Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes accused President Obama of attacking a “straw man” after the president argued that his foreign policy critics believe “military intervention is the only way to avoid looking weak” -- a somewhat ironic characterization, given that Hayes has loudly accused Obama of being weak and “dithering” in his approach to foreign affairs.
In a May 28 commencement address at West Point, Obama outlined his foreign policy goals and addressed his critics:
And I would betray my duty to you, and to the country we love, if I sent you into harm's way simply because I saw a problem somewhere in the world that needed fixing, or because I was worried about critics who think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak.
Here's my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership. But U.S. military action cannot be the only - or even primary - component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. And because the costs associated with military action are so high, you should expect every civilian leader - and especially your Commander-in-Chief - to be clear about how that awesome power should be used.
Hayes took to Twitter to accuse Obama of attacking a “straw man” and claimed nobody believes that “military intervention is the only way to avoid looking weak”:
Within minutes of the tweet, Hayes criticized Obama's lack of leadership on Ukraine, a foreign policy issue Hayes has said demands military action:
Hayes's tweets make for a striking juxtaposition when placed in the context of his recent critiques of Obama's foreign policy. For example, on the April 23 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Hayes accused Obama of “dithering” in his response to Russia's invasion of Crimea and claimed military intervention would have made him appear “resolute” (via Nexis):
HAYES: [If] we had said when Russia first invaded Crimea, if we had sent troops, hopefully more than 150, to our NATO allies at that time, it would have suggested that the president was resolute, that he was determined not to let Russia push our allies around. Instead what he did was dither for weeks and weeks and weeks on end. And now he does it almost grudgingly and because is he being badgered in part by members of Congress suggesting is he not doing enough, that he sends something that everybody recognizes. The United States, the Obama administration basically has to concede, members of Congress are calling him out on this. Our allies are saying this is just a symbol. This is basically just a symbol.
And on the March 19 edition of the show, Hayes mocked the president for what Hayes perceived to be a reluctance to intervene militarily against Putin in Ukraine.
HAYES: I think the overriding objective for the Obama administration on a number of different fronts, whether you're talking ability Iran, Syria, or Russia, is to avoid military confrontation. We can all understand why he wants to avoid it. Everybody would like to avoid it. But there comes a time where that can't be your leading objective. When you have one of the world's great powers invading other countries or annexing other sovereign states, you have to take that seriously.