It's good to have a president who is not trigger-happy

 |  NCR Today

Listen to the news any day, any hour. You will find commentators, usually Republicans, who think that President Barack Obama needs to show more "muscle" in his conduct of foreign policy or act "more strongly" wherever -- you name the place -- or "regain America's leadership role in the world." Many critics wish he had kept at least some U.S. troops in Iraq, engaged to some degree in the civil war in Syria, and had "taken decisive action" (whatever that means) against Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting the Ukrainian separatists.

Personally, I'm cheering his thoughtfulness and restraint. It's good to have a president who is not trigger-happy. It's great to have leader who, because he has a hammer in his hand, does not think of every problem as a nail to pound. It's wonderful to have a president who understands and prioritizes the power of diplomacy and, sometimes, economic sanctions.

It's not that Obama is perfect, but he's a breath of peaceful fresh air compared with, say, George W. Bush, who started a "war of choice" by taking us into Iraq under false pretenses (weapons of mass destruction, remember?).

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Yes, diplomacy looks wimpy to some people, but it's far better than military action. It was diplomacy that got the chemical weapons out of Syria. Diplomacy is behind a peaceful recount in the Afghan election. And it will take diplomacy to end the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Today, there is terrible violence in many trouble spots in the world. U.S. military involvement would only make them worse. Witness Iraq. Much of what we did there, like installing an intolerant Shiite-run state without fully understanding the Sunni/Shiite divide, paved the way for the self-declared, intolerant "caliphate" of Sunni Muslims today.

So the next time you hear someone criticize Obama's foreign policy for being nonmilitaristic, thank God and think peace.

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July 14-27, 2017