I Like Barack: Obama Reminds Historian Brinkley of Eisenhower

July 5th, 2013 8:18 AM

This Fourth of July weekend is turning into an unforseen laff-fest.  Yesterday we had NBC featuring a photo of President Obama making what he might have thought was an assertive hand gesture while discussing the situation in Egypt with his aides.

Today treats us to historian Douglas Brinkley, on Morning Joe, claiming that when it comes to foreign policy, President Obama reminds him of, yes, Supreme-Allied-Commander-turned-President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  View the chuckle-worthy video after the jump.

Brinkley saw the similarity in that Ike ended the Korean War, while Obama wants his legacy to be ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while not starting any new ones.

But Ike maintained peace through strength, and through the credibility and confidence his military career gave him.  As Nancy Gibbs of Time pointed out, when Eisenhower "back-channeled to the Koreans, that he might consider using nuclear weapons to end that war, they believed him." What opponent of America today takes Obama's threats, to the extent he makes any, with much more than a smirk?

Gorbasm alert: When Mika Brzezinski, interestingly, suggested that we'd like to see a bit more of Reagan in Obama's negotiating style, Brinkley again rose to Obama's defense, suggesting Gorbachev was a better negotiating partner for Reagan than is Putin for Obama.  Raise your hand if you think Obama would have successfully stared down the Soviet Union.  Bueller?  Bueller?   


JOE SCARBOROUGH: Douglas Brinkley, a lot of Democrats now, past couple weeks, started talking publicly about how this president is not using the bully pulpit, not rising to the occasion. How is this president doing on foreign policy?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: It's tough on foreign policy. It's still mid-stream. People are right to complain about Syria but he doesn't want to get us brought into another war in the middle east. I think his foreign policy is like Eisenhower. He came in and Ike got us out the Korean war. I think he want his presidency to be I got us out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and did not get us into a war in the Middle East. He wants to be seen as a peace and hopefully prosperity president.

. . . .

NANCY GIBBS:  One of the advantages Eisenhower had that he used was he had more stars than any of the generals he was dealing with and had much more confidence, much more power in the sense, you know, when he back-channeled to the Koreans that he might consider using nuclear weapons to end that war, they believed him.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Look at the foreign policy situations that we're dealing with right now and this president and perhaps at least on the outside, we might want to see negotiating skills that are more Reagan-esque, fair enough?

BRINKLEY: I think that's fair enough. Putin may not be a Gorbachev. In other words, somebody you have to have a partner to deal with. I certainly have more faith in Gorbachev than I do Putin.