Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Long War

When liberal stalwarts at NBC and its cable outlet MSNBC begin looking around for the exits the White House knows it's got serious problems with the American people. Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell combined the other day to, in effect, throw up their hands in exasperation over the lack of a coherent foreign policy coming from the Obama administration. Here's an excerpt from a NewsBusters report:
The segment began with Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director, Chief White House Correspondent and host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, arguing that “I’ve been trying to figure out this man's doctrine now for six years. He doesn't have one. He ran basically with a wink and a nod that this was going to be a George H.W. Bush type of foreign policy, stability and diplomacy first.”

After Todd did his best to explain away why Obama failed to establish a coherent foreign policy, Mitchell continued to chastise the White House:
But right now he’s tactically, he’s being held hostage to endless negotiations to get Maliki out. And to decide that you’re not going to do anything until you have a government is to wait forever, and is to permit ISIS to do what it has done.
The host of Andrea Mitchell Reports continued to scold the Obama Administration, this time for claiming it didn’t have adequate intelligence to stop ISIS' recent attack:
And to say he that didn't have intelligence. This is not a hard target. This is Irbil. We have people there. The fact is, there was intelligence. And to say that they were shocked by the Peshmerga on Saturday night being routed is a farce. The White House wasn't listening.
Mr. Obama's ad hoc foreign engagements have been variously attributed to his lack of interest, his incompetence, and his naivete about human nature and the way the world works. All of these may appertain, but I think the biggest reason that he and many others on both left and right have failed in the Middle East is that too few policy makers grasp that we're in a trans-generational war with a radical Islam whose long term goal is the violent destruction of Western civilization.

Simply stopping ISIS from murdering tens of thousands of Yazidis does nothing to secure peace with the Islamists. Pressuring Israel to stop short of eliminating Hamas does nothing to secure peace with Islamists. The only way there will ever be a semblance of security against groups like ISIS and Hamas is to defeat them utterly and to show the rest of the Muslim world that it is in their interests to get along with the West rather than seeking to destroy it.

Mr. Obama came into office burdened, evidently, by the misapprehension that if we withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan, tried to strike a balance between Israel and Hamas, and called for the overthrow of unpopular strongmen like Mubarek, then the Muslim world would faint like teenagers at his campaign rallies at the wonder of his words, his loving-kindness, and charismatic presence. If only, he seemed to think, the Muslim world knew that we really cared about them and were going to leave them alone when they committed their atrocities the Age of Aquarius would be upon us and the lion would soon lie down with the lamb.

It was all incredibly naive, but it's what Americans, tired of the unwelcome intrusions and distractions of war, and eager to get back to their x-boxes, twitter accounts, beach parties, and daytime soap operas, wanted to hear. It's not completely their fault, however, since no politician has been willing to describe to the masses of Americans the precise nature of the enemy we're faced with. No politician wants to explain to the American people that the beheadings, crucifixions, immolations, live burials of still living children, and other horrors perpetrated by ISIS are not aberrations. They're what Muslims have been doing to non-Muslims for 1500 years and what they would love to do to Americans and Israelis if ever they have the chance.

But to explain this to the American people would be to inform them that we'll either be fighting the Islamists for the rest of their lives or we'll simply have to surrender to their demands. That being a very unpopular message, one unlikely to win elections, it goes undelivered.

Consequently, we stumble along from one conflagration to another, refusing to see that most of these crises share a common thread. They're instigated by hatred on the part of Muslims for anyone not of the particular religion or Islamic sect as they. We also seem unable to acknowledge that this conflict is not likely to end within our lifetimes. Perhaps Mr. Obama is beginning to realize that. If so, it's better late than never.