Policy vs. Strategy…the US Case

In Middle Easte Politics on December 24, 2010 at 11:37 am

States have policies that are designed and managed by those who are in power at any given time.

States also have strategies that are the sum total of each country’s stated goals. In order to attain these goals countries harness all resources and tools available to them.

State policies are like sea waves, undulating with winds above and moved by currents from the deep.

State strategies on the other hand are like sea floor that stands still regardless of what happens in its surroundings.

This is a general rule. Strategies are based on unchangeable grand interests while policies shift as required by the higher strategic goals.

While each rule has exceptions, in the case of the United States this is THE “RULE.”

What do I mean by that?

I mean that the protection of core national interests remains the sacred cornerstone guideline for whoever ascends to the presidency in the USA. These core national interests are carefully analyzed and determined by institutions and think tanks according to an ideological vision. The president may be Barack, George, Cohen, Essmaeel or Ezra, regardless…The role of the president and his administration is to operate within domestic and international arenas in accordance to changing circumstances while protecting the aforementioned core interests. Partisanship has little to do with this.

This fundamental truth seemed to escape many who enthused over the arrival of Barack Obama to the seat of  power. They lost their ability to distinguish between “master” strategy and “servant” tactics. They painted Mr. Obama as an Arab/Palestinian “Abu Hussein.”

It took less than a year into president Obama’s term before disappointment began set in as evidenced by growing choir of discordant rants directed at the United States and its president of Kenyan-heritage. All one has to do is  follow Arab news media for specifics.

So what is the lesson here?

If the celebratory reaction in Arab countries to Barack Obama’s election reflected a lack of distinction between stable strategy and shifting policymaking – well, then this is disastrous. If it erupted in spite of knowing the distinction and while ignoring it – then the disaster is greater.

If this seems too opaque then feel free to read again from the top.


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