Forget 'lead from behind'; now we have 'strategic patience'

President Obama released his new national security blueprint on Friday that was rehash of most of his previous policies.  He cited progress against the Islamic State and identified Russia as a major concern.

But foreign policy experts are raising an eyebrow over the president's call for "strategic patience" and warning against American "overreach."

Fox News:

The 29-page document is meant to serve as a blueprint for Obama's final two years in office. The strategy cast the U.S. as an indispensable force in combating global challenges -- including terrorism, climate change and cyber threats. 

"American leadership remains essential," National Security Adviser Susan Rice said at a Brookings Institution event where she detailed the plan. 

Yet the long-awaited security agenda included no major course changes in the military campaign against Islamic State militants or in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The document acknowledged serious threats abroad - and reiterated that, for the Islamic State, the goal is to "ultimately defeat" the terror group - but was imbued with a sense of restraint.   

"America leads from a position of strength. But, this does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world," the document said. "As powerful as we are and will remain, our resources and influence are not infinite. And in a complex world, many of the security problems we face do not lend themselves to quick and easy fixes." 

The strategy said the U.S. has to make "hard choices" and "resist the over-reach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear." 

"The challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence," the document said. 

That line drew a rebuke from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who suggested the approach will only embolden America's rivals. 

"I doubt ISIL, the Iranian mullahs, or Vladmir Putin will be intimidated by President Obama's strategy of 'strategic patience.' From their point of view, the more 'patience' President Obama practices the stronger they become," he said in a statement. "The Obama Doctrine, or 'strategic patience,' has led to a world in chaos.  ... Applying more 'patience' to President Obama's failed foreign policy just prolongs failure."

Strategic patience smacks of doing nothing and hoping the problem resolves itself or goes away.  This certainly isn't going to happen with the Islamic State, and the problem of Russia is only getting worse.

One thing that's pretty clear in this document is that the president plans to kick the can down the road when it comes to foreign crises.  With less than two years left to serve, it appears that Obama is going to cross his fingers and hope things don't get any worse.  There are no new strategies or proposals to make real his goal of defeating the Islamic State, or of keeping the Russian bear in a cage.  This is a political document designed to keep his critics off his back – nothing more.

This sort of inattentiveness to potential crises has been a hallmark of this administration since 2009.  It's no secret that the president would like foreign crises to go away so he can devote all his energies to transforming America.  We all had better hope that the world doesn't go to hell in the next two years.

President Obama released his new national security blueprint on Friday that was rehash of most of his previous policies.  He cited progress against the Islamic State and identified Russia as a major concern.

But foreign policy experts are raising an eyebrow over the president's call for "strategic patience" and warning against American "overreach."

Fox News:

The 29-page document is meant to serve as a blueprint for Obama's final two years in office. The strategy cast the U.S. as an indispensable force in combating global challenges -- including terrorism, climate change and cyber threats. 

"American leadership remains essential," National Security Adviser Susan Rice said at a Brookings Institution event where she detailed the plan. 

Yet the long-awaited security agenda included no major course changes in the military campaign against Islamic State militants or in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The document acknowledged serious threats abroad - and reiterated that, for the Islamic State, the goal is to "ultimately defeat" the terror group - but was imbued with a sense of restraint.   

"America leads from a position of strength. But, this does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world," the document said. "As powerful as we are and will remain, our resources and influence are not infinite. And in a complex world, many of the security problems we face do not lend themselves to quick and easy fixes." 

The strategy said the U.S. has to make "hard choices" and "resist the over-reach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear." 

"The challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence," the document said. 

That line drew a rebuke from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who suggested the approach will only embolden America's rivals. 

"I doubt ISIL, the Iranian mullahs, or Vladmir Putin will be intimidated by President Obama's strategy of 'strategic patience.' From their point of view, the more 'patience' President Obama practices the stronger they become," he said in a statement. "The Obama Doctrine, or 'strategic patience,' has led to a world in chaos.  ... Applying more 'patience' to President Obama's failed foreign policy just prolongs failure."

Strategic patience smacks of doing nothing and hoping the problem resolves itself or goes away.  This certainly isn't going to happen with the Islamic State, and the problem of Russia is only getting worse.

One thing that's pretty clear in this document is that the president plans to kick the can down the road when it comes to foreign crises.  With less than two years left to serve, it appears that Obama is going to cross his fingers and hope things don't get any worse.  There are no new strategies or proposals to make real his goal of defeating the Islamic State, or of keeping the Russian bear in a cage.  This is a political document designed to keep his critics off his back – nothing more.

This sort of inattentiveness to potential crises has been a hallmark of this administration since 2009.  It's no secret that the president would like foreign crises to go away so he can devote all his energies to transforming America.  We all had better hope that the world doesn't go to hell in the next two years.