Sunday, February 8, 2015

Obama's Middle East Fantasy

link - Eli Lake/Bloomberg View
...the new strategy is a rich stew of feel-good euphemism. As the New York Times reported, the word "lead," "leadership" or some variation appears nearly 100 times. The word "Islam" is only mentioned twice. There is a lot of "training" and "equipping." Rest assured, our "efforts" are almost always "comprehensive."

...If Obama really wants to address everything from inequality to political repression to disaffected youth, he will have to jettison his faith in the wisdom of his own disengagement from the Middle East. Yet the strategy document suggests Obama has not learned this lesson. Indeed, it boasts of how the administration shifted away from costly and unsustainable ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to what it calls a more "sustainable approach" to fighting terrorism.

There are good reasons to support America's disengagement from the region. But to pretend this disengagement will have no cost on America's ability to shape events in the Middle East is delusional.

Because the reality is this: For all of the problems posed by significant U.S. ground forces in the Middle East, it is the only option right now if Obama wishes to stop the advance of the Islamic State without aiding the advance of the Islamic Republic of Iran.