Obama's strategy: Let the next president deal with it

A couple of days ago, President Obama went over to the Pentagon, gave a little chat, but said very little, as reported by Dana Milbank:

Obama did provide the outlines of a comprehensive strategy against the Islamic State. He acknowledged that there can be no solution without a new government in Syria, minus President Bashar al-Assad. He spoke of more support for anti-Islamic State forces. He spoke about the group's threat metastasizing beyond the region.   

But he said little about what he'll do, specifically.

Here is the short version: Obama does not want to get involved and will do air strikes until he flies home to Chicago in 2017.   

The bad news is that Obama's detachment is utterly irresponsible, especially if you agree that ISIS is a threat to the U.S.

The good news for President Obama, and most Democrats, is that the country is not interested in any kind of involvement.  

So he wins politically, but our national security suffers.  

Last, but not least, the Obama "don't bother me with anything serious" presidency may not get so lucky, especially in Syria, as reported by The Washington Post:

IN MAY 2014, President Obama promised a new U.S. effort to train and equip moderate Syrian rebel forces. The next month, the administration asked Congress for $500 million to fund the effort, with the aim of deploying 5,000 U.S.-backed fighters a year for three years. Numerous analysts quickly pointed out two big flaws in the plan: The new force was too small to make a significant difference on Syria’s multi-sided battlefield, and the administration was hamstringing it by insisting that it target only the Islamic State and not the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As so often in his handling of Syria, Mr. Obama dismissed proposals for a more robust approach.

Now, once again, the president is reaping the consequences of his half-measures. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter reported the pitiful result of the training program: After a year, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, just 60 Syrians were enlisted. Meanwhile, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that Israel and Jordan “very much believe [in] the possibility” that the Assad regime could soon collapse, touching off “a foot race” of al-Qaeda and Islamic State forces “converging on Damascus.”

Since the United States has failed to train or support a moderate Syrian force capable of countering the extremists, it has no ready way to prevent that disaster. 

The fall of Damascus?  That would be serious!

There are a couple of things that I want to add:  

1) I can understand that the public is tired and wants to stay away from the Middle East.  My guess is that today's attitudes about the Middle East are similar to the isolationist mood of the late 1930s, when most Americans did not want to get involved in "their war over there."

2) Presidents lead by explaining to voters why it matters to get involved.  President Obama has avoided that kind of preparation of the public for the coming fight.  He has never gone on TV and explained in detailed why Islamic "forces converging on Damascus" matters a great deal.

So here we are.  Our "don't waste my time 'cause I'm going on vacation" president kicks the can forward.  The next guy won't have a place to kick the can to!

P. S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

A couple of days ago, President Obama went over to the Pentagon, gave a little chat, but said very little, as reported by Dana Milbank:

Obama did provide the outlines of a comprehensive strategy against the Islamic State. He acknowledged that there can be no solution without a new government in Syria, minus President Bashar al-Assad. He spoke of more support for anti-Islamic State forces. He spoke about the group's threat metastasizing beyond the region.   

But he said little about what he'll do, specifically.

Here is the short version: Obama does not want to get involved and will do air strikes until he flies home to Chicago in 2017.   

The bad news is that Obama's detachment is utterly irresponsible, especially if you agree that ISIS is a threat to the U.S.

The good news for President Obama, and most Democrats, is that the country is not interested in any kind of involvement.  

So he wins politically, but our national security suffers.  

Last, but not least, the Obama "don't bother me with anything serious" presidency may not get so lucky, especially in Syria, as reported by The Washington Post:

IN MAY 2014, President Obama promised a new U.S. effort to train and equip moderate Syrian rebel forces. The next month, the administration asked Congress for $500 million to fund the effort, with the aim of deploying 5,000 U.S.-backed fighters a year for three years. Numerous analysts quickly pointed out two big flaws in the plan: The new force was too small to make a significant difference on Syria’s multi-sided battlefield, and the administration was hamstringing it by insisting that it target only the Islamic State and not the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As so often in his handling of Syria, Mr. Obama dismissed proposals for a more robust approach.

Now, once again, the president is reaping the consequences of his half-measures. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter reported the pitiful result of the training program: After a year, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, just 60 Syrians were enlisted. Meanwhile, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that Israel and Jordan “very much believe [in] the possibility” that the Assad regime could soon collapse, touching off “a foot race” of al-Qaeda and Islamic State forces “converging on Damascus.”

Since the United States has failed to train or support a moderate Syrian force capable of countering the extremists, it has no ready way to prevent that disaster. 

The fall of Damascus?  That would be serious!

There are a couple of things that I want to add:  

1) I can understand that the public is tired and wants to stay away from the Middle East.  My guess is that today's attitudes about the Middle East are similar to the isolationist mood of the late 1930s, when most Americans did not want to get involved in "their war over there."

2) Presidents lead by explaining to voters why it matters to get involved.  President Obama has avoided that kind of preparation of the public for the coming fight.  He has never gone on TV and explained in detailed why Islamic "forces converging on Damascus" matters a great deal.

So here we are.  Our "don't waste my time 'cause I'm going on vacation" president kicks the can forward.  The next guy won't have a place to kick the can to!

P. S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.