Saturday, October 11, 2014

Obama's Only Thing

To paraphrase former UCLA football coach Henry Russell Sanders, (the quote later made famous by Vince Lombardi) - For Barack Obama, politics isn't the most important thing, it's the only thing.

From Jonah Goldberg's weekly G-File column on National Review Online --

"One can debate almost every foreign-policy decision Obama has made with regard to the merits, but if you take a step back it becomes clear that the real driver of Obama’s decisions is Beltway chatter and the domestic politics that feed it. And it’s not just on foreign policy. Whenever a scandal erupts, he says whatever words he has to make the media firestorm go away. And because the media doesn’t like to dwell on bad news for Obama, it usually works.

But here’s a different way to think about it. Let’s imagine that America’s national interest is completely disconnected from the domestic news cycle. It’s not a difficult thing to imagine, given that it is so often true. But let’s imagine that the disconnect is even more total. The press never covered the Islamic State. Never reported on the slaughter in Iraq and Syria. Never raised any concerns about what the rise of a terrorist army says about Obama’s foreign policy or our long-term interests in the region. The press focused instead on George Clooney’s wedding, events in Ferguson, Mo., and how awesome Lena Dunham is. Again, this isn’t a hugely difficult mental exercise.

In short, imagine the rise of the Islamic State over the summer presented all of the same national-security and humanitarian problems, but no political problems for Obama. Now ask yourself, would Obama have done anything about it?

Remember: The Islamic State took Fallujah and Mosul months ago and he kept calling it the “jayvee team.” As recently as August, he was telling Tom Friedman that it was ridiculous to arm the Syrian rebels. In September, he was wistfully complaining that the Islamic State made a mistake in beheading those Americans because it aroused U.S. public opinion for war. In other words, doing nothing about the Islamic State was Obama’s foreign policy until the domestic political situation made his foreign policy untenable. Chess Masters think many moves ahead, novices respond to whatever their opponent’s latest move is. Total amateurs just move pieces based on shouts from the crowd watching the game. Obama’s like a kid looking for approval every time he touches a piece.

And that’s why I have no confidence that Obama will stick with his war on the Islamic State one minute longer than the polls and political expediency require."

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