From the Gaza war to Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and the Afghan elections, there are so many conflicts occurring at once that the Obama administration’s tight-gripped method of handling global crises at the top is starting to show cracks.
Former senior Defense Department and State Department officials are saying the growing number of conflicts demanding the attention and leadership of the United States means it is time the White House start delegating more.
“It is hard to handle the volume of what the world is throwing at the U.S. right now if everything has to go up to the most senior levels,” said Michèle Flournoy, CEO of the Center for a New American Security and President Barack Obama’s former under secretary of defense for policy, in an interview with Defense One.
Critics frustrated at the administration’s noninterventionist responses from Syria to Russia have said that the proliferating and worsening conflicts are a sign of America’s shrinking global influence. Others, including Flournoy, take issue with the idea of downsized American leadership, but say that it is simply too much work for this or any White House to handle, and that it is time to roll more power down to the professional diplomats, interagency professionals and cabinet members closest to the front lines of any given issue.