Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Sunday, August 10th, 2014.


Somewhat Reassuring

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Obama Administration

I usually would rather have  dental work than read Tom Friedman’s column. But this time he interviewed President Obama, and I liked this part:

Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished. The United States is not going to be the air force of Iraqi Shiites or any other faction.

No victor/no vanquished almost sounds Zen.

At the end of the day, the president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us. We have so many things going for us right now as a country — from new energy resources to innovation to a growing economy — but, he said, we will never realize our full potential unless our two parties adopt the same outlook that we’re asking of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds or Israelis and Palestinians: No victor, no vanquished and work together.

However, as I explained in the last post, this can’t happen. Too bad.

Juan Cole’s assessment of the bombing in Iraq is that ISIS was about to overrun Irbil, which has a U.S. consulate, and he’s trying to avoid another Benghazi!®. William Saletan (yeah, I know, it’s William Saletan) wrote,

War-weary critics say Obama’s intervention will lead to all-out American military engagement. Hawks protest that he has no vision and that his limited intervention won’t defeat ISIS. Both sides complain that he has no end game.

They’re wrong. Military intervention doesn’t have to fit into a strategy for military victory. It can make sense on more modest terms, as part of a larger political process that is moving in the right direction and is driven by other players. When miscreants such as ISIS endanger that process, a timely use of force can contain the damage and preserve the momentum. We don’t have to wage a larger war in Iraq.

He then presents ten reasons why the bombing in Iraq will not turn into a wider war, and I have no idea whether Saletan knows what he’s talking about. Combined with the interview, though, I don’t believe the President will get us sucked into Iraq War II.

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