March 23, 2016

"It is not working. President Obama’s slow-but-steady strategy to defeat the Islamic State..."

"... is clawing back a little territory in Syria and Iraq but is doing nothing to dent the charismatic appeal of the militant group, disrupt its propaganda or prevent it from killing Europeans.... Since the Paris attack, Obama has insisted that an anti-Islamic State coalition with European and other allies is getting the job done. More than 20 percent of the group’s territory has been recaptured. The president has suggested that more radical military action to crush the militants — essentially the deployment of infantry — would drag the United States into another Middle Eastern war and increase the appeal of the Islamic State. His argument has been: Defeating the Islamic State is militarily feasible, but then what? This is a very high-risk policy — too high in my view. It allows the Islamic State to strut its pure evil in and from Raqqa. The Obama approach posits that the Islamic State can be beaten before European and American societies are undermined.... But today at least the West’s ponderous wait-them-out approach to the murderous fanatics of the caliphate looks like capitulation."

Writes Roger Cohen, a NYT columnist. And another NYT columnist made a similar move. Here's Thomas L. Friedman:
Obama’s primary goal seems to be to get out of office being able to say that he had shrunk America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, prevented our involvement on the ground in Syria and Libya, and taught Americans the limits of our ability to fix things we don’t understand, in countries whose leaders we don’t trust, whose fates do not impact us as much as they once did.... Initially, I thought Obama made the right call on Syria. But today the millions of refugees driven out of Syria — plus the economic migrants now flooding out of Africa through Libya after the utterly botched Obama-NATO operation there — is destabilizing the European Union..... Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama....

162 comments:

Brando said...

It's a stupid strategy chosen because they can publicly proclaim "results" every time they bomb something and claim to have killed some master terrorist. But a far better strategy would be beefing up intelligence assets and infiltrating these groups, assassinating and foiling their members until they become as defunct as the KKK. Destroy them from within, and force their members to live in constant fear of everyone around them. It's far more effective than periodic bombings from above that do nothing to reduce their hold on the communities that live in more fear of them than faith in us.

Of course, that strategy is cloaked in darkness and doesn't give you the fun press conferences, which of course is far more important than actually cracking these groups like a coconut.

Freder Frederson said...

Cohen and Friedman are always eager to let someone else's child die in unwinnable wars. "Just six more months and we will win". How many times did Friedman say that?

sydney said...

He has a strategy?

Paul said...

"Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama."

Oh but he is being Barack Obama. Weak, feckless, and incompetent.

AllenS said...

What on earth did those two idiots expect from a community organizer?

Freder Frederson said...

But a far better strategy would be beefing up intelligence assets and infiltrating these groups

Yeah, good luck with that.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The cynic in me says that this is battlespace prep for the Clinton campaign to show that her support of the use of force in Iraq was a wise policy move.

Big Mike said...

"Incompetent and feckless." Isn't that what Hillary Clinton is supposed to have called him in a boozy rant? Not that she's any better.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Freder Frederson

You beat me to it.

According to what I've read, most of the terrorists, the leaders at least, have tribal affiliations and you have to be vetted. In addition, if, for some reason, someone did betray them, the betrayers family would be toast.

It isn't like "Team America: World Police" where you can disguise yourself, speak a little Arabic, and be invited in with open arms.

Nonapod said...

"thinking about how to be Barack Obama"

Weird phrase. I don't generally think about how to be myself.

Obama doesn't particularly like having to deal with foreign policy. His starting premises have always been "Everything is ultimately America's fault" and "American interventionism is Bad". Therefore his policy has been apologize and pull back, drone things from a safe distance, and abdicate territory to savages. As a general policy it's childlike, risible, and destructive but he will never change.

n.n said...

There was positive progress after removing Hussein, before premature evacuation, before progressive wars, before impulsive regime changes, before backing terrorist democracies, and before the mass exodus of native people (aka "refugee crises").

Steve Uhr said...

Problem goes well beyond Obama. Belgium interior manager: "we never could have imagined something of this scale."

tim in vermont said...

Maggie Thatcher redux, up to and including putting the coal miners out of jobs.

khesanh0802 said...

If you've lost Thomas Friedman you've lost America! Actually one area of the globe that Friedman has some expertise in is the ME. Particularly Syria. So what I said initially is true.

dreams said...

Mark Steyn was way more prescient than Althouse who in one of her a blog posts a few years ago seemed to dismiss his warning about the ongoing destruction of our way of life. He was right and she was wrong.

Paco Wové said...

"Maggie Thatcher redux"

???

Somehow I can't see Obama fighting for the Falklands (among other things).

tim in vermont said...

Hillary is dictating the NY Times editorials now, no surprise.

M Jordan said...

While I agree with much of what Friedman wrote here, I cannot give this man any credit for anything. He is the person who helped me to find some reason to support Bush's invasion into Iraq. He wrote that it was Bush telling the Muslim world, we will fight you on terrorism on your soil, even if we have to invent some rationales to do it. I grudgingly accepted this logic. Then, when sentiment turned against that war, Friedman cut and ran.

I despise the man.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

NSFW (cause of one obscenity)

https://vimeo.com/29763708

dreams said...

"~When America Alone came out in 2005, I was interviewed by Michelle Malkin about this very subject. Today she's re-posted that interview:

"Today's bloody jihad attacks in Brussels are yet another stark reminder that the Islamization of Europe didn't happen overnight...

Ten years ago, I sat down with the incomparable Mark Steyn for an interview about Europe, Islam, demographics, and his trenchant and timeless book, America Alone."

http://www.steynonline.com/7493/tomorrow-civilizational-cringe-today

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Also NSFW, but perhaps more on point about infiltrating terrorist cells

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK0Vo-rK1dM

Chuck said...

A personal question for you, Professor Althouse...

I see you posting a couple of items from the New York Times every week. A Maureen Dowd column, or a Tom Friedman column, another columnist, or perhaps a news item; often with you flagging one of the leading comments.

Your posts are useful to me, because I am a Wall Street Journal subscriber, and I don't read the Times much. (At least I am not reading the Times as much as I used to, before the Journal became less of a financial paper and more of a general features newspaper, and thereby became my own conservative "Times.") I get a fair bit of interesting insight into the Times readership through you and for that I am grateful to you.

But I must say, for every Althouse-interesting feature you post from the Times, there are usually four or five from the Journal that are more interesting, more jarring, and less jargon. I can't remember the last Journal column that you've posted. Remember the circulation numbers: Journal = 2,117,796; Times = 916,911. People might laugh at paper-circulation numbers, but I suspect that online views reflect the same advantage for the Journal.

khesanh0802 said...

@nonapod Agree. Obama has demonstrated over and over that he is no good at foreign policy. Yet everyone is worried about Trump's supposed lack of foreign policy chops. How could Trump be worse? Does anyone think he would go to Cuba with no reciprocity from the Cubans; or perhaps he would allow himself to be out negotiated by the Iranians; or that when he drew a "Red Line" he would not enforce it; or that Russia would be able to annex Crimea without having its toes stepped on somewhere else?

traditionalguy said...

But what if B. Hussaine Obama was a Muslim secret agent bought and paid for by Saudi Arabian Bin Laden family when they were not buying and paying for Madrasshs and Mosques in the USA staffed with Jihad Preachers and suicide Bombers to fly one way hijacked Airplane bombs?

That would explain the Smiling Creep more than Blair can.

Michael said...

It is hard to defend things effectively that you don't really believe in - in this case, the Liberal Order, America's position in the world, and Western Civilization itself. If you are raised on Howard Zinn, Edward Said, and critical whatever theory, you will be confused and helpless before the real evils of the world.

Curious George said...

Remember Obama's Cairo speech?

What happened? NASA's fault?

David said...

Friedman: "Initially, I thought Obama made the right call on Syria. But today the millions of refugees driven out of Syria — plus the economic migrants now flooding out of Africa through Libya after the utterly botched Obama-NATO operation there — is destabilizing the European Union..... "

Mea sorta culpa. It may be more accurate to say that the refugee flux is exposing and exacerbating the already existing instability of the EU, but the effect is similar. We have the same kind of instability in American politics right now, but our Union is much older, much stronger and much more beneficial to the various states. Underlying all of this is cultural confusion. We lack a consensus on how to deal with the threat. Large and influential parts of our population are unwilling to insist that formerly bedrock cultural norms be applied while having no substitute for those.

Culture can drive events, but events can also drive culture. Despite 9/11 and subsequent developments we have not had an event or events that transform our view of what is acceptable. Right now a genocidal war in Syria is acceptable to our nation. That war may spark the event that changes our view of what we will accept, and what power we should use to oppose the unacceptable. Or it may not, in which case we likely will get something worse.

