Over the past several weeks we have listened to the president’s political adversaries criticize his foreign policy. Chief among their complaints was his unwillingness to use military force against ISIS; the Islamic terrorist group that is gobbling up large swaths of Iraqi territory at an alarming pace. Critics like McCain and Graham demanded that the president arm our Kurdish allies to the north. They demanded that he provide humanitarian aid to the 40,000 Christian refugees who fled into the mountains to avoid being slaughtered by ISIS Islamist militants. And they demanded that he bring US military forces to bear to halt any further ISIS’ advances.
As he is want to do…the president took his time to assess the situation; mindful of the country’s unwillingness to engage in another protracted war.
The president eventually decided that he had to act. In recent days he has authorized the delivery of arms to the Kurdish fighters in the north; dropped plane loads of water and MRE’s to the displaced refugees and authorized the US Navy fighter squadrons to target ISIS positions.
And what has the response been from the president’s critics; now that he has essentially given them everything they wanted?
Not one Republican has had the political courage to publically back his actions.
Democrats are equally guilty. Fearful of the political fallout certain to arise from any military engagement in Iraq, the president’s party has sat on their hands. All except Hillary Clinton who decided that this was the politically opportune time to say that all of this upheaval in Iraq could have been prevented had the president been willing to arm the Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Assad in Syria. (Yes, it’s complicated.)
And then there are America’s allies in Europe and the Middle East. France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan…all silent. Even the Brits…fearful of a reenactment of Tony Blair blindly following George Bush down the rabbit hole…have tucked their heads and turned their backs.
Because they know that the president’s limited response is but a political band aid on a cancerous tumor. They know that more will be required…much more…if terrorism is to be eradicated from the face of the earth. It will require both a military and diplomatic solution. It will be a long, heavy slog.
Our allies want nothing to do with it. They want the US to do the heavy lifting.
America is the world’s indispensible nation. The world sits and waits for us to act. We have fostered that dependency since end of WWII. Our internal politics breeds international distrust. Our politics no longer stops at the water’s edge. Our allies wonder if we can’t stand behind our own president what guarantee is there that we will stand behind them. Yet they prefer us to do the lifting rather than take on the burden.
The president stands alone.
A truly sad state of affairs.