Finally, we have the Obama Doctrine: “Surrender without peace.”
This follows George W. Bush’s policy: “Break everything. Put on credit card.”
Everybody remembers the Monroe Doctrine, jealously defending the U.S. sphere of influence in North and South America from European meddling.
Normally, presidential foreign policy doctrines do not end in a question mark. But Bill Clinton rewrote all the rules from foreign policy to personal decency inside the Oval Office. His doctrine: “Fries come with that shake, honey?” (Note to reader: Best read aloud in a hoarse Arkansas twang.)
Ronald Reagan had a few that worked pretty well. “Peace through strength” and “Trust but verify” seemed to do a pretty good job of keeping the world on its toes and our enemies at bay.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have not officially announced what their foreign policy doctrines would be, but isn’t it pretty well clear by now?
Riding as she does her husband’s coattails everywhere she goes, Hillary Clinton ends at least one of her doctrines with a question mark: “Cash or credit?” Her other doctrines would be more declarative. “Pay here.” That one includes a red arrow pointing to Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
The other one: “Insert cash or credit into slot.” What is really cutting edge about that last one is that it comes with ATM machines to be installed in 7-Elevens around the world, particularly in third world countries led by savage dictators and brutal theocracies where women are second-class citizens and little girls are tortured. The only difference is that these machines do not dispense cash. They only collect payments.
Donald Trump has not declared his foreign policy doctrine yet either but since he is an avowed white nationalist xenophobe, it will most certainly be “America First.”
Oh the horror! Somewhere James Monroe is turning over in his grave.
But for at least four more months, we must settle for “Surrender without peace.”
That is assuming Mr. Obama does not declare this November’s election null and void after Mr. Trump wins in a massive orange landslide — like a giant, gooey Creamsicle melting in the urban heat and slowly sliding down the National Mall and filling the streets of D.C. and oozing through the White House gates.
(By the way, am I the only person who finds it curious that the moment all these officials start screaming about Russia rigging the election happens to be the very same moment Mr. Trump started beating Mrs. Clinton in the latest CNN poll? Just a coincidence, I am sure.)
Anyway, “Surrender without peace” is not pretty, but it is what we have. And it is what we have had for going on eight years now.
It is what paved the way for a future nuclear Iran and rewarded them handsomely with pallets of cash for kidnapping Americans. That was the largest terrorist bailout program in world history.
“Surrender without peace” is what gets children gassed in Syria after declaring a “red line” against chemical weapons use.
“Surrender without peace” is what promotes human trafficking and child rape on death trains headed for the U.S. Southern border after you invited tens of thousands of illegals illegally into the country. Illegally.
“Surrender without peace” is what attracts Iranian boats to taunt U.S. warships and Russian jets to buzz American planes.
“Surrender without peace” is what invites the president of the Philippines to publicly declare that Mr. Obama is a “son of a whore.” And it is what emboldens the Chinese to publicly humiliate him by refusing to allow him to deplane Air Force One except though the little aft hole at the back of the plane.
“America First” cannot come soon enough. Heck, even “Cash or credit?” might be something of an improvement.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.