The Magazine

Still Commander in Chief

A few suggestions, in a spirit of bipartisanship.

Nov 19, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 10 • By MAX BOOT
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In confronting all of these challenges, and many others, you have a major advantage from having won reelection by a solid margin. Isolationists in both parties will be reluctant to challenge you, and you will have considerable freedom of maneuver, especially to take steps—such as intervening in Syria with a no-fly zone or making a long-term commitment to Afghanistan—that will not be popular in the short term but that have the potential to improve America’s long-term standing in the world and, hence, your own historical standing. If, on the other hand, you choose to act based on short-term calculations—as you seemed to do when you pulled all of the troops out of Iraq at the end of 2010 and all of the surge troops out of Afghanistan at the end of September—you may receive a short-term bump in popularity, but you risk undoing the objectives you have set for your foreign policy. Believe it or not, Mr. President, strong-on-defense Republicans are willing to follow if you lead in the right direction.

Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times
to the Present.

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