FLETCHER: Manhood foreign policy a recipe for war

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Greed and arrogance, justice not in evidence. Bloodlust.

— Ministry

The question many Americans are asking themselves these days as talk of war once again fills the air is whether the United States, with all its domestic problems, can still afford to think of itself as the world’s police force. Especially in a world that doesn’t really like us.

And, perhaps more pointedly, do we not have the capacity to learn from past mistakes?

President Obama, who swept into office with promises of ending senseless American involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts attributable to his predecessor, but went well into his second term before finally following through — after dozens more American servicemen and women needlessly lost their lives — finds himself involved in face-saving saber-rattling as his administration works to put together a coalition to “punish” yet another Middle Eastern country.

Any person who cares about human rights is outraged by the “undeniable” use of deadly nerve gas on opposition forces by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s ongoing civil war. And no right-thinking person would object to diplomatic and economic sanctions against that country. But Obama painted himself into a corner by proclaiming, while talk of the use of the poisonous gas sarin was still just a rumor, that confirmation of such action would constitute Syria “crossing a red line.”

And so, once again, the world holds its breath, waiting to see if American planes will once again fire multimillion-dollar missiles at targets in a country whose domestic conflict has been ongoing for centuries and only impacts the U.S. because there’s oil involved. Our closest ally, Britain, has said no to such attacks, and Russia, one of Syria’s closest allies, has openly condemned talk of such U.S. action.

Obama, it seems, has been goaded into “backing up his words with actions” by world leaders who have hinted that just maybe all his threats ring hollow. The same thing happened in Yemen during the Arab Spring uprising, where the administration ordered missiles to be fired in support of groups that have long publicly declared their hatred for anything American.

Who knew this president, who earned his party’s nomination primarily because of his anti-war campaign rhetoric, could be coerced into deadly military action in a volatile part of the world simply because his manhood has been called into question?

I engaged an ardent Obama supporter in conversation recently, and he expressed outrage that some groups in other parts of the world had referred to the president as a “warmonger.” This person’s objection focused on his incredulity that a “man of peace” such as Obama could be so labelled.

When I pointed out that Obama had not, as he’d promised, immediately ordered American troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan when he moved into the White House and he had ordered missile strikes against Yemen, this person looked at me sadly, as if I was just another person who was “against President Obama.” Even after I pointed out that denial of facts does not alter reality, it was clear that I’d disappointed by not exhibiting some sort of blind allegiance to a leader who had, I believe, proven himself no different than any of the 43 men who had preceded him.

As I recalled that conversation, my last line of thought hit me like a ton of bricks. “The 43 men who had preceded Obama.” Maybe that was it. Maybe it’s just too much to ask a person who has the mightiest army, the most deadly weapons and an unlimited supply of cash at his disposal not to give in to his testosterone-induced machismo. Perhaps the leader of the free world is unable to resist his “I’m Keith Hernandez” maleness.

Yeah, maybe it’s time America elects a woman to the presidency. At the very least, we won’t have to worry about her getting into a measuring contest anytime her authority is questioned.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.