June 01, 2014

Moneyballing Obama's Foreign Policy

By Michael Horowitz

President Obama is feeling defensive about his foreign policy. And he is keen to use every metaphor in his toolbox to explain it. In his commencement address last week at West Point, the president told the assembled cadets that he wasn’t inclined to use them much in combat: “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.”

Several weeks earlier, in a now-infamous press conference in the Philippines on April 28, Obama, an avid sports fan, said that his foreign policy was like baseball: “You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run.”

The pundits didn’t like the emphasis on small ball. And from a reputational perspective, the president does appear to have forgotten the important lesson that Mark McGwire, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux taught sports fans back in the late 1990s: Chicks dig the long ball. Critic John Podhoretz, among others, noted that this vision of America as a singles hitter, or utility infielder, hardly matches the reality of American power and influence around the world. As even New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, hardly an Obama hater, recently said, “A singles hitter doesn’t scare anybody.

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • July 29, 2020
    Can China’s Military Win the Tech War?

    The United States and its allies should take seriously Beijing’s efforts to militarize China’s technological base....

    By Anja Manuel & Kathleen Hicks

  • Transcript
    • May 20, 2020
    Transcript from Emerging Concepts in Joint Command and Control

    On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, the CNAS Technology and National Security Program hosted a virtual panel discussion on emerging concepts in joint command and control featuring Hon...

    By Robert O. Work, Chris Dougherty & Paul Scharre

  • Commentary
    • Space News
    • May 13, 2020
    What the government should or should not do to help space industry

    The COVID-19 economic slowdown will have lasting implications on the new space sector. Yet the United States cannot afford another lost decade of commercial space innovation. ...

    By Mikhail Grinberg

  • Commentary
    • The Washington Examiner
    • April 5, 2020
    Time for the US to declare independence from China

    Americans now know they can’t rely on China or even our allies to produce the goods we need during a pandemic. That’s why it’s time for the United States government to do what...

    By Anthony Vinci & Dr. Nadia Schadlow

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia