Leon Hadar: Is Barack Obama a Republican Realist?

Roundup: Media's Take

Leon Hadar, a Washington-based journalist and foreign policy analyst, is the author of Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East.

During the 2012 presidential campaign some of my libertarian friends would revert to the following talking-point: there is really no major difference between the foreign-policy agendas of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Obama has proved to be very different in his diplomacy and national security from the kind of peacenik he was portrayed as during his 2008 run for the White House, with the surge in Afghanistan, confrontation with Iran, military intervention in Libya, failure to challenge Israel, etc.

The bottom line was that Obama and Romney were supposedly cut from the same foreign-policy cloth, with both supporting an interventionist military approach in the Middle East and elsewhere. Therefore libertarians and conservatives who were critical of the neoconservative policies that had been promoted by President George W. Bush should not be fooled in the way some of them were in 2008 and should refrain from casting their ballot for Obama.

In fact, in advancing this Obama-and-Romney-are-foreign-policy-twins narrative, Republicans urged libertarians to vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket. The two Republicans were, after all, advocating more free-market oriented economic policies than the Democratic White House occupant. Many libertarians did that, or supported the presidential candidacy of Gary Johnson.

In retrospect, my personal decision to vote for Obama (which was denounced at the time) makes even more sense to me today, following Obama’s decision to nominate Chuck Hagel as his Defense Secretary than it did last November.

Consider this post-Romney victory counterfactual... 

comments powered by Disqus