David Begley said...

Not working? He's not even trying!

Barack is a basketball fan. He's stalling and looking to run out the clock.

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curious George said...

"It is not working. President Obama’s [enter policy] strategy to [enter promised goals] is doing nothing but [list FUBAR result].

President Clusterfuck

AllenS said...

Mr. Begley, they have a shot clock. If you don't shoot the ball within 30 seconds (NCAA) so it hits the metal ring, you turn the ball over to the other team.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Kesanh0802

Obama's ineptitude with foreign policy is explained by his sincere belief that all enmity against the US is motivated by historic grievances arising from the West's in general and the US in particular exploitation and colonialism against the rest of the world and that we need to make amends for our actions by addressing the rest of the world's just demands for reparation.

That other nations might have interests that don't coincide with the US, or that they might have different values arising from cultural influences and ways of seeing the world does not seem to be a factor in his thinking.

Thus, stupid statements about Putin not being able to discern what Russia's interests are and being on the wrong side of history.

He is a provincial thinker who cannot conceive that his western, secular, pretend democratic but actually pretty technocratic authoritarian, values which only a small number of people have ever held historically, are not universal.

Bobby said...

khesanh0802,

"Obama has demonstrated over and over that he is no good at foreign policy. Yet everyone is worried about Trump's supposed lack of foreign policy chops. How could Trump be worse?"

I'm no defender of the Obama Administration's foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East - even relative to the last forty years of US foreign policy making (which I would assess as "generally bad"), the current administration's foreign policy is a disaster.

However, I could imagine numerous plausible scenarios where Trump "could" be worse. I'm not saying he would be worse, or even that he likely would be worse, but could? Absolutely. And I could pull from numerous Trump quotes to demonstrate any of those scenarios, if you're actually interested.

AllenS said...

Bobby, who do you think is more apt to bomb the fuck out of other countries, Trump or Clinton?

Bobby said...

traditionalguy,

"But what if B. Hussaine Obama was a Muslim secret agent bought and paid for by Saudi Arabian Bin Laden family when they were not buying and paying for Madrasshs and Mosques in the USA staffed with Jihad Preachers and suicide Bombers to fly one way hijacked Airplane bombs?"

Well, if so, Saudi Arabia got a terrible return on their investment when Obama made the nuclear deal with Iran. No one- not even Israel- is more opposed to the Iran deal than are Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

Di you perhaps mean to suggest that he was bought off by the Iran?

matthew49 said...

Obama's goals are to diminish the influence of the United States in the world and to advance the cause of Islam. Given those aims, his strategy does not seem to be the failure that most of the commenters are assuming it to be.

Dan Hossley said...

"It's not working"...why limit oneself to his ISIS strategy? The Russian reset isn't working either. The pivot to Asia isn't working either. Obamacare isn't working either. Do you see a pattern developing?

Bobby said...

AllenS,

Just "bombing the fuck" out of other countries does not necessarily solve the problem, and- if not carefully executed- it can have negative long-term consequences for US interests. I say that as one who has served nine tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

AllenS said...

Please answer the question.

Unknown said...

You would think that after 2 failed wars in muslim countries which cost the US tax-payer trillions of dollars that even rabid neo-con Republicans would shout from the rooftops, "No more wars. No more wars". But, no. Just lets have another war here and there in the Middle-East and we can sort out the problem just like that.

Our country - the USA - lost 2 wars in the Middle East against enemies who had miniscule fractions of the military of the US. What the heck does this say?

Obama has had it right from day one - stay out of the Middle East and get the homeland back to economic greatness which he has made great progress on with one-hand tied by Congress behind his back.

Kansas City said...

The thinking of President Obama is a mystery on so many levels. He is not an honest person, so it seems like the best insight is when he inadvertently reveals his thoughts, not through his prepared statement. Yesterday, he said the "whole purpose" of terrorism is to make people change their ordinary activities. That may well reflect what he actually thinks and, Hayden said this morning, Obama may not consider terrorism like yesterday to be a bid deal. But no, that is not the whole purpose or even the principal purpose.

The mystery extends to ISIS. He sort of says the right thing, i.e., destroy ISIS, but he has not taken the action necessary for that result.

It may be that he honesty feels robust military intervention in the Middle East is inherently a bad idea, so he will not seriously consider it. He does not state his view that way exactly, but his actions seem to reflect it.

One of the most interesting aspects of our ISIS policy is the naïve view that things like social media, Guantanamo and jobs are important factors in defeating ISIS and especially in hurting their recruitment efforts. It always seems so obvious to me that the way to kill the ISIS recruiting effort is to kill ISIS people. They recruit well when they are winning, and they will recruit poorly when they are obviously losing. If ISIS is perceived as losing big time, their recruitment will dry up. When they win and govern a large land mass, they will recruit effectively. What scares me is the possibility that Obama, Kerry, Clinton etc. honestly don't understand such a basic proposition and genuinely believe the other stuff is key to stopping recruiting success.

David Begley said...

Allen S

Obama grew up in the pre-shot clock days. He knows the North Carolina stall.

David Begley said...

It is a sad day in the White House when the smart crowd concedes that Obama did a lot of "stupid shit."

Good thing Obama didn't pay any price for his own stupidity.

AllenS said...

Ah, Unknown, you realize that Obama has been sending troops to Iraq, don't you? Are you ok with him bombing other countries in the Middle East?

mccullough said...

MENA is Europe's shit show. These were their colonies and they invited the vampires into their countries and continue to do so. And they don't spend what they are required to spend on defense as NATO members.

Our job is to screen Muslims who come to the US, whether as tourists, students, workers, and most especially as immigrants so thoroughly that we don't end up like Europe.

We already have 5,000 US troops in Iraq and drop bombs everyday on ISIS. We are doing more than enough. The Europeans aren't. The need to drastically change their approach to immigration, clean out their Muslim ghettoes, build up their intelligence, counter-terrorism, and military capabilities. If they have to cut their social welfare spending, so be it. First it was Al-Qaeda, now it's ISIS, and soon it will be some other group. The problem is radical Islam. They actually take seriously what is written in the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sunnah because those texts say the same shit that these fundamentalists are doing.

Hagar said...

Oh, I think he is "being Obama" all right.
And he is not "weak, feckless, and incompeent;" it is just that what he is doing is not what you (or I) think he ought to be doing.
In fact he is quite strong and consistent and does not hesitate to go against his entire cabinet and council of advisors when making his foreign policy decisions.

Robert Cook said...

Why do they hate us?

I posted this at an earlier thread this morning, but as it's likely few will continue checking that older column, I post it here, as it seems germane. As I said there about the comments in the linked column, what is being said is hardly controversial, and is pretty much conventional wisdom. Those who don't get it don't want to get it, as it obliges us to rethink and revise our entire foreign policy. This will NOT happen, whether we have a Democratic or Republican administration.

Robert Cook said...

"Obama has had it right from day one - stay out of the Middle East and get the homeland back to economic greatness which he has made great progress on with one-hand tied by Congress behind his back."

We're hardly "out" of the Middle East, and we are in no way getting back to "economic greatness." We're in terminal decline. There could be a catastrophic global economic collapse at any time.

Bobby said...

AllenS,

I'd guess that Trump is more likely than Clinton to "bomb the fuck" out of other countries. But I don't know how condfident I am in that guess- Trump is as often to employ "bomb 'em back" rhetoric as he is to employ non-interventionist and neo-isolationist rhetoric, so it depends on which Trump would showed up in the Oval Office, and I have no way of knowing that.

Hagar said...

In Havana he said that the Castro revolution in Cuba was just like the American Revolution, and I think he meant it.
Now think about that.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JRoberts said...

My observation of this Administration is that every policy starts with the question of: “What is humanity’s basic problem?” and always assumes the only answer is: “People are unequal”. As a result, every policy - foreign or domestic - seeks to create “equality”.

As a result, we allow Iran to move forward with a nuclear program in hopes that when they “feel equal” they will no longer be a threat. We treat third-world dictators as equals at the UN and commit to climate “fix” schemes that transfer wealth from developed nations to these third-world dictators. We demonize those who produce wealth in our own economy and seek to tax their sox off to solve “income inequality”.

It’s a flawed assumption across the board and it’s killing our nation and will eventually kill western culture.

jr565 said...

"Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama...."

Or maybe, this IS how Obama acts.

Kansas City said...

The WHY DO THEY HATE US column is normal left wing drivel.

