Because Obama has none of these elements, the result is lip service and half-measures. Even Obama himself admits it, saying that there is "no American military solution" Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr., director of operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the recent airstrikes "are unlikely to affect [the Islamic State's] capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria."
So, what's the solution? It's essentially the same one that Obama nearly ignored when it was staring him in the face roughly a year ago at the height of the Syrian crisis. He needs to find a reliable, accountable nation-state partner with a vested interest in resolving this conflict.
Obama had been seriously contemplating military action in Syria to curtail civil unrest. Many Americans were contacting their congressional representatives in a panic over the possibility of U.S. troops being sent into battle to resolve a crisis that seemed to come out of nowhere. Then Obama did something right. He called on the assistance of a nation-state (Russia) with much greater proximity and economic ties to Syria to take the lead in resolving the conflict.
Obama needs to repeat the same strategy with Iraq and let go of what will otherwise be inevitable failure -- again. China has the bulk of Iraqi oil contracts. Russia has a vested interest in wiping out Chechen Islamists who have joined the Islamic State in their quest to participate in the nearest available jihadipalooza. Saudi Arabia, a supposed U.S. ally, should be offering to prove its value by snuffing out a regional pest it is largely responsible for having funded (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait funneled money to the Syrian opposition from which the Islamic State evolved.)
There are plenty of other nations capable of doing the heavy lifting in wiping out the Islamic State. Obama needs to start putting America's allies to the test, calling on them to step up and giving them a chance to prove their reliability. How about starting with Saudi Arabia? Let's kick the tires on that special relationship. The Saudis just gave Lebanon $1 billion in aid to beat back the Islamic State domestically. It's a start -- but why isn't Obama insisting on more?