Obama’s foreign policy: Evolving or incomprehensible?

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein just alerted me to this interesting section from Ryan Lizza’s column in The New Yorker:

During the peak of the protests in Iran, Jared Cohen, a young staffer at the State Department … contacted officials at Twitter and asked the company not to perform a planned upgrade that would have shut down the service temporarily in Iran, where protesters were using it to get information to the international media. The move violated Obama’s rule of non-interference.

White House officials “were so mad that somebody had actually ‘interfered’ in Iranian politics, because they were doing their damnedest to not interfere,” the former Administration official said … The official said that Cohen “almost lost his job over it. If it had been up to the White House, they would have fired him.”

Clinton did not betray any disagreement with the President over Iran policy, but in an interview with me she cited Cohen’s action with pride. “When it came to the elections, we had a lot of messages from people inside Iran and their supporters outside of Iran saying, ‘For heaven’s sakes, don’t claim this as part of the democracy agenda. This is indigenous to us. We are struggling against this tyrannical regime. If you are too outspoken in our support, we will lose legitimacy!’ Now, that’s a tough balancing act. It’s easy to stand up if you don’t worry about the consequences. Now, we were very clear in saying, ‘We are supporting those who are protesting peacefully,’ and we put our social-media gurus at work in trying to keep connections going, so that we helped to provide that base for communicating that was necessary for the demonstrations.”

This is notable for several reasons, but primarily because President Obama is now employing U.S. military might to stop Gaddafi from squashing protesters in a country with debatable strategic interest to the United States, while two years ago he wanted to fire a staffer who only sought to delay a Twitter update so protesters in a country of great strategic interest to the United States could organize.

This either shows an incomprehensible foreign policy strategy, or one that has evolved toward Hillary Clinton’s way of thinking…

Matt K. Lewis