The US is not seeking to dominate anyone. We go to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, fight shoulder to shoulder with the best of the Muslims, sacrifice our lives and treasure, and then we go home. But because we go home before we finish off the losers, the losers resurrect themselves and "hate" us for what we did.

A reasonable argument can be made that we should not go and we should let the Muslims sort it all out, but we go in with good intentions and make a good faith effort to help people. The WHY DO THEY HATE US column effectively attributes good faith to the evil terrorists and considers our actions to be the evil ones. Nonsense.

jr565 said...

Bobby wrote:
I'd guess that Trump is more likely than Clinton to "bomb the fuck" out of other countries. But I don't know how condfident I am in that guess- Trump is as often to employ "bomb 'em back" rhetoric as he is to employ non-interventionist and neo-isolationist rhetoric, so it depends on which Trump would showed up in the Oval Office, and I have no way of knowing that.

That's exactly right. He argues both at the same time. He says we'd mop the floor with ISIS, but then he says we wont send in troops and will merely assist locals with bombing runs. That's essentially Obama's policy.
He then says we need to disband NATO suggesting that such alliances are too expensive. If we were to send troops into Iraq, are we supposed to be getting a coalition together or doing it alone. Disbanding existing coalitions because they are too expensive doesnt' really suggest that he'd be keen on forming new ones. but going it alone would be even more expensive. So, I really dont see him actually commiting troops. We are then left with someone who is a cross between an Obama and a Ron Paul. I dont want another Obama, and frankly Ron Paul would have been worse than Obama. At least he's bombing ISIS. I dont know that Paul would have done so.

khesanh0802 said...

@Bobby I admit that there are probably quotes that could make Trump look worse. Likewise Hillary.

Perhaps I am projecting but my sense of Trump is that he is not going to be a passive president. Obama is essentially passive whether by nature or ideology. One can not be passive in a conflict such as the guerrilla war that is being conducted by ISIS (see Brussels). I would rather have the bad guys dodging me than me dodging them. I have been saying all along that we would have troops on the ground in the ME sooner or later, regardless of the BS from Obama.. Last week we lost a Marine there. The question in any conflict is: are we using our resources wisely to obtain our objective? I would prefer a tempered aggressive approach to the incremental semi-passive approach that Obama is being forced into.

All in all I do not think Trump is as "irrational" as his opponents like to paint him. Personally I think Cruz is less rational because he seems to be only concerned with himself and he has no real experience outside of the political arena.

exhelodrvr1 said...

David Begley,
"He knows the North Carolina stall."

Except that in basketball, that could be a highly successful strategy. Not so much in foreign policy.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

But hey, "don't do stupid shit," right? So f*cking smug.

It's difficult to understand that the videos of ISIS "victories" where they behead/mutilate prisoners, execute innocent civilians, enslave conquered women as sex slaves, destroy ancient artifacts, etc, actually work in their favor--we view those with disgust, but in fact to a large portion of their audience those images (and that reality) inspires feelings of pride, hopefulness, and optimism! Our elites don't seem willing to admit that. Why don't the beheading videos turn (those) people away from ISIS and their ideology? Until you can answer that and actually modify your actions/plans based on that answer I'm not sure how you can make any long-term progress against the problem ISIS represents.

The Drill SGT said...

mccullough said...
We already have 5,000 US troops in Iraq and drop bombs everyday on ISIS. We are doing more than enough.


Better if we would be willing to actually drop bombs every day. Apparently 3/4 of our sorties never drop a bomb because it "might" kill somebody not on the target list.

collateral damage happens. In the Army, you even accept friendly losses to it. We have a term for recognizing and approving: "Danger Close".

In many situations, commanders have called artillery fire on their own defensive positions, because the good guys are in foxholes and the bad guys aren't.

Arm the Kurds...

get the lawyers out of the loop...

Curious George said...

"David Begley said...
Allen S

Obama grew up in the pre-shot clock days. He knows the North Carolina stall."

It's called the "Four Corners Offense"

Brando said...

"I'd guess that Trump is more likely than Clinton to "bomb the fuck" out of other countries. But I don't know how condfident I am in that guess- Trump is as often to employ "bomb 'em back" rhetoric as he is to employ non-interventionist and neo-isolationist rhetoric, so it depends on which Trump would showed up in the Oval Office, and I have no way of knowing that."

Trying to figure out what Trump would do in foreign policy especially is like reading tea leaves. Even more than most domestic issues he's been all over the map, and then denies he held a different position the day before (even when there's documented proof). He does want to destroy ISIS, which is nice, but whether he wants troops on the ground or a bombing campaign or getting the Russians to do it or just staying out of the mess really depends on his mood when you ask him. Putting him in charge of the military is no different than tying a monkey to a roulette wheel to make those decisions.

David Begley said...

Ex:

The stall is an incredibly stupid strategy as applied to foreign policy with respect to murdering religous zealots. The basketball analogy completely breaks down because while Obama stalls the ISIS teams whips out their swords and beheads the other team at center court. Obama thinks he is back at Harvard Law playing pickup basketball against some guys from Yale.

Obama just says he is doing something and does as little as possible.

holdfast said...

ISIS is a terrorist organization that has a capital city and an open, visible economy. Somebody please remind me why we tolerate those things? Raqqa seems like the perfect target for an all-out strategic bombing. Flatten the whole place within an hour and be done with it. Of course ISIS will still exist, but a lot of their romance and cachet will be gone. Nobody will want to associate openly with them.

William said...

It is an article of faith among the left that drone strikes create more jihadists than they destroy. They also believe that Gitmo and water boarding are recruiting tools. In short, anything we do to combat Islamocists is ineffective and more likely to increase rather than stop the spread of terrorism.....On the other hand, when the Islamocists commit rampant acts of slaughter, the only wise response is to redouble our efforts to be tolerant of Muslims and to increase our quotas of Muslim refugees.......There's something about this that doesn't compute.

Henry said...

What's with the short time horizons? Cohen and Friedman might as well be writing "Remember the Maine!"

Anaconda strategies actually work. Most shock-and-awe strategies either turn into defeats or anaconda strategies. The biggest blunder in the Obama regime was that they had a chance to embrace an anaconda strategy in Iraq and abandoned it.

Now Cohen and Friedman are all "shock-and-awe baby!"

But slow-and-steady can work if it focuses on multiple non-dramatic fronts:

* Secure Western borders
* Roll up terrorist financial networks
* Roll up domestic terrorist networks
* Pick some stable regional allies (the Kurds, for example) and provide logistics and air support.

The most important part of this is political, not military. You can't secure borders if you aren't very clear about what you are doing and how you are doing it. You can't support the Kurds if you're pretending for the sake of Turkey that you aren't. This takes political courage.

The next most important thing is intelligence. Intelligence victories take a long time to realize and sell no newspapers.

Nonapod said...

Brando said...Trying to figure out what Trump would do in foreign policy especially is like reading tea leaves. Even more than most domestic issues he's been all over the map, and then denies he held a different position the day before (even when there's documented proof). He does want to destroy ISIS, which is nice, but whether he wants troops on the ground or a bombing campaign or getting the Russians to do it or just staying out of the mess really depends on his mood when you ask him. Putting him in charge of the military is no different than tying a monkey to a roulette wheel to make those decisions.

Agreed. I have said and continue to say that I have no idea how Trump would actually be as president. For all I know he could be the Greatest President Ever (although I doubt it) or even worse than Obama (and that's a pretty low bar). Obviously you can't go by anything he has said in the past. His statements seem to have definite half-lives. He seems to be willing do and say anything to get elected, change positions, contradict himself, employ inflammatory rhetoric, ...whatever. Trump being elected as our next president is akin to a surprise box with a chance of getting

- million dollars
- a saltine cracker
- a stink bomb that activates when the lid opens
- or a C4 charge that detonates when you pop the lid.

Quaestor said...

Thomas Friedman write: Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama....

Friedman is either obsessed with covering up for Obama, who is either incompetent or malevolent (no third option), or pretty goddamn stupid (no third option).

Henry said...

Cohen's call for military action is cast in terms of domestic politics:

The latest attack will play into the hands of anti-European rightist politicians like Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front. It will increase calls for borders to be reinstituted and the Schengen accord allowing free movement among more than two dozen European countries to be scrapped. It will challenge Europe’s liberties.

He is right that all these things will happen (though who knows how they will play out), but consider the sickening rationale: We must put U.S. and NATO troops on the ground in the Middle East to avoid difficult decisions at home. The faith in a military solution is head-shaking. You may win battles. You will not avoid dealing with security at home.

