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Friday, 24 February 2012

This week’s case study in OIP Derangement Syndrome is Rudy Giuliani. A year ago, he was trying to present himself one last time as a viable presidential candidate. On 29 Mar 2011 the Concord Monitor described his remarks in New Hampshire as:
calling Obama's handling of the uprising in Libya in the last week the worst foreign policy-decision making - or lack thereof - he's ever seen.

When France proposed instituting a no-fly zone, "Our president, the leader of the free world, said, 'A what? That's hard! A no fly zone is r-r-r-really hard!'" Giuliani said to laughter.

"Can we stand two more years of this? We have to. Can we stand six more of this? We don't have to," Giuliani said. "It's up to you, and it's up to me. It's up to the Republican Party. . . . This president has been a failure in just about everything he's done."
It’s hard to tell from Giuliani’s remarks, but at that point the US and UK had been firing missiles into Libya for ten days, and the NATO alliance had agreed to patrol a no-fly zone.

Giuliani apparently felt that attacking and containing a country in a civil war while minimizing risk and civilian casualties is easy. That may show his lack of military experience, but more likely it displays his desire to criticize President Obama regardless of facts or logic.

Or rather, to criticize a stereotype of Obama that bears almost no resemblance to the President’s record. Believing in the stereotype allows people with OIP Derangement Syndrome to explain to themselves why they feel so viscerally that Obama shouldn’t be President. Their stereotype would never have taken aggressive action against the Qaddafi regime in Libya, just as it would never have authorized risky and ultimately successful military actions against Osama bin Laden and Somali pirates, it wouldn’t have built an international coalition for very tough sanctions against Iran, and so on.

Nearly a year later, we know how the NATO operation in Libya turned out. It ended after seven months without major losses to the US or its close allies. Qaddafi was captured and shot, and his regime is out of power. The country still isn’t stable, of course, but no one has offered a convincing argument for how the US government could have changed that without much greater risk and cost.

How do people with OIP Derangement Syndrome deal with the Libya intervention? They pretend it never happened and project the same false mental image of President Obama onto other regions. This week Giuliani went on television with a new complaint:
“We need a president who can say the words ‘bomb them’ and actually can do it if he has to protect us from Iran becoming a nuclear power.”
Very few actual experts suggest that there’s a simple military solution to preventing Iran from developing the capacity for nuclear weapons. That’s been the situation for years. But Giuliani claims to have the answers.

More pertinent for this discussion, Giuliani also claims that the President hasn’t shown that he “actually can” bomb a country. That’s not military or foreign-policy expertise talking; that’s OIP Derangement Syndrome.

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