Obama Aug 28 APImagine, if you will, a situation where a sitting U.S. president goes before the world and says he “doesn’t have a strategy” for dealing with a terrorist group that has created a budding Islamic Caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. Imagine if only months earlier that president had referred to the terrorists he doesn’t have a strategy for as a “jayvee” basketball team. Now imagine that president’s name was George W. Bush. What do you think would happen to him?

The world knows exactly what would happen to George W. Bush because the echoes of those mocking “Mission Accomplished” still bounce off the walls of cable news studios on a regular basis. Say what you will about the prudence of using the “Mission Accomplished” sign, it was still employed after a successful wartime strategy led to the ouster of Saddam Hussein. For Islamic State’s control over large swathes of Syria, Mr. Obama admits that he has no strategy.

An excerpt from the president’s statements to the press on Aug. 28 reads:

Press Question: Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?

Obama: I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as Commander-in-Chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress. And I do think that it will be important for Congress to weigh in, or that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.

But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are.

Perhaps the reason why Mr. Obama does not currently have a strategy is because it was only six months ago that he was flippantly making Kobe Bryant jokes about the same men who would come to behead American photojournalist James Foley. The president scoffed at the notion that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his followers were not a force to be taken lightly, and now the border between Iraq and Syria has essentially melted — sort of like Mr. Obama’s “red line” in Syria. The border between the two countries is essentially gone, and in its place is a well-funded, well-armed terrorist group that somehow manages to make al Qaeda skittish.

Perhaps even more hilarious (or terrifying), was the spin that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest tried to put on Mr. Obama’s remarks immediately after the damage had been done.

On CNN he said:

“I just want to be clear about what our strategy is. The president’s clear in that this strategy is one that’s not going to solve this problem overnight. But he’s also clear about the fact that our strategy can’t only be the American military,” he continued. “We have a comprehensive strategy for dealing with ISIL. One component of our broader strategy is the use of military force.”

Notice anything missing from the guy whose plan is to just say “strategystrategystrategystrategystrategy”? If you said “an actual strategy,” then give yourself a pat on the back. It would be as funny as Kevin Nealon’s old “Mr. Subliminal” skits on Saturday Night Live if it wasn’t real.

And speaking of SNL, one should take note of longtime writer Jim Downey, who said of attempts to make fun of Mr. Obama in his book “Live from New York”:

“If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, ‘Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10. […] It’s like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled. There’s not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature.”

If you think that SNL has slipped over the years, perhaps it’s because they consider a guy who is capable of saying “We don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with an army of radical Islamic terrorists to be a “10 point 10” in terms of comedic difficulty.

Regardless, it is game over for Obama on foreign policy, and that is no laughing matter.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

4 comments

  1. I always get a kick out of him reminding us he is “commander in chief” every time he can, in seemingly every press conference; I would think part of “command” would be having a strategy, or at least come up with one when something arises. This has gone on for quite some time (the ISIS situation) and nothing about a strategy.

    One person can’t do everything by themselves, and clearly running a nation is a huge undertaking; part of the presidency is appointing good people around you that are trustworthy. Either they aren’t doing their job helping form a policy; or he isn’t listening….which means maybe the wrong people are in there if he can’t trust them after five years. I just wonder if they are overwhelmed.

    I’ve always agreed with your assesment that the power brokers over there are bad guys and even worse guys. Which is a shame because I’m sure millions just want to live peaceful lives. This whole lead from behind thing and general lack of a plan causes a bigger vacuum and the strong armed groups fill it. A couple victories and the confiscation of weapons can make the JV team a varsity team pretty quick.

    1. That’s the thing: The Syrian Civil War has gone on since 2011, if I’m not mistaken. Over 200,000 people have died. Islamic State didn’t just appear out of nowhere this past January.

      My guess is that he’s been given plenty of options, but he doesn’t like them. He’s a political creature and a community organizer in a situation that calls for a leader. Leaders take hits on the chin. They make tough choices. Mr. Obama seems averse to ever showing real leadership, which may also be one of the reasons that he’s such a fan of the “lead from behind” philosophy.

      Say you’re an Islamic State terrorist or Vladimir Putin and you’re watching this guy. What are you doing? You’re laughing your butt off. It pains me to say that, but it’s true.

      I heard Mark Steyn the other day talking about the president and he said something along the lines of: the world’s bad actors view Mr. Obama as the real “jayvee team.” It’s true.

    2. I see the British elevated their terror threat today. Putin has had problems with terrorism. China has had terrorism issues in its western provinces. This isn’t just a US problem….someone should take the lead and combat this.

    3. I do find it odd that there are so many individuals who essentially say that the United States, Europe, Israel, Russia, and China all have an irrational fear of radical Islamic terrorists…

      No one likes to have uncomfortable discussions. In this case, avoiding that discussion means more people are going to die horrible deaths at that hands of barbarians.

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