The term echoes through the chattering classes as if it has meaning. “What is the Obama Doctrine?” It’s a question being asked by any analyst who wants (desperately) to be taken seriously as we wait for the Presidential address on our latest not-war in Libya. The question seems reasonable on the surface if you are left wondering why we intervene in some places and not others, like this excellent Daily Show routine with John Oliver. But the framework of an “Obama Doctrine” reveals that the asker doesn’t care as much about the situation as their own ability to talk about it – by putting it back into terms a US audience might have a chance of paying attention to.
An “Obama Doctrine” is popular largely because the idea helps people who want to keep their cushy jobs.