Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Mellow Doctrine "The Mellow Doctrine" By ROGER COHEN

I was concerned that perhaps Obama would be too idealistic. I'm happy with how things are going so far.
WASHINGTON — Amazing what happens when you cast aside the testosterone.

I know bristling Dick Cheney believes America’s enemies now perceive “a weak president,” as do sundry Republican senators, but the truth is that foes of the United States have been disarmed by Barack Obama’s no-drama diplomacy.

Call it the mellow doctrine. Neither idealistic nor classic realpolitik, it involves finding strength through unconventional means: acknowledgment of the limits of American power; frankness about U.S. failings; careful listening; fear reduction; adroit deployment of the wide appeal of brand Barack Hussein Obama; and jujitsu engagement.

Already the mellow doctrine has brought some remarkable shifts, even if more time is needed to see its results.

The Castro brothers in Cuba are squabbling over the meaning of Obama’s overtures. Venezuela’s Hugo Ch├ívez has gone gooey-eyed over the Yanqui president. Turkey relented on a major NATO dispute, persuaded of the importance of Obama’s conciliatory message to Muslims.

From Damascus to Tehran, new debate rages over possible rapprochement with Washington. In Israel, I understand Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is about to drag his Likud party kicking and screaming to acceptance of the idea of a two-state solution because he knows the cost of an early confrontation with Obama.

Not bad for 105 days.

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