“I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated,” Obama said while refusing to retract his initial opposition to the surge. “I’ve already said it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”This quote is absurd on many levels, but here are two thoughts:
1 - The surge did not "[succeed] in ways that nobody anticipated". It in fact succeeded in the ways that the military strategists who devised it had anticipated. The goals (broadly) of the surge were to reduce the internecine violence that was rife, and set the conditions for democratic governance. When Petraeus et al set forth with the "Surge", this is the result they "anticipated". Had it not been, then they probably would not have executed the plan. Perhaps someone should tell Mr. Obama that you only execute a strategy with the anticipation of success, not with the anticipation of failure.
2 - Military and National Security strategies, when properly done, are not based upon "wild dreams". Perhaps this best demonstrates the difference on how the two ends of the political spectrum devise these strategies. On the left, strategy is often based on "our wildest dreams". This "peace-in-our-time", "can't-we-all-just-get-along approach". Somehow this is now referred to as "realism". Unfortunately, "Hope" is not a strategy. The surge was not based on the hope that we could be victorious, or the wild dream that we could succeed, it was built on many hours of sober and realistic assessments of the existing situation, and study of what had succeeded in the past.
Unfortunately, our future may hold security strategy that is based on the "wildest dreams" that the Iranians will give up their quest for nuclear weapons based on our newly installed, and ever so hopeful Ivy League diplomats. Or based on the "hope" that Russia will play nice if we simply ignore their attempts to re-annex portions of other sovereign nations.
A sober review of history will reveal that this sort of approach does not have a record "[succeeding] in ways that nobody anticipated". But rather it has a disturbing tendency to "fail in ways that many anticipated", except for those who were implementing the approach.
Once again, Hope is not a strategy.