If I didn’t know any better, I could have sworn President Barack Obama channeled his predecessor President George W. Bush in his statement authorizing air strikes on Iraq. After blaming Bush for his fledging presidency all these years, I guess Obama has Bush on the brain.
Obama used the word “terrorists” six times to describe the Islamic State (ISIS) and to explain to the American people he took military action in Iraq to “save the lives of Americans” and save face with the world. What face America has left.
Why is Obama suddenly ditching the term “Islamic extremists” and calling ISIS terrorists but won’t call Hamas terrorists, even though they are designated such by the State Department? Obama also was loath to call the terrorists who killed our diplomats in Benghazi terrorists from the start.
Could it be because Obama's foreign policy approval rating approval rating on foreign policy has dropped to an all time low of 36 percent? What makes the situation in Iraq so dire to compel Obama to take decisive military action when he hasn’t in five years?
Other crises around the world (Ukraine, Gaza, Syria, Arab Spring, Iran) have placed “American citizens at risk” and required America’s leadership “to underwrite the global security and prosperity that our children and our grandchildren will depend upon,” as Obama said but he did nothing.
Yet that’s what he told the Iraqi people. Obama sudden action in Iraq makes his foreign policy look like Jell-O—all over the place with no strategy except “to resist calls to turn time and again to our military.”
I understand ISIS is a super terrorist organization, entrenched in Iraq, killing Christians and religious sect Yezidis by the thousands and determined to create a terrorist state. But for the past two years, Obama sat on the sidelines of inaction in Syria where these same terrorist groups along with others like al-Nursa threaten the world.
President Obama’s remarks justifying “targeted” airstrikes against ISIS strong holds in Iraq sounded like revisionist history of his administration’s foreign policy. Obama displayed a hawkish, cowboy tone more reminiscent of Bush’s post 9/11 foreign policy, when America was the world’s defender of liberty and freedom.
“So let me be clear about why we must act, and act now . . . in this case, a request from the Iraqi government and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye,” declared Obama.
He added: “We can also lead with the power of diplomacy, our economy and our ideals.”
This sounds a lot like Bush’s foreign policy of engagement on all cylinders, which the Obama has routinely condemned and his actions don’t back up his words.
Obama took no action against Iran when elections were rigged in 2009 and dragged his feet on Iran’s nuclear program. Obama took no action during the Arab Spring when countries like Egypt went through regime change and the radical Muslim Brotherhood took root. In fact, Obama reluctantly joined airstrikes against Libya to help oust Gadhafi, only after Britain and France took the lead.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed over 100,000 civilians and displaced nearly 6 million Syrian refugees. Obama took no action, kept redrawing red lines in the sand with Assad and outsourced diplomacy to Russian President Vladimir. America’s lack of diplomacy with Ukraine when it was trying to join the European Union further emboldened Putin to invade Crimea, start a war to takeover Ukraine which lead Russian separatists to bomb a commercial airliner.
Finally, the Middle East is in tatters with a war raging between Israel and the Palestinians because Obama will not unequivocally denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization and assure Israel “America is coming to help,” as he told the Iraqis. One reason Obama gave for striking Iraq was he was protecting American lives against terrorists yet he condemns Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for defending Israelis against terrorist attacks from Hamas.
Obama said these airstrikes, about which he consulted with Congress for a change, are needed “to address this humanitarian crisis.” The president can spin this military action however he wants, but I’m sure “innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale” in Gaza, Syria, Ukraine and other conflicts, which Obama has avoided, are thinking America cannot be counted on.
Obama channeled his inner Bush again, stating, “America has made the world a more secure and prosperous place,” but not under Obama’s presidency. In the president’s insistence America take a back seat on the international stage, bad actors have filled the void and the world is in upheaval.
There was a time when “people all over the world looked to the United States to lead.” While the president professed and proclaimed, “We support our allies when they’re in danger,” Obama’s disdain for “upholding international norms” has made the world realize it can’t count on America anymore.