of “restraint”? Say what? The Obama administration is currently fighting wars in five countries and bombing seven. It toppled Gadhafi in Libya and left the country in chaos. Its regime change campaign in Syria ended in a brutal civil war. It backs the Saudi ravaging of Yemen. It helped spark a street coup in Ukraine, and moved military forces to the Russian border, reviving a new Cold War. It has bolstered US naval forces in the South China Sea as part of containing China. US Special Forces were active in more than 100 countries last year. Obama has signed off on more weapons sales and transfers than Bush. None of this has worked out very well, but neither did George W. Bush’s “damn the torpedoes” policy. If Obama represents excessive restraint, may the gods save us from what comes next."