Tear Down This Narrative

April 7

Well, chalk up another failure. The Obama foreign policy didn’t work out. This is in sharp contrast to…nothing. George Bush’s foreign policy: failure. Bill Clinton’s foreign policy: failure. Bush Sr. foreign policy: failure. Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy: failure. Keep going. Eventually you’ll get to Truman who dropped an atomic bomb or two on Japan and we won that war. But mostly the world just doesn’t want to fix the way we want it to fix.

Did you notice who I left off the list? Of COURSE you did! Ronald Reagan! He defeated the Soviet Union with a space weapon that was not technologically possible at the time! Good work! Oh, and he said Magic Words. He told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” And that did it. The Soviet Union collapsed. See how easy it can be? Imaginary weapon + magic words = enemy collapses! Obama take note.

Well, before the concrete is set on this Reagan narrative, I just want to put out my tongue and say pfffttttt. The world is both maddeningly complicated and packed with people who are quite ready and capable of throwing a full measure of ferocious, implacable fanaticism into the path of our intentions. And on their home turf they are often able to keep this up for decades if not longer. Unintended consequences are so likely as to render almost any strategy highly doubtful. I simply don’t remember in my lifetime a foreign policy that I felt was both properly aligned on all the moral issues and persuasively  going to turn out as planned.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.
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Tom Toles · April 6