Posted by Curt on 4 September, 2014 at 4:01 pm. 4 comments already!


Rich Lowry:

President Barack Obama’s stated goal in the fight against the Islamic State, aka ISIL, is to reduce it to a “manageable problem.”

What this means, he hasn’t spelled out in great specificity. Presumably fewer beheadings. A slower pace of Western recruiting. Fewer genocidal threats against embattled minorities. A downgrading of the caliphate to a mini-state, or merely a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq.

The evil of ISIL has stirred nearly everyone around President Obama to ringing statements of resolve. Vice President Joe Biden says, “We will follow them to the gates of hell.” Secretary of State John Kerry tweets, “ISIL must be destroyed/will be crushed.”

The president himself? He says it will be “degraded to the point where it is no longer the kind of factor that we’ve seen it being over the last several months.”

Put to the rhythms of Winston Churchill’s famous call to arms in Parliament in June 1940, the Obama posture is, “We shall degrade you, we shall lessen you as a factor, we shall make you manageable, we shall hope that the attention of this great continental nation … turns to something else soon.”

What we have been witnessing the past few weeks, in real time, is the intellectual collapse of Obama’s foreign policy, accompanied by its rapid political unraveling. When Al Franken is ripping you for lacking a strategy against ISIL in Syria, you have a problem.

Obama’s view was that Al Qaeda was holed up in the badlands of Pakistan and you could drone it into submission. Then, if you stopped stirring up hornets’ nests in the Middle East, and demonstrated your good intentions, and pulled entirely out of Iraq and stayed out of Syria, you could focus on “nation building at home” and not worry about places like Mosul and Aleppo.

This, in a nutshell, was the theory of the “don’t do stupid stuff” doctrine.

Every particular was wrong.

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