In the United States where more than one in four people own guns and many people are quite sure that strength is exclusively synonymous with physical or lethal force, the idea that diplomacy and economics can be equally potent tools in our national defense is simply beyond comprehension.
American conservatives have been complaining incessantly in recent months about President Obama’s unwillingness to go the military option first in all political crises our country is confronting overseas. (E.G. If you are keeping track of how many times Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have chastised the President for not using American military force, then you must know that at this moment we should be engaged in more than half a dozen wars including a war with Russia.)
Is it really possible to resolve a problem without force? The idea that diplomacy can work as well as military force is simply incomprehensible to many people. How many loving parents insist that their kids learn how to defend themselves physically or learn how to shoot a gun. Think of the message they are teaching their kids: Might makes right. If you don’t have the means to defend yourself violently you are doomed; your mind and your heart can’t help you.
President Obama courageously told the recent graduating class at West Point that, “just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” Pretty gutsy word for a Commander-in-Chief to offer hundreds of young adults who just spent 4 plus years learning how to protect their nation using military force.
For a nation that claims to want peace and good relations with the rest of the world, it boggles the mind how many people see this President as impotent and ineffectual because he will not bully other nations with the American military arsenal. But point out to those same people that President Obama has instead effectively used diplomacy and economic sanctions to promote American interests and these hawks experience profound cognitive dissonance. Among some of the most reactionary, conservative Americans, President Obama’s unwillingness to apply American military might to all foreign policy challenges is just further evidence that America’s first non-white liberal President with the Muslim sounding name is himself an enemy of the United States. Only a President who takes into wars, regardless of the justification, can be a true patriot? Sad.
Check out this video and watch President Obama blow away a Fox Noise reporter who tries to challenge his machismo.