Warren Strobel takes a look at Barack Obama’s foreign policy team and views. The term “pragmatic” comes up a lot, which can mean a lot of things. I think it’s important to see that Obama and his inner circle not only have their catch-phrases, but also like to illustrate what they mean by them by referring back to Iraq. When they talk about pragmatism, they see the march to war in Iraq as the reverse; as a deeply ideological movement determined to ignore contrary evidence, plus a Democratic establishment too rigidly wedded to a set of verbal formulae, catch-phrases, and narrowly political thinking to recognize what was happening and respond appropriately.
I’m not really sure pragmatism is sufficient to the challenges we’re facing as a country and I think there’s more to be said for doctrine-driven thinking than some of this rhetoric implies. Still, pragmatism would be more welcome than the alternatives that seem to be on the table.