Hagar said...

What if Obama really thinks ISIS, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, etc., also are agents of "wars of liberation," "Just like" the American Revolution?

Quaestor said...

Robert Cook asks Why do they hate us?

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Is that FUCKING CLEAR?

Kansas City said...

I have no idea of how Trump would do as president. I hope we don't find out and it is hard to be optimistic. However, my view of presidents is that they mostly make a difference on the margins, except if they are presented with a huge issue to address. Recent examples: Kennedy on Cuban missile crisis, Bush I on Kuwait/Saudi Arabia, FDR on WWII, Johnson on Vietnam/Civil Rights, Bush II on 9/11 and Iraq, Carter on Iran, Reagan on Cold War climax (Reagan fan, so may be elevating him). I think Obama's big issue will be his disastrous handling of Iran and the rest of the Middle East.

So on Trump, what is his big issue? Perhaps ISIS and he might do pretty well on that. On immigration, it is a big issue, but not one easy to judge. A success, e.g., keeping out a terrorist who would have wrecked havoc, would never be known and a failure would be more of the same. I suppose he could be a disaster on economics, but less likely and typically presidents don't do much.

Robert Cook said...

"It's difficult to understand that the videos of ISIS 'victories' where they behead/mutilate prisoners, execute innocent civilians, enslave conquered women as sex slaves, destroy ancient artifacts, etc, actually work in their favor--we view those with disgust, but in fact to a large portion of their audience those images (and that reality) inspires feelings of pride, hopefulness, and optimism!"

No, this is not their purpose. The purpose of such videos is to inspire fear and anger, to incite a response. The response--violent military actions and bombing in the region, where unavoidably, innocents are harmed are killed--inspires more anger and hatred of the west, and some of those angry people may decide to join the terrorists. It's a recruiting tool, and it also creates the impression that they are more dangerous and fearsome that they actually are, (though they are, without any doubt, dangerous, but more so to the many non-violent, non-terrorist inhabitants of the region than to us).

shiloh said...

Yes, there are bad people/terrorists in the world and if a "Rep" is elected president there will be less bad people in the world and "we" will be well on the way to Nirvana!

Has there ever been a time in the history of the planet when there hasn't been bad folk roaming the earth? Rhetorical.

Thank goodness there have never been any bad Protestants and Catholics.

One could argue mass media/communication has made us both better and worse as economic/social/religious injustice is more apparent than ever before.

Hey, everyone wants their fair slice of the pie.

>

Indeed, for those of you who believe in a supreme being just look at it as God's failed experiment. Maybe a new template would help.

Robert Cook said...

"Is that FUCKING CLEAR?"

What's clear is that you don't get it.

The Drill SGT said...

holdfast said...

One word

Arclight

three B52H's carrying 105 tons of old dumb bombs.

rinse and repeat.

Brando said...

"Trump being elected as our next president is akin to a surprise box with a chance of getting

- million dollars
- a saltine cracker
- a stink bomb that activates when the lid opens
- or a C4 charge that detonates when you pop the lid."

His MO is part of his campaign tactic--constantly shift stances, deny flatly that you've shifted at all, and throw so many lies and irrelevancies around that no one can really grill down on any one of them. It's cute, but when so many people simply say it proves he's a genius, and moreover that that is why they trust him to do the right thing, it leaves me scratching my head--why would you trust this man again? Why are you listening to the parts you agree with and not the parts where he contradicts himself? Would you trust a financial adviser who spoke like that?

It's impossible to know how he'd turn out as president, but he certainly hasn't given anyone a reason to think he'd do a decent job. We (I'm including most conservatives in this) mocked Obama relentlessly for saying he's his own best advisor (something to the tune of "I know more about X than my advisers...") and then Trump says the same thing, calling himself "very smart" as if that alone means he doesn't need advisors. We mocked Obama fans for falling for this "hope and change" vagueness, but Trump is even more vague, promising to "get better trade deals" as if all it takes is telling China to give us our jobs back (as if the jobs were widgets they could pack in a boat and sail back to us). We were pissed when Obama started using his "veto and a pen" to push his executive authority in his Iran deal and immigration "selective enforcement" as this usurped congressional power, and now Trump promises to use an even more expansive executive authority (unless he thinks he's going to be more successful than Obama at getting Congress to pass legislation giving him what he wants).

But for his fans, the trust is there. A part of me envies them having so much faith in a candidate, but I don't see how anyone can avoid being disappointed in him unless they're prepared to deny reality when it happens.

Of course, I still think Hillary has the odds to beat him, and if that happens his fans can just blame the GOP establishment for it.

Robert Cook said...

"The US is not seeking to dominate anyone...The WHY DO THEY HATE US column effectively attributes good faith to the evil terrorists and considers our actions to be the evil ones."

Your first statement reveals that you are completely oblivious to America's foreign policy intentions and actions in the world; your second statement reveals you completely misunderstand what the writer is saying.

Hagar said...

Trump may surprise us and turn out to be good.
The rest of them we know are going to be bad.

JPS said...

Robert Cook,

One problem with the whole "Why do they hate us?" line of argument is implicit in Quaestor's implied point: It's often a way for leftists to say, "They hate us because we're not behaving as I recommend." Really, how condescending are you, to assume that Muslim militants are basically more-fired-up versions of you? Of course you would never hurt a soul, but you can understand why they do. The assumption seems to be that your reasons for peaceful dissent are their reasons for fighting.

My bigger problem with it is that we can follow it down infinite rabbit holes and be no better off. Say Jihadis attack us. Now, being a right-wing jingoist, I might want to find those who did it and kill them, and treat any state sponsoring them as an enemy. But instead I have a moment of enlightenment, and I listen to you, Ron Paul, Noam Chomsky, the author of the piece you link., and everyone else who says, This is ultimately our fault.

So let's say instead we look inward, and we modify our policies. [And, congratulations, we've just encouraged others pissed at us to achieve their goals through the wanton murder of innocents.] Now the next time someone kills us, we say, Well, we still had it coming, because [insert your grievance here]. We either find ourselves right back where we are now, or we just keep on taking it, and with every fresh atrocity write as that author does, Of course I don't condone this at all, but [insert moralizing lecture here]…."

The people who want to kill us will always have a reason. If we listen to you and take away one, they'll find another. In short, I care why people hate us only up until they start murdering innocents. After that, I care as an intellectual exercise, because understanding them better may help us to kill them more effectively.

Bobby said...

Brando,

"But for his fans, the trust is there. A part of me envies them having so much faith in a candidate, but I don't see how anyone can avoid being disappointed in him unless they're prepared to deny reality when it happens."

If Trump's zealots are anything like Obama's zealots, my guess is that when Trump fails to implement the hope and change that they've convinced themselves is coming (and let's face it, much like 2008 Obama, so many of his supporters expect so many different things from him that it would be impossible for him to fulfill contradictory expectations), they will simply blame someone else for his failures- likely the "obstructionists" in Congress or the Courts.

shiloh said...

"The rest of them we know are going to be bad."

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss ...

So you're giving Trump the benefit of the doubt. Based on what? Divine intervention?

Terry said...

"Your first statement reveals that you are completely oblivious to America's foreign policy intentions and actions in the world . . ."
If the US were to withdraw from the world stage, the Chinese would control all of Africa, the ME, and Latin America. The Chinese are hungry for natural resources, they have a billion people that they would like to lift into middle-class life styles.
The foreign policy of the United States is determined by democrat means. If someone believes that America's foreign is wicked, it is because they believe Americans are wicked.

Eustace Chilke said...

MU students safe after attacks

Headline in yesterdays Columbia Daily Tribune. Were the attacks from horrible racist rednecks flinging the N word around and drawing poop swasticas on bathroom walls, making everyone tremble in fear and call for Spike Lee to come and document the situation so the whole world would watch in shock and revulsion?

