BLOG 307 June 20, 2016
Every now and then, it’s nice to have significant people agree with you. For some time, I have been protesting President Obama’ s lack of leadership in the Syrian debacle. Now more than ever, that charge has been backed up by the State Department. Fifty-one diplomats made a public statement opposing the reticence exhibited by President Obama in his approach to the civil war raging in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry appeared fundamentally to agree with the diplomats.
During the past several years, I have repeatedly suggested that President Obama has made a serious mistake by backing away from the Syrian situation. Vladimir Putin’s aggression in the Crimea and the Ukraine followed Obama’s retreat when Assad repeatedly used chemical weapons after Obama had warned Syria not to do so. Putin concluded Obama was a paper tiger.
Let’s keep the record straight. Obama is an Evangelical Christian. I heard him profess his personal faith at a Presidential Prayer Breakfast. However, his failure to confront radical Muslim aggression has been so significant that many concluded he was actually a Muslim. The truth is that his father was the Muslim.
President Obama has made no secret of the fact that he had a fractured relationship with Barack Obama, Sr.. In 1982, at age 46, his father died in a car wreck after years of total neglect of his son. President Obama knew virtually nothing about what shaped his father’s ideals and ambitions beyond his growing up in Kenya. Whether founded or not, many have charged President Obama’s reluctance to confront radical extremists militarily has some relationship to this problem. His personal struggle is certainly difficult to define.
In September, 2014, Obama declared ISIS was not Islamic because they killed innocent children and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslims. Of course, this would be a surprise to ISIS since it justifies every single one of its atrocities with verses from the Koran. Many leaders within the Muslim community condemn ISIL’s action but can’t escape their claim to be Muslims. At best, President Obama sounds defensive when he makes such statements. Moreover, he appears to back away from tough decisions.
Interestingly enough, President Obama and Prime Minister “Bibi” Netanyahu are unexpectedly similar in this regard. Many within Israel charge Netanyahu with a flawed assessment of reality and that he constantly avoids momentous decisions. He has been described as trapping himself in a paralysis of indecision. President Obama appears to have traveled down the same path on the Middle East. He has certainly avoided the necessary big decisions about Syria and Iraq.
One the persistent problems this hesitation has created for America is that any significant US leadership role has been eroded in the entire Middle East. Currently, a majority of Israeli’s can only hope that Obama’s tenure will quickly pass and new leadership will prove to be more aggressive in the wars occurring in Syria and Iraq.
There seems to be little hope that Obama will change. Indecision will be part of his legacy. Unfortunate. Syria, ISIS, and the rest are simply not from a different perspective. They are evil – and you can’t play games with evil without losing every time.