Beyond the Faculty Lounge: ‘Maybe I Shouldn’t Have Withdrawn Those Troops and Blamed My Predecessor for Everything’

economist-mission-relaunched-obama

For more than three years, Barack Obama has been trying to avoid getting into a fight in Syria. But this week, with great tracts of the Middle East under the jihadist’s knife, he at last faced up to the inevitable. On September 23rd America led air strikes in Syria against both the warriors of Islamic State (IS) and a little-known al-Qaeda cell, called the Khorasan group, which it claimed was about to attack the West. A president who has always seen his main mission as nation-building at home is now using military force in six countries—Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

” When Syrians rose up against the regime of Bashar Assad, the president stood back in the hope that things would sort themselves out—leaving Mr Assad free to commit atrocities against his own people.”

The Syrian operation is an essential counterpart to America’s attacks against IS in Iraq. Preventing the group from carving out a caliphate means, at the very least, ensuring that neither of these two countries affords it a haven (see article). But more than the future of IS is at stake in the streets of Raqqa and Mosul. Mr Obama’s attempt to deal with the jihadists is also a test of America’s commitment to global security. It is a test that he has been failing until now.

“About 200,000 Syrians have died and 10m have been driven from their homes. Denied early American support, the moderate Syrian opposition has fragmented, leaving the field to the ruthless and well-organised IS.”

Its rise has also reflected American policy. First, the poorly thought-out intervention of George W. Bush, typified by the rash “Mission Accomplished” banner that greeted him on the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003 after his invasion of Iraq. Then Mr Obama’s studious inaction. When Syrians rose up against the regime of Bashar Assad, the president stood back in the hope that things would sort themselves out—leaving Mr Assad free to commit atrocities against his own people. Even when Mr Assad crossed “the red line” of using chemical weapons, the superpower did not punish him. About 200,000 Syrians have died and 10m have been driven from their homes. Denied early American support, the moderate Syrian opposition has fragmented, leaving the field to the ruthless and well-organised IS.

Standing back has not worked well elsewhere in the world, either…(read more)

The Economist


One Comment on “Beyond the Faculty Lounge: ‘Maybe I Shouldn’t Have Withdrawn Those Troops and Blamed My Predecessor for Everything’”

  1. Mike says:

    Reblogged this on makeaneffort and commented:
    Barack W. Bush
    A New Foreign Policy from the Smartest Man to have ever held the office.


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