There were so many distortions and blatant inaccuracies in the president’s ISIS strategy speech one wonders where to begin. However, it is not the speech but the so-called strategy that concerns me. The point I want to make in this speech is that President Obama’s ISIS strategy should please no one but ISIS. What the so-called strategy he spelled out actually boils down to is this: Under Obama, the U.S. is going to do very little about ISIS and take a long time to do it. The strategy President Obama presented in his ISIS speech was not a strategy for defeating a dangerous enemy. Rather, it was a strategy for stringing things out until he can step down in 2016 and hand this hot potato over to his successor.
When it comes to dealing with ISIS—or any other foreign-policy issue for that matter—Barack Obama is clearly lost. He has no idea what to do about ISIS or how to go about it if he did know what to do. In this sense, President Obama has much in common with Lyndon Johnson. President Johnson had big plans on the domestic front—albeit misguided plans—that got interrupted by foreign-policy problems he did not care about and had no interest in. Because he wanted to be a domestic-policy president, Lyndon Johnson lost control of his foreign policy responsibilities and allowed the Viet Nam War to become a tragedy rather than a victory. President Obama is just like Johnson in this regard, except the war he has lost control of is now re-emerging in Iraq. As a result, during his entire second term to date, President Obama has appeared to be a politician in over his head who just wants to finish his term and get back to the golf course. In the mold of a spoiled frat-brat, Obama enjoys the perquisites of being president, but is less enamored with the responsibilities.
Barack Obama is a politician through and through. He is not a leader. His purpose in giving the ISIS strategy speech was not to take the first step toward eliminating these animals from the face of the earth, which should be his first concern when it comes to dealing with ISIS. That would have been the purpose of a speech given by a real leader. Rather, President Obama gave the speech for political reasons. To wit, the purpose of the speech was to stop the bleeding, not in Iraq but in America where, politically speaking, his administration and the Democratic Party are doing the bleeding. All his speech really accomplished was to once again show America’s hand to the enemy. Rest assured that the leaders of ISIS have already processed Obama’s speech and gleaned from it plenty of information that will help them plan and time their next moves. In other words, to try to shore up his declining public image Barack Obama is willing to go on national television and tell America’s enemies in the Middle East exactly what he plans to do as well as what he will not do.