President Obama’s ISIS speech was less about his ISIS strategy than it was about his personal ideology. He made sure we all understood he was not going to send troops to Iraq and he assured us that ISIS is not Islamic. Ruling out troops twice in his speech emphasized his presumptuousness (which got us into this mess in the first place) and refusing to call ISIS Islamic was just politically correct nonsense.
Obama’s presidential campaign centered on pulling our troops out of Iraq, not winning the war, and he put a timetable on doing that with no consideration of future circumstances. He wasn’t interested in victory, having even stated his dislike for that very word and making sure it wasn’t a goal for the U.S. in Afghanistan. His given date for troop removal gave terrorists preparation time, a morale boost, and a goal.
Furthermore, he was not interested in having any troops remain in Iraq and he pulled them all out against military advice. Obama sees our military as representative of U.S. power and influence in the world – and he loathes it. On his “apology tour”, he made it very clear that he was embarrassed by past U.S. actions and promised he was going to “change” our ways. He has accomplished that and, consequently, the U.S. has lost credibility across the globe.
Obama’s distaste for the military is also behind ignoring the red line he set concerning Syria’s use of chemical weapons. His ideology does not allow use of U.S. power, so his red line was just rhetorical bluster which seems to be the bulk of his failing foreign policy. He has previously stated his belief that he was elected to stop wars, not start them, so he is desperately trying to avoid anything remotely resembling military might.
Obama’s ISIS speech was a result of reality forcing its way into his fantasy view of the world. Reluctance to face that reality was evident by his insistence on ideological notions that circumstances could easily prove to be very naive. Time will tell if reality will penetrate further but the “plan” has been revealed to ISIS in more detail than necessary and ISIS will be eager to test Obama’s resolve of no troops…no troops…no troops…
David J. Hentosh