Obama Foreign Policy

A problem with “boots on the ground”

Featured image It seems likely that air strikes alone aren’t going to accomplish President Obama’s alleged goal of degrading and destroying ISIS, and almost certain that an air campaign of the low intensity we’ve witnessed so far is inadequate. It also appears that the Iraqi Army and the rebels we support in Syria are not up to the task. Accordingly, if we truly want to degrade/destroy ISIS, or even set it back »

Indecent proposal, nuclear edition

Featured image Keeping up with the news and commentary that followed the interim deal with Iran on its nuclear program late last year, I found the Iranian authorities to be a better source of information than Obama administration spokesmen. The Iranian authorities justifiably elaborated with victors’ pride the concessions they had extracted from the United States and the other parties; the Obama administration preferred to play down the concessions. Since then the »

ISIS Threatens Baghdad

Featured image Iraq’s government is pleading for the return of American troops as ISIS has advanced to within eight miles of Baghdad: Iraqi officials have issued a desperate plea for America to bring US ground troops back to the embattled country, as heavily armed Islamic State militants came within striking distance of Baghdad. Amid reports that Isil forces have advanced as far as Abu Ghraib, a town that is effectively a suburb »

Syria airstrikes off to rocky start; no-fly zone needed

Featured image The Washington Post reports that U.S. airstrikes in Syria have “gotten off to a rocky start.” The primary beneficiary of the strikes, according to Post reporter Liz Sly, is the Assad regime. With ISIS under pressure from U.S. airstrikes, Sly says the regime has been able to focus its resources on the rebels that President Obama hopes, after a year of training, will be able successfully to fight ISIS. One »

The left’s latest joke: First Amendment is a barrier to countering Islamist ideology

Featured image Bill Gertz has a lengthy and fascinating piece in the Washington Free Beacon about what he calls the Obama administration’s failure “to wage ideological war against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists.” Gertz attributes the failure to “fears that attacking [ISIS's] religious philosophy will violate the constitutional divide between church and state.” It seems difficult to believe that the First Amendment explains Obama’s unwillingness to »

Et Tu, Jimmy?

Featured image When Jimmy Carter starts criticizing your foreign policy as weak and indecisive, you are getting to the bottom of the barrel. Jimmy unloaded on Barack Obama yesterday: Former President Jimmy Carter is criticizing President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, saying he has shifting policies and waited too long to take action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In an interview published Tuesday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, »

The Dempsey diagnosis

Featured image Is our campaign against ISIS for real, or is it a phony war? Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey gave the powerful impression of a man resigned to defeat in his interview yesterday with Martha Raddatz on ABC News (video below), discussing the imminent fall of Kobani in Syria. General Dempsey, what’s the plan? We know ISIS is for real. It appears that the constraints under which you are operating may »

Jen Psaki Explains Iraqi Victories [Updated]

Featured image We have had occasion, more than once, to turn a critical eye on Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokesperson. She seems underqualified for the job, to put it gently. Honestly, I have seen Cub Scout troops with better spokesmen. Maybe it’s the fact that her husband is a big deal in the Democratic Party. Or maybe the administration thinks that, given the disarray of its foreign policy, incoherence is a »

Biden misses the significance of Panetta’s criticism

Featured image Joe Biden took a shot at Leon Panetta for criticizing the Obama administration in his forthcoming book, Worthy Fights. The Vice President complained: I’m finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave, write books, which I think is inappropriate. But any rate; no, I’m serious. I do think it’s inappropriate. At least give the guy a chance to get out of office. Biden’s statement is self-serving — unlike »

Speaking of “near certainty”

Featured image Alan Dershowitz’s Wall Street Journal column “The education of a wartime president” is behind the Journal’s subscription paywall but is easily accessible via Google. I learned something from it and urge readers to check it out. It is an important column, deserving of extended discussion in a couple of respects. I want to take it up by annotating it with relevant links. Professor Dershowitz introduces his subject with an Obama »

As ISIS rolled towards Kobani, did Obama squander an opportunity to degrade it?

Featured image As John discusses in the post just below this one, ISIS is fighting its way into Kobani, a large Kurdish city on Syria’s border with Turkey. If ISIS takes Kobani, it will have achieved another major victory and created another humanitarian disaster. As John also notes, U.S. air strikes have failed to halt ISIS’s march on Kobani, and it may be that air strikes could not have done so. Ordinarily, »

Lamer than expected

Featured image Under the byline of Nour Malas, Dion Nissenbaum, and Maria Abi-Habib, the Wall Street Journal assesses the progress of the Obama administration’s air campaign against ISIS so far in the story in the story that appears online under the headline “U.S.-led airstrikes disrupt Islamic state, but extremists hold territory” (behind the Journal’s paywall but accessible via Google). In the newspaper the headline reads “Islamic State proves resilient.” The air campaign »

Netanyahu Instructs Obama and MSNBC

Featured image Yesterday Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC program. While not as obviously loony as some MSNBC hosts, Mitchell is a loyal Democratic Party soldier, and she aggressively parroted Barack Obama’s criticisms of Israel. With his usual cogency, Netanyahu set her straight. It would be nice if Obama would view the tape, but I suspect his ignorance is impenetrable. First, a couple of the exchanges, then on to the video: »

Leon Panetta destroys what little was left of Obama’s excuse for not leaving troops in Iraq

Featured image Following in the footsteps of Robert Gates, his Obama administration predecessor at the Pentagon, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has criticized the president’s handling of a key battleground in the war against Islamic terrorism. Gates’ criticism centered around Afghanistan. Panetta’s focuses on Iraq. In Panetta’s forthcoming memoir “Worthy Fights,” which Time Magazine has excerpted, Panetta argues that Iraqi leaders privately wanted U.S. forces to stay behind after the formal »

Americans Think Obama Is a Wuss

Featured image Rich Lowry on today’s Fox News Poll: The new Fox News poll captures the incredible hawkishness of the American public at the moment. Among likely voters, 74 percent of people say the president hasn’t been tough enough in fighting Muslim extremists; 53 percent favor ground troops if air strikes alone won’t work (and 58 percent think ground strikes alone won’t work); 57 percent think our actions against the Islamic State »

Analyze this

Featured image Our friend Michael Ledeen spoke last night by telephone with Mark Levin on Levin’s radio show to discuss the secret trip undertaken by an emissary to Tehran on behalf of Obama during the 2008 campaign. Jim Hoft picked up on the Levin show segment here and posts the audio (below). In the segment Michael revisits his disclosure of the trip taken by Ambassador William G. Miller to Tehran in 2008 »

By fighting ISIS are we aiding Iran?

Featured image Two of the most insightful commentators around — Cliff May and David Frum — worry that America’s fight (such as it is) against ISIS will assist Iran, our deadly enemy. How valid is this concern? There are two main ways in which Iran might benefit from our “war” against ISIS. First, the war might prompt the U.S. to make concessions to the mullahs in exchange for Iran’s help. The Iranians »