A frequent criticism one reads of the president and his administration is that he and his officers are inept. Their manifold and multiple failures result from the fact that they just don't know what they're doing.
This criticism has the virtue, one supposes, of crediting the White House with good intentions, though pursued with bad execution.
Nonsense, responds another set. Obama and company in fact know exactly what they are doing. The ruination of America's economy, energy infrastructure and standing in the world are exactly what this administration wants to do. Far from being stricken with ineptitude, they are carrying it out expertly.
Barry Rubin weighs in on this, presumably on the former side rather than the latter: "Yes, Virginia, Obama Foreign Policy Is Ignorant and Stupid Rather Than a Conspiracy." It begins:
The most common question — or remark — that I get from readers is to say that I’m wrong to talk about how Western policymakers (and especially the Obama administration) are ignorant, ideologically deluded, and unable to learn from experience. They claim that these problems arise from a deliberate malevolent effort to destroy America.Yet by the end of his essay, Rubin has not persuaded even himself of his own position.
It tells something about how bad a lot of the administration’s policies are that such a conclusion is possible. Nevertheless, it’s not correct
... the mess does result from arrogance, stupidity, ignorance, inexperience, and ideology of those who are making the final decisions.So which is it, Barry? I'm going with the latter.
Of course, it is also true that the ideology guiding these decisions — which is supposedly so wonderful — is objectively quite destructive of U.S. interests. A reader wisely suggests the maxim that there are those who know what they are doing and those who don’t. For those who really understand the ideology they are promoting, it is intended to weaken the U.S. role in the world because they think it has been bad, to end U.S. leadership because they think it has been bullying, and to empower various people in the Third World because they think that they’ve been oppressed and exploited by the United States.
They are thus doing a huge amount of damage and dismantling — hopefully only temporary — much that American diplomats and soldiers have spent decades in building.
Yes, they are doing the best they can. And that’s precisely the problem.