It increasingly is apparent that President Barack Obama has never devoted his intellectual focus upon developing a foreign policy theory. After World War II, the Containment Policy, initially developed by George Kennan, became the basis of how American foreign policy was conducted. The premise of this theory was to AVOID war with the Soviet Union and allow time to slowly, but surely, cripple that nation and lead to the arrival of a new group of leaders who understood the economic weaknesses of Communism. The war in Vietnam was a mistake because instead of containment, it was aggressive. Actually, from 1945 until its collapse the only war engaged in by the Soviet Union was the war in Afghanistan. Today in 2014, what is the foreign policy theory of Barack Obama? The answer is he lacks any guiding theory of acton.
Example, Iraq. Upon assuming office, President Obama made clear he wanted American forces to leave Iraq. That was a strategy, but that was not part of a theory of foreign policy. Prior to leaving the Obama administration allowed Nouri al-Maliki to gain power. In the hurry to depart, we left behind a man who hated Sunnis, drove any Sunni leader from power, and left Iraq to become the scene of a sectarian civil war in which Sunnis and Shiites killed one another. One result of lack of policy was allowing al-Qaeda to return to power as the defender of Sunnis against Shiites.
Ironically, due to lack of an Iraq policy, Iran stepped in to become the champion of their fellow Iraq Shiites. Yes, American troops are gone and now Iran is the main ally of Iraq due to its Maliki connection. Yes, it was important to depart, the issue was–when and how? President Obama never grasped the importance of those questions and today Iraq increasingly is becoming a failed state.