Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Obama's Leadership Vacuum
From The Heritage Foundation
More than two years ago, then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton launched a campaign ad that took direct aim at Senator Barack Obama's inexperience. It painted the picture of a telephone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m. and asked the question, when there is a crisis in the world and your children are safe and asleep, "Who do you want answering the phone?"
Now, two years later, there are several crises confronting America, that telephone is ringing, and President Obama isn't quite sure what to do about it.
The first crisis is the War in Afghanistan, a lynchpin in the War on Terror and a key to ensuring U.S. security. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, reportedly tendered his resignation yesterday following a Rolling Stone article that portrayed him and senior aides on his team as dismissive of top Obama administration officials. Apart for being an embarrassing moment for both President Obama and Gen. McChrystal, the story revealed a larger problem for the president -- festering, internal dissension regarding his administration's Afghanistan strategy. As Politico reports, there are divisions among Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice President Biden, Gen. David Petraeus, Richard Holbrooke and others.
Those divisions are of Obama's own making, stemming from his lack of leadership and failure to make a firm commitment to victory in Afghanistan. It took the president 10 months to decide on an Afghanistan strategy, he took a middle road in only committing 30,000 additional troops to the mission, many fewer than Gen. McChrystal had requested, and he imposed an artificial timeline for withdrawal that sent mixed signals to the country, the military, our allies and our enemies about America's resolve to win the war. Now, as the president contemplates Gen. McChrystal's potential resignation, it appears he is reaping the bitter harvest of his failure to take decisive action.