From the first post-Labor Day edition of the Morning Jolt:
President Obama Is Always Telling Us to Not Worry.
The “unfortunate contrasts” for the White House are piling up like planes waiting on the tarmac at Dallas Fort Worth Friday afternoon. We have a president keeping a summer 2008 schedule while a high-profile American enemy speaks like it’s autumn 2001:
President Obama flies to Europe on Tuesday ahead of talks with NATO allies over the crisis in Ukraine. But they will also discuss the growing threat posed by ISIS, the Islamic extremists who have seized control of large sections of Iraq and Syria.
While Mr. Obama was touting an improving economy in Wisconsin, the terror group released the third issue of its English language online magazine, complete with pictures of the group executing Syrian soldiers and blowing up the homes of those who cooperated with police.
It’s no longer some crazy right-wing notion to wonder if the president is in denial about the seriousness of the threats building overseas. The editorial board of the Washington Post openly wonders if President Obama is ignoring what his cabinet is telling him about Russia’s aggression and ISIS:
One can only imagine the whiplash that foreign leaders must be suffering. They heard U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power denounce Russia as “today . . . they open a new front . . . Russia’s force along the border is the largest it has been . . . the mask is coming off.” An hour later, Mr. Obama implicitly contradicted her: “I consider the actions that we’ve seen in the last week a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now . . . it’s not really a shift.”
Similarly, his senior advisers uniformly have warned of the unprecedented threat to America and Americans represented by Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq. But Mr. Obama didn’t seem to agree. “Now, ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region,” he said. “My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back.” Contrast that ambition with this vow from Secretary of State John F. Kerry: “And make no mistake: We will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil.”
His advisers are only stating the obvious: Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Islamic State and the Americans it is training are a danger to the United States. When Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. says the threat they pose is “in some ways . . . more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” it’s not because he is a warmonger or an alarmist. He’s describing the world as he sees it. When Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge the reality, allies naturally wonder whether he will also refuse to respond to it.
NBC News’ Richard Engel Sunday: “I speak to military commanders, I speak to former officials, and they are apoplectic. They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done. One official said that this was a Freudian slip, that it shows how the United States does not have a policy to deal with Syria, even when you have ISIS, which has effectively become a terrorist army, roughly 20,000 strong.”
One quick note: The United States military is the best in the world, and while fighting terrorists is always difficult, the Pentagon is pretty spectacular and thorough when it comes to defeating opposing armies. House-to-house urban warfare, determining friend from foe in densely-packed chaotic environments full of civilians – everybody struggles at that. But once an American enemy gets big enough to have groups of guys standing around in one place, and lots of vehicles, and permanent structures – well, then it’s just a matter of establishing air superiority and then targeting and bombing them to oblivion. Ask the Iraqi army, either the 1991 edition or the 2003 edition.
What makes ISIS different – its ability to openly hold and control territory with heavier weapons – also makes it much more vulnerable from the West’s preferred style of combat.
Back to our resolutely oblivious president. Obama at a DNC event, late last week: “I promise you, things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.” He said this the day UK Prime Minister David Cameron declared that his country faced “the greatest and deepest terror threat in its history.”
Ace of Spades, articulating an increasingly common fear:
For some time I have had concerns about Obama. And not all of these concerns are political.
I have wondered if he simply snapped.
He continues to make me wonder.
The less menacing possibility is that he is determined to create a happy, false reality for his LIV supporters.
The more frightening possibility is that he was so successful in creating that Happy Place, he decided to move in, and now lives in his own delusions as well.
I don’t know if this will make Ace feel any better, but what we’re seeing now is an old and steady Obama habit, more pronounced against horrific events. “It’s not as bad as it seems!” is an Obama trademark.
If you were worried about Putin in 2012, “the 80s called, they want their foreign policy back.” All that U.S.-Russia relations needed was “more flexibility.” In May, he spoke about the invasion and occupation of Crimea as if it had been properly resolved: “Our ability to mobilize international opinion rapidly has changed the balance and the equation in Ukraine.”
Relax, America. This pair is on the case!