This must be a difficult time for liberals, Democrats and all other flavors of Obama followers. Their hero, their icon, the man whose destiny it was to fulfill their dreams has transmorgrified into, dare I say it, Barack W. Obama!
Yes, Obama, in his ISIS-fighting identity, is now the intellectual equivalent to not just George W. Bush, but , again, dare I say it, Vice President Dick Cheney. Consider how Obama’s stance on the ISIS terrorists essentially mimics the Bush doctrine:
He acknowledges this is a long war to be fought with myriad methods.
The stage is global.
The primacy is to fight this war on their turf, not ours.
We would prefer to fight with allies but will go it alone if we must, and per Gen. Martin Dempsey, we may even use ground troops.
We reserve the right to strike pre-emptively.
In all its essentials, this is the Bush doctrine. We have come full circle. Remember, the Obama candidacy was premised first, last, and middle on his opposition to Bush’s policies regarding the war in Iraq. That was the “stupid” war.
Obama stoutly maintained he wouldn’t have voted for it—though it should be remembered he didn’t have to vote one way or the other—and thoroughly trashed Hillary Clinton for her support of that war. Now, he mimics Bush in ways large and small, particularly regarding his justifications.
It is significant that not only have our strikes been fairly widespread (e.g., bombing Syrian targets, particularly a shadowy al-Qaeda cell in northwest Syria on the first night of strikes), but also the rationale and defense of them has been, well, “Bushian.” The administration explained its strikes against the cell as a strike against an “imminent danger.” This is a neat parallel of the Bush-Cheney reasoning, as well as a complete abandonment of his heretofore assertion that al-Qaeda had been “significantly degraded.”
To be optimistic—and it is hard, but I’ll try it—let us hope this is the beginning of wisdom for our community organizer-in-chief. Perhaps, finally, he has understood his first responsibility: to safeguard this country, its allies and our interests. You don’t do that by unilateral withdrawal, ceding international leadership and issuing hollow threats. Congratulations.
To echo his wife on another occasion, for the first time ever in the conduct of his foreign policy, I’m proud of Obama and support his actions—though in truth there is much to criticize in execution. His instinct to save U.S. ground troops for a last resort is also admirable, though I am skeptical that the commitment can be kept.
The truth of the matter is that we are all safer when the Islamists fear American and Israeli power. When that power is connected to resolve and a clear strategy, it is all the better. That being too much to hope for, I will settle for a president who, at minimum, has recognized the threat from ISIS and has gone, at least partways, to move beyond the straightjacket of his campaign rhetoric to a recognition of the real burden of a superpower.