No. Strangely, no. The students were in Brussels where some muslims were blowing shit up - again. You might not be interested in X but X is interested in you. Insert "war with" and "muslims" where they fit. Use "extremist" or "radical" if it makes you feel slightly more virtuous. To me, every day that goes by makes people who invariably patch on the extremist fig leaf look like bigger pussies. You can bet your BLM T-shirt that you local imam agrees with me.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
No, this is not their purpose. The purpose of such videos is to inspire fear and anger, to incite a response. The response--violent military actions and bombing in the region, where unavoidably, innocents are harmed are killed--inspires more anger and hatred of the west, and some of those angry people may decide to join the terrorists. It's a recruiting tool, and it also creates the impression that they are more dangerous and fearsome that they actually are, (though they are, without any doubt, dangerous, but more so to the many non-violent, non-terrorist inhabitants of the region than to us).

if we go to war and take out ISIS, some people might join ISIS's cause because some innocents are harmed. But if we dont go in and ISIS chops off innocent peoples heads, then those innocent people get their heads chopped off. Is that not inspiring anger towards ISIS from those innocents? I'd think that would get people who didnt want to get killed by ISIS to ally with people that would kill ISIS and not those that are chopping off their head.
Whereas, if people are going to join ISIS because we bombed ISIS and innocent people are caught in the crosssfire, they'd probably join ISIS anyway.
Like, suppose some christians are being lined up about to have their heads chopped off. We drop a bomb on ISIS and take them out, thus stopping them from being decapitated. But some of the people who we were trying to rescue get killed.I dont think those we saved would normally join ISIS if a few of them died as collateral damage, unless they were already taken by the ideology. And then if that were the case, would ISIS be chopping off their heads?
You have this idea that they can respond to our actions but we can't in turn respond to their actions. or that the only motivation that would guide someone would be our actions, and not thier motivations.

AReasonableMan said...

The reason that there is a favorable environment for terrorism in Europe is the almost complete failure of these countries to integrate their Muslim immigrants into society. It has very little to do with the ME. Multiculturalism has failed. This failure may be due to the feckless Euro governments, the racism of its people or the intractable nature of the immigrants but, whatever the cause, the US has no responsibility for this failure, much less Obama. These countries have to take responsibility for their own failures and find their own solutions.

Kansas City said...

Robert Cook states the classic liberal view of fighting terrorism - you can't defeat the terrorists with military action because successful military action against evil will inspire more evil through "recruiting." Result: we ultimately lose and they ultimately win.

Mr. Cook:
"The response--violent military actions and bombing in the region, where unavoidably, innocents are harmed are killed--inspires more anger and hatred of the west, and some of those angry people may decide to join the terrorists. It's a recruiting tool, . . . "

Personally, I just think it is obvious that if there are genuine evil forces, good needs to kill them and not doing so allows/encourages the evil to grow. Hitler would have loved the thinking of our current liberals.

So, if you wipe out ISIS with massive military force, then you don't need to worry about ISIS recruitment. Losers are not successful recruiters.

MikeR said...

"Obama has had it right from day one - stay out of the Middle East and get the homeland back to economic greatness which he has made great progress on with one-hand tied by Congress behind his back."
This needs a /sarc tag? I don't see how a rational human being could believe that any of these statements have any relationship to reality.

jr565 said...

JPS wrote:
One problem with the whole "Why do they hate us?" line of argument is implicit in Quaestor's implied point: It's often a way for leftists to say, "They hate us because we're not behaving as I recommend."

Michael MOore articulated this when he aksed "Why did they attack us on 9/11? We didnt vote for George Bush". as if the only reason they would attack us is because George Bush stole the election from Al Gore. as if Al Qaeda operates under the same principles as western lefties. or they hated Bush becuase he was a republican. Bush hadnt done antying to warrant hatred yet. We werent invading Iraq or Afghanistan yet. He was barely in office. So what would their grievance be that pertained specifically to Bush at that point. Moore simply doesnt get that people might be motivated in ways that dont line up with his world view.

As to the "they hate us for our policies" its totally one sided. I could just as easily say "we have certain policies of how they act" would we have those policies in place if they weren't who they were and how they acted? I dont think so. But to the lefties, they can act any way they want, and its our fault somehow if we are at war with them. Not because of their actions, but our policies. If Iraq hadn't invaded Kuwait would we be containing Iraq? if Iran hadnt tried to get nukes would we have sanctions agianst Iran? Its THEIR policies that are determining OUR policies. We arent' containing Turkey for example.

Michael said...

ARM

I think it is the obligation of the immigrant to integrate into society, not society's obligation to integrate the immigrants. And upon finding that there are certain cohorts who resist integrating the host country should stop admitting immigrants from the countries from whence they came. To persist in thinking these groups will integrate with a bit of persuasion or boot is naive and dangerous and wrong.

The Drill SGT said...

AReasonableMan said...

agree, but we, driven from the Left, have also abandoned assimilation, to our long term peril.

all cultures are not equal, and a culture that doesn't hold itself out as good and worthy, will not long endure.

The Drill SGT said...

Michael said...

Colonists, not immigrants, is what they are...

Hyphenated American said...

""Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama.""

Does anyone remember Obama's silly claim that "We are the ones we've been waiting for"? Well, apparently, he ain't.

Anyway, I want Friedman to tell us if he plans to talk to people who predicted Obama's disasters, and try to learn from them.

Terry said...

Michael wrote:
"I think it is the obligation of the immigrant to integrate into society, not society's obligation to integrate the immigrants."
Often the terrorists are not immigrants, but the children of immigrants. They did not choose to become Belgian.

jr565 said...

"Robert Cook states the classic liberal view of fighting terrorism - you can't defeat the terrorists with military action because successful military action against evil will inspire more evil through "recruiting." Result: we ultimately lose and they ultimately win."

Just look at how ISIS operates. They become more powerful by defeating their enemies militarily. if Robert Cook were right then as they chopped off more and more peoples heads their victims woudl only get more powerful. But clearly, they CAN defeat those they are killing, and chopping off their heads does quite a good job killing them. The only people who are making a dent in dealing with ISIS are those actually fighting them. And the more people ISIS kills the fewer deal with ISIS. Certainly, if ISIS kills people other people join the fight to defeat ISIS. But they have to actually fight ISIS to defeat ISIS. are they strong enough to do so? Not if their numbers are slaughtered by ISIS.
The same would work in reverse. WHy is it that ISIS understands this, and uses this exact method to extend their power, but Robert Cook thinks it woudldnt' work to defeat ISIS?

Hagar said...

Actually no, the message of post-Medina scripture is to conquer, not just evangelize and colonize.

Michael said...

Terry

Same obligation to assimilate.

Sebastian said...

"Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama . . ." No. He is obsessed with not being W. He always thinks about being BO. But Dreams from my Father told us unmistakably that his self-image is fantasy, empty fiction. He is living the fantasy, at America's cost. Even now toadies like Friedman can't see that clueless America-degrading Barry is the real Barry, or what little is real about him.

jacksonjay said...

President You Bring a Knife We Bring a Gun has turned into Semi-Retired President Drone-Em at a Campfire, but DON'T Drone-Em near the Crib wit dey Kids.

He still has a sharp rebuke for a Republican, so don't get cocky!

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
The reason that there is a favorable environment for terrorism in Europe is the almost complete failure of these countries to integrate their Muslim immigrants into society. It has very little to do with the ME. Multiculturalism has failed. This failure may be due to the feckless Euro governments, the racism of its people or the intractable nature of the immigrants but, whatever the cause, the US has no responsibility for this failure, much less Obama. These countries have to take responsibility for their own failures and find their own solutions.


Then again maybe it is the Islam.

Terry said...

I hear important people say that actions taken by Western nations to identify Islamic terrorism with Islam makes the situation worse. Usually this is expressed as the idea that words or laws that single out Muslims for special scrutiny or even places like the prison at Guantanamo act as 'recruiting tools' for ISIS or al Qaida or whatever.
Where is the proof of this?
By what authority can non-Muslims declare that groups like Isis are 'not Islamic'? If Obama and Clinton can declare that Isis is not Islamic, what is stopping them from declaring Christian groups whose goals they do not agree with are 'not Christian"?

Rusty said...

Obama has a strategy?

Where does he keep it?

jr565 said...

""The response--violent military actions and bombing in the region, where unavoidably, innocents are harmed are killed--inspires more anger and hatred of the west, and some of those angry people may decide to join the terrorists. It's a recruiting tool, . . ."

violent military action against jihadis might inspire action and be a recruiting tool, but its quite clear that violent act by jihadis against innocent people is also a great recruiting tool for jihadis. The more they succeed the more people want to join ISIS. So, Robert Cook wants to make sure that the only victor is ISIS. No matter what, they must be assured victory.

Terry said...

Michael said...
Terry
Same obligation to assimilate.


I live in Hawaii. If I had kids, I would not want them to assimilate to the local culture. The local culture in Hawaii does not value education nearly as much as US or East Asian culture. The Sansei and Yonsei that dominate in the state bureaucracies and politics are where they are because they did not assimilate into the native Polynesian population.
I realize that Hawaii is not Belgium or France, but I think that the principle is the same. Assimilation isn't just acceptance of a new culture, it is rejection of an existing culture.

