I'll try to answer. Here's Greenwald's question (Update III):
I don't find anything about Obama's foreign policy positions surprising; as opposed to his civil liberties positions, which he has routinely violated, he outlined these broad foreign policy sketches during the campaign (though added much more detail, and I'd suggest much more receptiveness to war generally, during yesterday's speech). I don't agree at all with the criticism that his escalation in Afghanistan (as opposed to his civil liberties positions) is a "betrayal." This is who Obama is and that has been clear for quite awhile.
Still, the question remains: why did so many Bush-loving neocons and progressives alike react the same way to Obama's comprehensive foreign policy speech yesterday? What could explain that? Does Sullivan have an answer?
The reason the neocons liked it is because Obama said that evil exists and that we sometimes have to fight it. Since they have been unable to listen to him for the past three years, while calling him a commie peacenik Muslim, this seems to have come as a surprise. I suspect it was his reiteration of these beliefs in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize that finally woke them up. Or, rather, allowed them to take their blinders off for a brief moment (they'll be back on soon enough, one fears).
The neocons are also trying to coopt Obama for Bush, while his speech, if you examine it closely, is, in fact, as brutal a debunking of Bush utopianism and incompetence imaginable. Just give the principled neocons time to save face and they'll understand (and appreciate) him in the end for how he is marshalling and rescuing American power from the Cheney wreckage.
As for "progressives", they got this:
More and more, we all confront difficult questions about how to prevent the slaughter of civilians by their own government, or to stop a civil war whose violence and suffering can engulf an entire region. I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That's why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.
Obama is much more conservative than Bush (one reason I backed him) but he remains a liberal internationalist humanitarian (one reason I worry about him). He'd use the military for purposes a true realist would be leery of: humanitarian intervention or even nation-building. This positive vision for the use of military and civilian power to combat poverty and enhance human dignity is also part of Obama's vision. A Tory realist would be much more circumspect.
So Obama - as from the beginning - threads part of the conservative and liberal traditions together. The paradox is that it's his conservatism that will make his liberalism more effective. And already has.
Maybe the neocons will get this before some lefties. But some of us have gotten this for a long time. Because he told us.
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