Fox News is reporting that President Obama, according to a White House aide, intends to arm the, eh, “moderate” Syrian rebels so as to use them as ground troops should the U.S. conduct airstrikes within Syria:
One year to the day since addressing the American people about possible strikes against the Assad regime in Syria over its chemical weapons attack, President Obama is coming back to the American people with a drastically different — and strategically complex — plan to combat a drastically different enemy.
The president, when he speaks from the White House Wednesday night, is expected to on one hand seek Congress’ support in arming and aiding the moderate Syrian opposition. But he is also keeping the door open for possible airstrikes in Syria, something that might require tacit cooperation from the Assad regime.
The target this time is not the Assad government, but the Islamic State, which has in the year since Obama’s last address evolved into Assad’s most formidable enemy — as well as a threat to the Iraq government and the West.
The result could be Obama’s trickiest task yet in the Middle East.
The circular reasoning and preposterous on-the-ground situation stem directly from Obama’s months of dawdling with Assad last year, his “Red Line” period, during which he had a moment to crush Assad with the aide of a burgeoning, legitimately moderate force. Yet by the time he was ready — strike that — forced to act to save his reputation, the moderates had been all but left out of the equation, as what would balloon into ISIS was taking shape. Had Obama armed the Assad opposition at that point, he would have been arming ISIS.
The lesson to be learned here: Obama fundamentally misunderstands the Middle East. He fundamentally misunderstands Islam, jihadism, and the motivations of every single actor in the Middle East, including Israel. As such, if there is a military action to be taken in the Middle East that is in the best interests of the United States — or the collective consciousness of the world that rejects evil, rejects the atrocities of both Assad and ISIS — then the United States is going to have to do the job itself, or at least lead the force.
That’s right: the U.S. needs to take the lead, and you’re with us or against us. Right, John Kerry? Eh … :
The effort to defeat the Islamic State taking hold in Syria and Iraq could involve “nearly every country on earth,” Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Wednesday. He was speaking in Iraq, one of the stops on his coalition-building trip:
“Nearly every country on earth could have an ability and an interest to join in this effort, whether by providing military assistance, by helping to track and stop the flow of foreign fighters, helping to track and stop the flow of money — all of these are things that sustain ISIL’s terrorism and all of them are things that are subject to impact by other countries in the world,” Kerry told a news conference after meeting with the new Iraqi leaders.
Obama intends to literally repeat his tentative, morally subjective policy from last year with a fresh enemy. What does it take to convince these men that the rest of the world’s actors tend to operate with their own agenda, and that their agenda invariably involves gaining ground on the United States?
Arming the Syrian opposition so as to reduce the footprint of the United States in the conflict is not ethical. It’s a policy that traces directly to a leftist world view of the United States as the world’s bully. Yet the smaller we get, the more tentative, the harder it gets to distinguish who we can trust elsewhere.
You don’t need every country in the world to crush ISIS, Mr. Kerry. You need moral clarity.