AllenS said...

Only weeks after President Jefferson's inauguration in 1801, he decided to confront the Tripoli pirates who had been kidnapping American ships and sailors, among other outrageous acts. Though inclined toward diplomacy, Jefferson sent warships to blockade Tripoli and protect American shipping, and then escalated to all-out war against the Barbary states.

Islam has been a problem for a very long time. Don't anyone forget that.

Bobby said...

Perhaps my viewed is skewed (being myself the son of immigrants), but in all the countries I've lived in and visited- and the many, many more which I only know through reading- I'd have to say that America has done a better job of assimilating immigrant populations (especially subsequent generations) into the mainstream society than any other country on Earth (with the possible exceptions of Canada; maybe Israel if you define your parameters more controversially).

And I'd bet it's been that way since our first Speaker of the House, Frederick Muhlenberg, abstained from a 42-41 vote defeating a proposal to translate some of our laws into German on the grounds that "the faster the Germans become Americans, the better it will be for everyone." (Note that the Muhlenberg Legend purports that he voted down the prooposal- he did not).

I'd also note that our success with assimilation occurred in spite of the neo-liberal multiculturalist attempts, which probably would have left us facing many of the problems that Europe faces today. So good work on keeping that out, conservatives.

Rusty said...

That's how wars are won, Bob. Big ones and little ones. you kill enough of them so that the thought continuing is more frightening than the alternative. Think of as a kind of intense cultural change.

jacksonjay said...

The fact that the president's approval is over 50% suggests to me that his non-strategy is OK with the Idiocracy. Republican obstruction, golf, WH concerts and hands-off in the ME seems to be working for him. He's very good at the Medal of Honor ceremonies, too.

jr565 said...

Take the palestinians wish to drive the Jews into the sea. That is their stated goal. If Israel fights them, then Robert Cook would say they are only going to get stronger because fighting them only makes them get more recruits. So what is the option? Dont fight the Palestians? ANd let them drive the jews into the sea? or must the jews must jump into the sea themselves? Wouldnt making inroads to driving the jews into the sea be a great recruiting tool in getting more Palestians to join the cause (which is to drive the jews in the sea). if the jews don't want to be driven into the sea, there only recourse then is to fight those that would want to drive them into the sea.
Robert cookes argument really is any policy that doesnt end with the Jews driven into the sea is the wrong policy. And the palestians can engage in as much violence as necessary to achieve their result, but the jews cant engage in any violence becuase that would only cause them palestinians to grow stronger. And those Palestinians are only acting the way the do anyway because of Israel's policies.
Maybe, israel is acting the way it does because of THEIR policies, which are violent.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Cook and the the angry leftists at his favorite website just want to hijack the terrorists for their own political purposes. There is nothing interesting or clever about this tactic.

If you want to know the true motivations behind the terrorists, just ask them. As Quaestor pointed out, they aren't been shy about answering the question.

Robert Cook said...

"So, if you wipe out ISIS with massive military force, then you don't need to worry about ISIS recruitment. Losers are not successful recruiters."

It's not killing member of ISIS that recruits more members to it, it's killing the many innocent inhabitants of the region by airstrikes that does so, as this inspires anger and hatred of western forces, and some of those who are filled with anger and hatred join ISIS.

If a foreign power (or consortium of powers) were to act in America as we act in the middle east--sending in troops at will, shooting, bombing, imprisoning, flying invisible drones overhead to shoot missles at people attending funerals or weddings, sitting at cafes, etc.--you can be sure many Americans would be driven to become violent actors against those they blamed for such death and destruction. Don't doubt for a second that any such Americans would be no less savage and cruel than anyone in ISIS.

Anglelyne said...

Henry: [Cohen] is right that all these things will happen (though who knows how they will play out), but consider the sickening rationale: We must put U.S. and NATO troops on the ground in the Middle East to avoid difficult decisions at home. The faith in a military solution is head-shaking. You may win battles. You will not avoid dealing with security at home.

The refusal of our rulers and bien-pensants to re-examine their globalist/open-borders/multiculturalist pipe-dreams in the light of reality has developed into a full-blown mental illness.

Consider this one small phrase from Cohen's article: "[b]y raising again the easily conflated specter of migration, Islam and terror...".

It's insane. But the purpose of the article is to advance the argument that the sane objections of Westerners to the obviously highly problematic aspects of the globalist project, such as mass migration, are really merely the reactions of frightened and ignorant people to things they don't understand. Cohen is trying to persuade (himself?) that things like mass migration are not a problem, that the problem is really "something else" out there. That "something else" is, of course, opposition to open borders. Open borders is itself an unmitigated good, and this evil opposition merely exploits unpleasant but entirely unrelated phenomena in pursuit of its ends.

Hundreds, if not thousands of variants of this article have been written in the last decade and a half. I note that in a typical sleight of hand, Cohen tries to conflate open borders and "liberty" in the minds of his readers, though it is precisely the collapse of borders that is destroying the traditional liberties of Westerners.

Robert Cook said...

"So, Robert Cook wants to make sure that the only victor is ISIS. No matter what, they must be assured victory."

jr565 displays, once again, that he is a purveyor either of lies or nonsense. I equivocate because I don't know if he actually believes his own nonsense or if he knows better but lies in order to be provocative.

jr565 said...

"It's not killing member of ISIS that recruits more members to it, it's killing the many innocent inhabitants of the region by airstrikes that does so, as this inspires anger and hatred of western forces, and some of those who are filled with anger and hatred join ISIS."

They can join whatever jihad they want. ISIS is strong becuase they are able to engage in open warfare and aren't getting much pushback. If you destroyed ISIS, and becuase of this a jihadi decided to wage a personal jihad with three of your buddies, good luck with that.


"If a foreign power (or consortium of powers) were to act in America as we act in the middle east--sending in troops at will, shooting, bombing, imprisoning, flying invisible drones overhead to shoot missles at people attending funerals or weddings, sitting at cafes, etc.--you can be sure many Americans would be driven to become violent actors against those they blamed for such death and destruction. Don't doubt for a second that any such Americans would be no less savage and cruel than anyone in ISIS."

You are describing ISIS. THey are the ones invading Iraq and killing the local inhabitants. which should then inspire teh anger and hatredof ISIS and some of those who are angry will join the fight against ISIS. And they will then try to defeat ISIS through war. Who's goign to win? Whoever defeats the other side.

Ironclad said...

You miss discussing the comments on Cohen's article which are 90% negative toward him - how DARE he betray and find fault with Obama (whose name must be praised). Every excuse of why it's someone else's fault for ISIS, every excuse for Obama being blocked in action, no mention that he has been in the chair for 7 long years.

The NYT readership lives in a vacuum.

jr565 said...

Cook wrote;
jr565 displays, once again, that he is a purveyor either of lies or nonsense. I equivocate because I don't know if he actually believes his own nonsense or if he knows better but lies in order to be provocative.

It is the only outcome of your proposal. ISIS will win. Either you dont recognize this or are actively pursuing that as a goal.

FullMoon said...

Freder Frederson said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Cohen and Friedman are always eager to let someone else's child die in unwinnable wars...


Still voluntary? If so, your comment does not make sense.

jr565 said...

Cooke wrote:
"No, this is not their purpose. The purpose of such videos is to inspire fear and anger, to incite a response."
oh, so they are trying to start a war? What are they doing then to instigate this war? Killing people violently. It seems to work pretty well for them. And if they dont goad us into war, it doesnt suggest they will kill less, since that seems to be their stated goal, as per you.

"The response--violent military actions and bombing in the region, where unavoidably, innocents are harmed are killed--inspires more anger and hatred of the west, and some of those angry people may decide to join the terrorists."

if violent military action and bombing only inspires more anger and hatred, wouldnt it inspire more hatred of ISIS/ since they are the ones actually killing people? Some of those angered by these actinas would join in the fight agaisnt ISIS, no? How are they going to defeaut ISIS? by killing them. So then, killing ISIS actually will serve the purpose of hurting ISIS. And those killed are only reacting to the policies of ISIS. However, you've just laid out the reason why the locals woudl face ISIS, but also why we would. ANd its not because of OUR policies. If ISIS can win, by killing its enemies, then it stands to reason, that they can be killed the same way.


"It's a recruiting tool, and it also creates the impression that they are more dangerous and fearsome that they actually are, (though they are, without any doubt, dangerous, but more so to the many non-violent, non-terrorist inhabitants of the region than to us)."
The fact that they are killing people also leaves the impression that they are more dangerous than they actually are. Which is also a recruiting tool for them. How do you prove that someone isnt' as powerful as they profess to be? You punch them in the nose. THe only reason ISIS isn't the JV team, as Obama stated, is because no one is punching them back sufficiently. If they aren't then its not true that they aren't as dangerous and fearsome as they actually are. They are as dangerous as they are allowed to be.

