In his address, Obama said, “When there is genocide in Darfur, systematic rape in Congo, or repression in Burma, there must be consequences,” and he added, “We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung San Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran.” This was the least convincing passage of the speech: so far, there have been no consequences in places like Darfur, and bearing witness—or at least such low-key witness—to Iranian protesters has done nothing to sway the mullahs. The weakness of Obama’s strategic flexibility is that it depends so heavily on practical skill, above all in diplomacy, a field in which America has lost its touch over the past two decades. Failure will seem like a failure of vision and principle.American pressure on Egypt to tighten the blockade on Gaza is also inconsistent with Obama's vision.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Words and deeds
Further to footnote  of War and law, consider this from George Packer: