Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, has written one of his best essays as he dissects how President Obama failed to get Congress and the American public behind his drive to strike Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons. While I have my disagreements with him on foreign policy, seeing that I am what he would call “a conservative Jeffersonian” and he is far more comfortable with an activist foreign policy, his dispassionate analysis identifies the subtle yet significant nuances that have prevented Obama’s arguments from prevailing in American public opinion. For example, he accurately identifies the growing consensus between those on the right and left who have common concerns about current trends in civil liberties and foreign policy.
Given my disagreements with Mead, it is not surprising that I’m far more interested in restoring our liberties at home than worrying about whether the President looks weak abroad. The value, however, in the essay is that Mead clearly lays out Obama’s worldview, how he attempted to implement it in Syria, and why he failed. For these reasons alone it is worthwhile to read it.