Paco Wové said...

The NYT readership lives in a vacuum.

I wish.

shiloh said...

"The fact that the president's approval is over 50% suggests to me that his non-strategy is OK with the Idiocracy. Republican obstruction, golf, WH concerts and hands-off in the ME seems to be working for him. He's very good at the Medal of Honor ceremonies, too."

Sarcasm aside me thinks Obama's job approval rise is in direct proportion/correlation w/the continuing clown car act aka the Rep primary. It is, in fact, disgruntled Dems coming home which again, is in direct correlation w/the continuing Rep clown car act. IOW, Obama doesn't look so bad by comparison.

Presidential elections, as always, come down to choices and have very little to do w/policy.

Reps are lucky re: presidential term limits as Obama would easily be re-elected considering the alternative.

Terry said...

I see the president has once again called ideas about fighting Islamic terrorism that are different than his 'un-American.'
I wonder where Obama picked up his heightened sense of what it means to be an American? In a prep school on Oahu? On the streets of Jakarta? Perhaps he learned all about America on the campuses of Occidental, or Columbia, or Harvard? Or maybe when he controlled a seat in a corrupt state legislature?

Brando said...

"If Trump's zealots are anything like Obama's zealots, my guess is that when Trump fails to implement the hope and change that they've convinced themselves is coming (and let's face it, much like 2008 Obama, so many of his supporters expect so many different things from him that it would be impossible for him to fulfill contradictory expectations), they will simply blame someone else for his failures- likely the "obstructionists" in Congress or the Courts."

Oh, I'd bet on that! And instead of blaming themselves or their candidate for fostering unrealistic expectations (i.e., ignoring that you need Congress and the Courts to sign off on all this change, and aren't going to get there by demonizing anyone not already on board) it's someone else's fault.

shiloh said...

"Still voluntary? If so, your comment does not make sense."

Makes perfect sense as "voluteers" are not the one's deciding what war they will engage in, winnable or otherwise.

Terry said...

Brando wrote:
"ignoring that you need Congress and the Courts to sign off on all this change, and aren't going to get there by demonizing anyone not already on board"
That is the Old America, Brando. In the post-Obama, New America, the president rules by decree.

Paco Wové said...

"instead of blaming themselves or their candidate... it's someone else's fault."

Yeah, the real GOP would never do that.

Original Mike said...

Sydney said ..."[Obama] has a strategy?"

"Don't do stupid shit".

It's not his strategy that's lacking. It's his execution.

The Cracker Emcee said...

It is not for us to take out ISIS. It is for us to goad the Turks and Saudis into taking out ISIS. Suggesting a massive arms and aid program for the Kurds might get Ankara's attention.

David Begley said...

Curious George:

Tom Apke at Creighton ran a version of the stalk or Four Corners that was so effective that Al McGuire at Marquette borrowed it and called it their "Creighton" offense.

William said...

There's something radically and pervasively wrong with a religion that produces so many mass killers. It's not us. It's them.

FullMoon said...

shiloh said... [hush]​[hide comment]

"Still voluntary? If so, your comment does not make sense."

Makes perfect sense as "voluteers" are not the one's deciding what war they will engage in, winnable or otherwise.


Nope. If I enlist today, I know I may go to war, somewhere. Service men/women are employees. The employer determines where they go. That is a given.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Obama says that we are so strong that after half of the USA's strength and allies are gone and fled to another Hegemon , we can laugh at the silly rabbit Caliphate . So he ignores their attacks and never attacks them to make the angry, Ha, Ha, Ha.

If FDR had tried that in 1942, the Germans would would ruled the East Coast and the Japs would have ruled the west Coast and we could have all laughed our way to prison camps in the mid-west by 1944.

Terry said...

Blogger William said...
There's something radically and pervasively wrong with a religion that produces so many mass killers. It's not us. It's them.

3/23/16, 1:45 PM


Part of the problem is that the methods of defending and spreading Islam that we expect Muslims to reject today were accepted and put to use by the Mohammad. How can what Mohammad did himself, and ordered his followers to do, be un-Islamic?
It would be as though Christ had formed an army, conquered cities, put populations to the sword, and we then expected modern Christians to reject forming armies, conquering cities, and putting populations to the sword as un-Christian.

David Begley said...

William and Terry are absolutely correct.

Islam needs to be radically reformed and I'm not seeing that happen. Sunni v Shia war will never end.

shiloh said...

"Nope. If I enlist today, I know I may go to war, somewhere. Service men/women are employees. The employer determines where they go. That is a given."

"Cohen and Friedman are always eager to let someone else's child die in unwinnable wars..."

It's still someone else's child whether they volunteer or not. You can't be this dense. ok, maybe you can.

Anglelyne said...

M Jordan: While I agree with much of what Friedman wrote here, I cannot give this man any credit for anything. He is the person who helped me to find some reason to support Bush's invasion into Iraq. He wrote that it was Bush telling the Muslim world, we will fight you on terrorism on your soil, even if we have to invent some rationales to do it. I grudgingly accepted this logic. Then, when sentiment turned against that war, Friedman cut and ran.

I despise the man.


I'd like to think that a salutary bout of self-contempt, not contempt for anybody else, would be my reaction to ever having allowed a jackass like Thomas Friedman to inform my understanding of anything.

Hagar said...

The "religion of peace" trope came about during the centuries when the Moslem empires were riding high and peace was desirable for the ruling classes to enjoy a comfortable life.

coupe said...

We can't really send troops to the middle east. Right now the VA can't handle the millions of soldiers from the last wars, who all need therapy drugs just to stay calm and not kill us all in one of their episodes.

I'm kind of glad we give them special license plates, because when I see them on the road, I stay back two car lengths and let them kill the other people first.

Jonathan Graehl said...

as much as i'd like to think islam can be kept in line by bombing a few sand dunes, i think obama is generally right and neocons wrong. that's not to say there's no good violence and no use for credible deterrence. but all we need to do is stop inviting infestations inside our borders. let them be emboldened - eventually their crappy new government will visibly fail to deliver the goods. an armed israel has little to fear.

OGWiseman said...

I notice Cohen avoided answering the question: "Then what?" That's because there's no real answer.

Sadaam Hussein was declared an intolerable evil, we killed him, and now there's ISIS. Now we're supposed to believe that ISIS is the real worst possible thing, and that if we destroy it, something better cannot help but emerge?

It takes a real lack of imagination to think that ISIS is as bad as it can get. They're terrible, but it can always get worse.

amielalune said...

The Big Zero doesn't want to dismantle the Islamic State. He favors it over the U.S. or any other Western power.

khesanh0802 said...

I am entertained by those here who comment that we can't know what Trump will do because he may change what he says from time to time during the campaign. Honestly, have you ever believed a word that a politician has said about what he/she would do once in office? If you have, I hope Obama's tenure has cured you of that level of naivete Have you been paying attention to what Clinton and Sanders have been saying? They make Trump seem calm and cogent.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Unknown said...Obama has had it right from day one - stay out of the Middle East and get the homeland back to economic greatness

Yeah, we ought to be more like smart European countries like Belgium! Oh, oops.

I Callahan said...

It's still someone else's child whether they volunteer or not. You can't be this dense. ok, maybe you can.

The military are grown adults first, someone else's child second. Stop infantilizing the military.

I Callahan said...

Sadaam Hussein was declared an intolerable evil, we killed him, and now there's ISIS.

The inference here is that the killing of Hussein was the cause of ISIS. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that pulling out all of the troops is what caused ISIS.

Now we're supposed to believe that ISIS is the real worst possible thing, and that if we destroy it, something better cannot help but emerge? It takes a real lack of imagination to think that ISIS is as bad as it can get. They're terrible, but it can always get worse.

I think you're guilty of a strawman here. No one said its the real worst possible thing - I can imagine much worse. Think doubling ISIS, with ISIS getting control of nuclear weapons. That would be much worse. If we sit back and do nothing, the potential for that very situation increases. So it seems you're arguing that beating ISIS will create such a situation, when beating ISIS will do the opposite.

jr565 said...

" I cannot give this man any credit for anything. He is the person who helped me to find some reason to support Bush's invasion into Iraq. He wrote that it was Bush telling the Muslim world, we will fight you on terrorism on your soil, even if we have to invent some rationales to do it. I grudgingly accepted this logic. Then, when sentiment turned against that war, Friedman cut and ran."

