New York Times columnist David Brooks on Sunday claimed that President Obama’s foreign policy isn’t “tough” and that he has a “manhood problem” in the Middle East.
Pivoting off Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-TN) charge on NBC’s Meet the Press that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine have showed an “era of permissiveness” under Obama, later in the program, Brooks — while noting that he doesn’t necessarily agree with the charge — said this issue extends to the Middle East:
BROOKS: Basically since Yalta we’ve had an assumption that borders are basically going to be borders and once that comes into question if in Ukraine or in Crimea or anywhere else, then all over the world all bets are off. And let’s face it, Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a — I’ll say it crudely — but a manhood problem in the Middle East. Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad or somebody like Putin? I think a lot of the rap is unfair but certainly in the Middle East there is an assumption that he’s not tough enough.
NBC’s Chuck Todd agreed. “By the way, internally they fear this you know it’s not just Corker saying it, questioning whether the president is being alpha-male,” he said. “That’s essentially saying ‘he’s not alpha-dog. His rhetoric isn’t tough enough.'”
While Todd never provided any examples of just who “internally” is saying all this, he did say that while they agree with Obama on the policy, “it is sort of the rhetoric, internally this is a question.” Watch the clip:
What Brooks and Todd are essentially saying is that Obama isn’t more willing to use or talk about the military option as a foreign policy tool, as much as, perhaps, his predecessor was. The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol — who championed the war in Iraq and has been calling for one in Iran — is also a proponent of this kind of “manhood” in foreign policy construct. “Real action” in Iran, he said earlier this year, is not using diplomacy to solve the nuclear crisis, it’s a military attack.