“Not likely under any circumstances to actually do what has to be done”

An piece from Shadow Government blog asks how much President Obama is willing to do to defeat ISIS, “As terrorists multiply their attacks and increase their intensity, public discourse in the United States has grown more coarse and unproductive. Critics continue to pound U.S. President Barack Obama, so he changes the subject to Syrian refugees and calls his opponents cowards for being afraid to let women and children into the country — never mind that the public is with his critics. He has also said that criticism of his policies is succor to the Islamic State. These kinds of responses, the president seems to have decided, are better than dealing with his critics head on and engaging them in rational debate. None of this is going to help us defeat the terrorists, so maybe it is time for a reset on both sides and see what can be agreed upon”.

Interestingly the piece notes that Obama is losing support of the public, “Attacks on Obama’s foreign policy are coming quite literally from all quarters. They are prompted by the horror of the Syrian civil war, where a dictator remains in power after a U.S. president says he has to go; the re-emergence of Russia as a great power in the Middle East; and above all, by the establishment of the barbaric Islamic State caliphate with its tentacles spreading across Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. The attacks come from Republicans, retired diplomats, and retired military, but that is not a big surprise. The public is also weighing in via polls that show majorities want more action against Islamic terrorist groups like the Islamic State, anda recent NBC News poll shows them actually supporting more troops on the ground in the Middle East — 65 percent, in fact. That is also not a surprise given Obama’s low poll numbers”.

Worse for Obama the writer makes the point that “But attacks from leaders in his own party are proliferating as they begin to differ with him in public. We can guess that if Democrats like Sen. DianeFeinstein are disputing with him in public, they have likely been doing so in private for a while. We also know that Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were not on the same page regarding Syria and with her recent advocacy for possibly putting more boots on the ground to defeat the Islamic State, she, too, counts as a critic. One of the harshest Democratic critics is former Amb. Mark Ginsberg. His critique is rather bracing, as were his news media appearances. Frustration is building in Obama’s own party for him to do more to defend our interests and support the civilised world against the barbarity being loosed on it”.

The author then makes the point that “the president and his critics could set aside their disagreements and work to find a common ground for the next year that can actually begin to erode the success of the terrorists. In other words, we know this commander-in-chief very well now after seven and a half years. He holds to an ideology that finds the United States and other Western powers over the centuries to be the cause and not the solution to the world’s problems. Therefore, we know that he is not going to do anything with the military that he does not absolutely have to do and that means he is not likely under any circumstances to actually do what has to be done: go to the caliphate and wipe it out. In these circumstances, the most we can expect of the United States is to perform some sort of holding action”.

He suggests three methods to help defeat ISIS, “the president can double down on disrupting the Islamic State’s revenue streams from the sale of oil. Experts at the Rand Corporation and other think tanks have commented on this. All relevant agencies of the U.S. government should converge on this task as we have with other malefactors before. Moreover, the president’s guidance to the military that hamstrings them by ordering them not to risk civilian lives must be amended; civilians trafficking in oil for the Islamic State should be legitimate targets. The Pentagon should continue bombing raids targeting the entire chain of illicit oil sales. U.N. resolutions, NATO actions, or just unilateral U.S. actions are all called for to break up the oil economy of the Islamic State. But it is not just the commodity of oil that the caliphate relies on”.

He adds “Second, the administration can work to harm the Islamic State’s image by intensified targeting of its personnel, particularly leaders, wherever they are. Leaders are replaceable but at some point if enough of them die in fiery explosions, the bloom may begin to fade from the rose”.

Finally he writes “Third, the president can call upon all moderate Muslims to denounce the Islamic State and all radical violent Islamists. Yes, I know that in the administration’s eyes this would be a tacit admission that Islam has a problem if you are calling on Muslims to rebuke their own, but he doesn’t have to admit that. Besides, a few moderate leaders already have spoken up; they should be encouraged with public embraces from the White House and the West generally. As to imams like the one in Minnesota who refuses to criticize the Islamic State, the White House should take him and others like him to task; after all, Obama doesn’t spare Christian leaders when he wants to rebuke or shame them”.

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