Obama Needs to Borrow Some Military Strategies

by Odysseas Papadimitriou on September 15, 2009

Military StrategiesWhat is the greatest issue facing America right now?  Is it the crisis of non-renewable energy sources, financial regulation reform, health care reform, or the recession and the stimulus package?  I think we’d all agree that all of these are major issues regardless of our viewpoints about the right solution.  The attention given by President Obama to these issues suggests that he, too, sees these problems as requiring immediate attention.  As such, his administration has set about dealing with all of them at once.

The result is that no particular issue gains the necessary momentum to answer opposition in Congress, and nothing can be done without Congress’s approval.  So, President Obama’s plans are taking far too long and are being swept under by waves of resistance despite the fact that the country needs solutions.  By attempting to solve all these problems in parallel, he is failing to decisively solve any of them.

To explain the problem by way of an analogy, in a war, an army that attempts to take all of its strategic points at the same time is doomed. It is a tactical mistake to split up your forces and military commanders who do so find themselves out manned and out gunned.  Instead, to meet a strong spread out defense, a wise commander will send his or her forces at a single objective, take it, and then move onto the next point.  Only in this way are military advances made; it is this model of conduct that needs to be adopted by President Obama. 

By attacking one issue at a time, his administration will have the luxury of calling out opponents and drive robust debates towards a common ground.  Having established this goal, changes can be made on that issue, and his administration can move on to the next big thing.  We all agree that changes need to be made, these are major issues, but the way they’re being dealt with now, all at the same time, is simply getting us nowhere.  President Obama’s administration is simply spread too thin to take Capitol Hill.

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