Obama is better at targeting Republicans than terrorists
On Nov. 12, President Barack Obama said of ISIS: “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.”
On Nov. 13, ISIS-connected terrorists left 129 people dead and 352 wounded in Paris.
ISIS naturally dominated Obama’s Monday press conference at the G20 summit in Turkey. Yet although the president used the words “leader” and “leadership” fourteen times, the concept was, ironically, absent from his remarks. Speaking with as much passion as an instructional video on waste reclamation, he doubled down on his legacy of inaction, infighting, and incompetence.
The first question came from a reporter for Agence France-Presse: “The equation has clearly changed. Isn’t it time for your strategy to change?”
The president responded, “Well, keep in mind what we’ve been doing.” He then delivered a laundry list of international cooperation, targeted airstrikes, and economic pressure aimed at thwarting the Islamic State. The implication: He’s already on the right track. Nothing needs changing.
Not once did he address what was obvious to the reporter and the world: The Paris atrocity has demonstrated that his ill-defined strategy to “degrade” ISIS is a failure, one that has endangered the Western world and that clearly needs to change.
He grossly caricatured those who take issue with his strategy—or lack thereof—as “a few who have suggested that we should put large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground” and implied that his only option was the current course, “unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.” This rhetoric has become a pattern: When faced with credible criticism, create false choices.
That the president is entirely unwilling to accept the need for improvement or adaptation in the light of this obvious foreign policy failure leads to uncomfortable questions about how insulated from reality the man might be.