Barring unforeseen events, I predict this statement on ISIS strategy (or lack thereof) from President Obama today will ignite the shitstorm of the week — possibly the year:
President Obama said Monday the United States does not have a complete plan to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying Baghdad needs to show a greater commitment to building a fighting force.
“We don’t yet have a complete strategy,” Obama told reporters during a news conference at the G-7 summit of leading industrial nations in Germany.
He goes on to add some nuance, including the fact that commitments from the Iraqi government are needed to complete the US strategy, and the question was about a specific component of the anti-ISIS campaign. But I guaran-damn-tee you the messaging teams for every single occupant of the GOP clown car will pounce on that first sentence like a thirsty hipster on a small-batch artisan ale from a nanobrewery.
Should the president have made that statement? Well, it’s the truth, apparently. That such a thing can be true nearly a year into the anti-ISIS campaign signals a disconnect in our bipolar politics. Obama appears to be treating the anti-ISIS campaign as somewhat of an afterthought.
My own preference for US foreign policy in the region is to get out, stay out and let the Middle East sort its shit without our interference. But if that’s not possible, a tiny footprint is preferable to reenacting Bush’s bull-in-a-China-shop act.
Some of y’all predicted in another thread that the GOP primary will be all-ISIS all the time — nonstop scaremongering — and I agree. The question is, how will our countrymen perceive it? Will they buy the existential crisis framing of the Goopers? Or will they accept the truth that our options are limited and there are more important priorities anyway? My Magic 8 Ball says, “Don’t count on it.”