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Obama exploits domestic crises but falls back on foreign affairs

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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OBAMA EXPLOITS DOMESTIC CRISES BUT FALLS BACK ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
A president famous for exploiting domestic crises takes the opposite approach when it comes to international troubles. At home, it is “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” With national security, though, it is “Don’t do stupid s--t.” There are plenty of explanations, positive and negative, for why President Obama is audacious on domestic policy and political theater but prefers to play a prevent defense on the world stage. But the difference is certainly stark. Why?

The president has been known to cancel trips and remake his schedule because of fights over spending and taxes, but not so on foreign policy matters. Thursday’s remarkable three-way split screen of the wreckage of the jetliner downed in Ukraine, tanks rolling in Gaza and there, in the third box, the president holding photo-ops in Delaware before heading to fundraisers in New York was the latest and most astonishing example. But it is standard procedure for this president. Whether it was the Fort Hood shooting, the Benghazi attacks, the border crisis or now this, Obama has often declined to alter his schedule when it comes to confronting major domestic or international concerns.

The president’s defenders say that it is because he is trying to project unruffled, resolute and cool leadership. That he won’t be dictated too. Fine. But acting nonchalant doesn’t necessarily send the right messages to people who wish to harm us. Whatever it does to international optics, though, there is a deliberate domestic angle. For a president who has so often been criticized for a confused and ineffective foreign policy, he does not want to give his rivals the satisfaction of making him react to their barbs. In the ongoing border crisis, the president’s team has boasted that Obama would not have his schedule dictated by his critics and be forced to visit the U.S.-Mexico frontier.

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Chris Stirewalt

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