Jewish World Review June 13, 2014 / 15 Sivan, 5774
Obama has painted himself into a foreign-policy corner
By Jonah Goldberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Arab Spring is over. Welcome to the Jihadi Spring.
Across a huge swath of what, up until recently, had been known as
ISIS started out as an al-Qaeda franchise, but in 2011 it broke off to become an independent dealer of Islamist mayhem. If anything, it is more extreme than al-Qaeda -- though that fine distinction probably means little to the Shiites and Christians it slaughters.
Late last month, President Obama announced at West Point that we are definitely leaving
The good news is that the administration has a policy to deal with the Jihadi Spring. The bad news is that it looks to be the same policy it had for the Arab Spring: nothing.
Nothing, that is, beyond casting lots of words and Twitter hashtags into the air like so many magic beans that will sprout into peace and security wherever they find purchase.
That's the hitch. This administration's words don't have much traction around the world, or at least where it matters. (He's still popular in
Often, when critics call attention to these and numerous other foreign-policy failures, the president and his defenders will argue that the critics want war. Indeed, in his West Point speech, Obama took a firm and forthright stand against an argument pretty much nobody is making: Military action "cannot be the only -- or even primary -- component of our leadership in every instance."
Even the most rabid hawks (though technically, I don't think birds can get rabies) would never dream of arguing that the military should be the only or primary component of leadership in "every instance."
But this is a clever, albeit grotesquely cynical, ploy. If you give the American people a choice between, on the one hand, doing nothing beyond tweeting slogans and lecturing the "international community" and, on the other, sending American troops into harm's way in the
A better option would be a time machine. That way today's President Obama could go back and give first-term Obama the benefit of his experience. He could tell him that foreign policy should define his talking points, not the other way around. With that foresight, maybe he would have done more to help democracy in
Defenders of the president often ask critics, "Well, what do you want to do?" I'll be honest. I don't know. We have no good options left. I certainly think we should have provided assistance to the (corrupt and pathetic) Iraqi government when they asked for air support last month. But I don't want boots on the ground.
What I really want is that time machine.
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