Is the Obama administration speaking with too many voices on U.S. foreign policy these days -- with Vice President Joe Biden an especially acute problem?
The White House is doing a lot of walking back of public comments lately -- of Biden's assertion that Russia is a has-been global power; of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's suggestion that the U.S. might want to create a "defense umbrella" over the Middle East to counter Iran's ambitions in the region; of Biden's earlier remark that Israel might have a green light from the U.S. on militarily taking out Iran's nuclear program. Some analysts have welcomed Biden's candor on Russia, for example, as a refreshing glint of truth -- he said that "they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable." But others say Biden is only complicating President Obama's efforts to "reset" the U.S-Russia relationship on friendlier and more pragmatic ground.
Should Obama muzzle Biden and others on his team? Is part of the problem the president's "special envoy" approach to hot-button regions, and do the mixed messages point to a wider confusion in the administration's foreign policy approach?