Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Failure of Leadership, Part II

On 8/20/14, President Obama managed to break away for a few minutes from his golf game while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, in order to speak about the beheading of US citizen and reporter James Foley. If you did not have an opportunity to see this short speech I will tell you it was passionless - and in stark contrast to Obama's smiling and having good time on the golf course only minutes later. I have often noted, however, that Obama has no class.

Said Obama: "So ISIL (aka ISIS & IS) speaks for no religion...their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents." You see, it is just a coincidence that there are dozens (hundreds?) of Islamic terror groups around the world who just happen to all say they are killing in the name of Islam. So how can Obama actually make such a naively absurd comment?

Part of the answer, no doubt, is his affinity for - and reluctance to criticize - anything Islamic. The words "Islamic terrorism" were banned from use in his Administration. Recall "overseas contingency operations" in its place. Recall the murderer Major Nidal Hassan who acknowledged his Islamic motivation in murdering fellow soldiers - but the White House calling his actions an act of "workplace violence." Obama's affinity for Islam and the Muslim world has been apparent from day one - overstating the contributions of Muslims to the United States and to the world. He constantly mentions the shared values that Islam has with the West - omitting the overwhelming lack of freedom and democracy in almost every Muslim state.

However, one cannot fully understand Obama's naivete without also noting his fundamental belief in leftism and even Marxism. At the end of July, Obama (Fundraisers R Us) spoke to contributors and said this: "Part of people's concern is just the sense that around the world the old order isn't holding and we're not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order that's based on a different set of principles, that's based on a sense of common humanity, that's based on economies that work for all people." His leftism tells him that we all share the same values - a "common humanity." But tens (if not hundreds) of millions Muslims believe in being governed by Shariah law. There is nothing in Shariah law that reflects common values with Western style democracies.

Obama's leftism also tells him that American power has been primarily a source of harm in the world - hence the need for a "new set of principles." But his Marxism tells him that economics ("economies that work for all people") is what motivates people, a Marxist idea lacking in its ability to explain radical Islam. These Muslims are, in fact, motivated by their understanding of Islam. They do not say they are poor people seeking a redistribution of wealth. (Neither was economics motivating the killing fields of Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan or many other murderous operators.)

Obama is proud of the fact that he "ended" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says he was not elected to start another war; and will not rush into another war - comparing himself to Bush. The problem is (even if one disagrees with the Iraq war) Obama acknowledged in 2011 that "...we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people." That does not mean that it was wise on Obama's part to not insist on a status-of-forces agreement, and not leave 10,000 - 15,000 troops in Iraq. 62 years later we still have troops in Korea. 69 years later we have troops still in Japan and Germany. Given the complete turmoil in the Middle East, would it not have been a good idea to leave a stabilizing force?

So now we have ISIS having taken over parts of Iraq and Syria. As noted by the USA Today (8/22-8/24/14), ISIS is better funded, better at the use of social media and propaganda, more experienced, and in control of far more land than Al Qaeda. Obama also said on 8/20/14: "People like this (ISIL) ultimately fail. They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy." Not exactly. As is frequently said - all that is required for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing. When Afghanistan was a failed state run by the Taliban, Al Qaeda was allowed to operate their bases and plan attacks on the US and others. ISIS controls large areas of land that will allow them and other terrorists to plan future attacks. Yet, only days ago Obama acknowledged a lack of US strategy for dealing with ISIS.

CIA Director John Brennan recently told Congress that he believes ISIS is a real threat to the United States of America. According to the latest Pew Research Poll (8/20-8/24/14), 54% of Americans believe Obama is not tough enough when it comes to foreign policy and national security. It appears that British Prime Minister David Cameron has a different approach. Said Cameron: "...the ambition to create an extremist Caliphate in the heart of Iraq and Syria is a threat to our own security here in the U.K...We can't appease this ideology. We have to confront it at home and abroad." And we in the US have to first elect a President willing to acknowledge the worldwide threat of radical Islam; a threat by not only those who engage in violence, but the tens of millions (or more) who support them. For the next 2 years and 5 months we will have to suffer a leader unwilling and/or unable to recognize the nature and seriousness of that threat.