I wish to respond to Mr Frederick Kissoon’s column of February 27 in KN, titled, ‘Is President Obama wavering?’ Mr Kissoon chided US President Barack Obama for the shifting of his campaign decision to withdraw troops from Iraq in sixteen months to a new time line of nineteen months.
For Mr Kissoon, it represents a dishonest type of politics, which he hopes the new President does not engage in.
I view Obama’s decision on Iraq another way: It was necessary given the context of what was happening on the ground. Obama had to change course and refine his withdrawal plans after consultation with his national security team (including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and CIA director). They must have had convinced him with intelligence data and analysis that a harsh withdrawal would have been detrimental to the security of the US.
I have always favoured a politics of process over the rigidity of watertight and ideological dispositions. In other words, leaders should strive to engage in a politics of context over ideology or universal positions, undermining everything that is fixed, hard and rigid with flexibility, fluidity, and evolution.
There is absolutely nothing deceptive about changing one’s position if the reality or circumstances changes.