I didnt' know that Friedman ever supported the war in Iraq. But if he wrote that Bush told the Muslim world that and he then he said he was ok with the justification for war, that he knew was based on a lie, he's an evil bastard.
Bush never told the Muslim world he'd fight them on terrorism o their soul, EVEN IF WE HAVE TO INVENT SOME RATIONALE TO DO IT. thats' Friedmans' addition to what Bush said. And its entirely a figment of his imagination. If he thought the rationale was based on a fabrication, then hes the bastard for supporting the war.

Beaumont said...

Funny...I hear some pundits currently expousing that Obama's passivity and hesitency to bring the fight to ISIS is responsible for the rise of Trump and Cruz and their hyperbolic reactions to ISIL's terrorist attacks. I have wondered whether Obama's restraint, in part, was driven by Bush's misguided approach to al-Qaeda by going after Hussein and Iraq and represents an overcorrection of our foreign policy, i.e. Bush caused Obama caused Trump/Cruz as proposed by Friedman. This would raise a few questions, for example, can we develop a less reactive, more reality-based, foreign policy (some that does not go to one extreme or another). Assuming that there will always be error in our responses to Terrorism, another question I have is, what is the lesser of two evils - an over-reaction or an under-reaction?

shiloh said...

"The military are grown adults first, someone else's child second. Stop infantilizing the military."

"Someone else's child" was not my quote as you must be pretty dense too.

tim in vermont said...

Europeans are racist in ways that would get you killed here. Imagine Celtics fans throwing bananas on the court when the Lakers came to town to play against Bird.

tim in vermont said...

That kind of stuff happens there

Terry said...

The 'Bush Doctrine' was debated, very publicly, as a response not just to 9/11 but to the use of failed states as bases of operation by terrorist groups. The peoples' representatives weighed in and gave their approval by, most notably, congressional approval of the invasions of Afghanistan and the overthrow of their (more or less) sovereign governments.
Do you remember the public debate about the "Obama Doctrine"? 'Cuz I don't.
That's the way rule by decree works post 2008.

Rusty said...

shiloh said...
"Nope. If I enlist today, I know I may go to war, somewhere. Service men/women are employees. The employer determines where they go. That is a given."

"Cohen and Friedman are always eager to let someone else's child die in unwinnable wars..."

It's still someone else's child whether they volunteer or not. You can't be this dense. ok, maybe you can.

Dense. Indeed.

Bobby said...

khesanh0802,

"I am entertained by those here who comment that we can't know what Trump will do because he may change what he says from time to time during the campaign. Honestly, have you ever believed a word that a politician has said about what he/she would do once in office? If you have, I hope Obama's tenure has cured you of that level of naivete"

With all due respect, sir, I think there's space between "believ(ing) every word that a politician has said about what he/she would do once in office" (bold added for emphasis) and a politician stating positions that are so all over the place (and often downright contradictory) that we're entitled to say we "can't know what Trump will do." Yes, of course, politicians lie and none of them ever accomplish (or even try to accomplish) everything they say they will. Yet, during the course of a campaign, the aggregate of their statements and pronouncements, as well as the composition of their advisors and likely middle managers, can at least help us to determine what we suspect that candidate would do with their foreign policy once in office.

For example, Candidate Obama lied in 2008- yeah, okay, we're all in agreement on that one. But, still, were you the least bit surprised that he withdrew all the troops from Iraq in 2011, despite the military and intelligence community recommending a residual force? That he pursued the nuclear deal with Iran despite it lacking appropriate inspection provisions? That he tried (and is still trying) to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay despite Congressional resistance to re-locating the detainees to US soil? That he normalized relations with Cuba? That he's pursued resettling Syrian refugees sans any effective vetting process? That he's chosen to be "tougher" with Netanyahu than with the leaders of terrorist-sponsoring states? Etc. etc.

I, for one, am not and was not the least surprised on any of these things (to be honest, on some matters, I've been surprised in the other direction: I expected him to be even softer than he has been on things like the surge in Afghanistan and the usage of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, notwithstanding the political reasons that led him in each of these cases). Why no surprise? Because over the course of a campaign, I learned enough about Candidate Obama that I had a pretty good idea of what I expected him to do as President Obama. I cannot say the same thing about Trump because he is- literally- all over the place on just about every single foreign policy issue that ever comes up: from Russia and NATO to China, Syria, and Iran, he's made so many contradictory statements that I can't begin to imagine which position reflects his real thinking.

So, yes, I think we're entitled to say we don't know which President Trump would show up in the White House, and if you think our doubts are not different than the normal doubts associated with other Presidential candidates (whether Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan or Carter), then I'm afraid we have fundamentally different definitions of "normal doubt."

But I'm always happy to entertain you!

coupe said...

What people seem to forget, is that there is no-mo money.

By ending Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama now has pocket money he can give to needy causes. Places like Cuba, California, and Florida.

Every dollar is spoken for unless Congress can raise taxes.

Levi Starks said...

Oh its working all right, it's working just like he planned....

AReasonableMan said...

Freidman's idea that the US is responsible for the economic development of Arab nations is literally insane. We built up the economy of China at the expense of our own people and economy and what do we have to show for it? A massive, hostile communist nation that is now a significant national security threat. How could it possibly be in our interest to do the same in the ME? What advantage would accrue to us to improve the economy of intolerant religious fanatics? As China shows very clearly, these countries would take the economic benefits without even making a show of adopting western social and political norms, and who could blame them. The fatal arrogance of the west is the belief that our social system is the best. No one outside the west believes this.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Jonathan,
"an armed israel has little to fear."

You mean other than the hundreds of terrorist attacks a year that they go through?

Anglelyne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anglelyne said...

ARM: The fatal arrogance of the west is the belief that our social system is the best. No one outside the west believes this.

And nowadays, a lot of people inside the West, who are not of the West.

ARM, my man, it's strange, strange days, the way I find myself nodding in agreement with your comments.

If only the West would rediscover the salutary arrogance of believing that our social system is the best for us, because it's ours, and suits us, and we insist on maintaining it, for ourselves. But that would require that a lot of insane (or venal, or insane and venal) Westerners remember that there is such a thing as us.

Everybody else in the world understands this essential attribute of sanity.

Michael K said...

"The fatal arrogance of the west is the belief that our social system is the best. No one outside the west believes this."

OMG! Did ARM really ay this ? What a disappointment when I was beginning to think he was intelligent.

Had Darius won the Battle of Marathon or Xerxes won the Battle of Salamis. we would be living in a world that was not recognizable.

Had Charles Martel lost at Tours, we would be in a very different world. I doubt that any of what we call science or human rights would exist.

Of course it is the best and that is why every successful civilization copies it.

Paul said...

"It's not working"... duh, what was your first clue Richard?

Most folks knew war by assassination would never work if you wanted to WIN.

Bunch of fools.

Hyphenated American said...

"The fatal arrogance of the west is the belief that our social system is the best. No one outside the west believes this."

Which is why the people from outside the West immigrate to the West.... Cause its social system is not the best - just for sight-seeing. Right?

But let's try to define "Western" social system....

Freedom: religion, speech, economic, political.
Democracy: our leaders are elected.

Today there are 3 alternatives to the Western values: Socialism (Nazi, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Castro), Islamism (ISIS, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.) and general chaos/corruption (South America, most of Africa, chunks of Middle East - Egypt for example).

Dictators of China had to incorporate elements of Western system - free market economy, some freedoms. They haven't got democracy yet - but I wonder if most chinese people are happy that they cannot elect their leaders.

There is a cancer growing on the Western civilization though - it's "liberalism" and multi-culturism, but these are elements of socialism and general chaos/corruption, not a serious ideology.

elcee said...

M Jordan:
"He is the person who helped me to find some reason to support Bush's invasion into Iraq. He wrote that it was Bush telling the Muslim world, we will fight you on terrorism on your soil, even if we have to invent some rationales to do it."

The rationale for Operation Iraqi Freedom wasn't invented. On the law and the facts, the President's decision for OIF was correct: the casus belli was Iraq's evidential material breach across the board of the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441), especially the disarmament (WMD), terrorism, and humanitarian-related Gulf War ceasefire mandates.

The explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom includes:
Answers to "What were President Bush’s alternatives with Iraq?" and "Why did Bush leave the ‘containment’ (status quo)?";
Answers to "Did Bush allow enough time for the inspections?" and "Did Iraq failing its compliance test justify the regime change?";
Answer to "Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq?".