And what, pray tell, would those lessons be? That if you cut and run after announcing your intention to do so in advance, you undo all the good achieved up to that point by American military forces and embolden the enemy?
The president also said, according to Mark Landler of the New York Times, that “his foreign policy was based on a workmanlike tending to American priorities that might lack the high drama of a wartime presidency but also avoided ruinous mistakes.” Standing next to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, a frustrated Obama said:
You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run. But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.
Vladimir Putin and the people of Ukraine could not be reached for a reaction to the last part of that quote.
Obama’s remarks capped off a weeklong trip in Asia, which seemed to have no reason for existing other than that the president had planned to visit the Far East in November but felt impelled to cancel the trip during the government shutdown. Landler’s piece, which describes Obama as “by turns angry and rueful,” notes that the president’s comments yesterday provided “a rare insight into a second-term president already sizing up his legacy as a statesman.”
How well that’s going is hinted at in an analysis of his foreign policy by Walter Russell Mead, who writes at The American Interest:
It’s clear that the White House is beginning to understand that even American liberals have to work hard these days to continue to believe that the President is doing a good job in foreign affairs. Unforutnately, it is less clear that the White House knows what to do about the situation.