Sunday 9 October 2016

Mark Mardell on Barack Obama's Syria policy

Those of us who followed Mark Mardell's progress as BBC North American editor from 2009-14 will recall his many opinionated blog posts where he'd often be found defending President Obama or airing his own 'dovish' views on Western military intervention. 

Though now presenting The World This Weekend, he's still blogging and still posting such pieces:
It's true that President Obama has absolutely no appetite for such confrontation, nor for wading knee-deep into another unwinnable occupation of an Arab country... 
It is fashionable to castigate President Obama for flaccidly allowing Assad off the hook. 
It's a point of view many politicians, military people and diplomats share, so we hear it often. But it is at least arguable that President Obama not only understands the mood of the American population, but the limits of what even a determined superpower can actually achieve, having examined the evidence of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. 
There's no better take on Obama's world view than Jeff Goldberg's masterful discussion highlighting in particular his scorn for the "playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow", which dictates a military solution to every crisis. 
The president adds in his interview: "What I think is not smart, is the idea that every time there is a problem, we send in our military to impose order. We just can't do that."
Whether you agree with him or not, it's rarely hard to miss where Mark Mardell is coming from on such stories, #bbc bias.


  1. Well I don't agree with him in this respect: Obama did intervene militarily in Libya and is now also engaged militarily in Syria (in case Mardell hasn't noticed!).

    1. Mardell did notice. It's just that He was forced to do it by ugly warmongering Americans, against His will. We've let Him down again, you see.

  2. But it is at least arguable that President Obama not only understands the mood of the American population....

    Remember when Mardell was angry that Obama had to bomb Libya because Americans want to "promote democracy and human the point of a gun"?

    Was He in tune with us then, or have we at last begun to see His wisdom? Nah, every single time there's a threat of new escalation, all the bien pensants start babbling about how Americans are "weary" of war, have learned the lesson of Iraq, etc. Mardell seems dimly aware of this, which is why he expands the list to include Afghanistan and Libya. All of which went wrong specifically because of Obama's ideological choices (which Mardell supports). Of course, with Mardell, it's never His fault, is it?


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