WASHINGTON — Iraq again has descended into sectarian violence and political chaos. An Islamic extremist group controls more land than al-Qaida ever has. Vladimir Putin appears poised to invade eastern Ukraine.
As those global hotspots — and others, like northern Africa — all moved closer in recent weeks toward melting down, even US President Barack Obama’s supporters wondered just what he was doing about each crisis. His detractors see a second-term foreign policy in shambles — and many question whether the president known for drone strikes and brash commando raids even has much of a national security philosophy anymore.
Obama administration officials have struggled during the president’s second term to describe the boss’ foreign policy vision, and how he views the use of US military force. But in recent weeks, a series of high-profile moves — along with a few quiet ones — have begun to link the puzzle pieces of what might be called Obama’s second-term foreign policy doctrine.