Somewhat Reassuring

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.

8 thoughts on “Somewhat Reassuring

  1. I was talking to a friend who happens to be pretty far right , and his thoughts are that Isis is going to be attacking within the USA any time now, and Obama is to blame because he did not “finish the job”. I don’t argue about this any more, not worth the time or blood pressure increase.
    Regarding the history of Iraq just since 1980, it is amazing there are any people in Iraq that don’t have serious mental illness. The Iran /Iraq war has been compared to ww in regards to the trench warfare, poison gas, and the use of human waves. The human toll was off the charts. Then came operations desert shield and desert storm under Bush 41, and the horrible slaughter of Iraqi conscripts in saturation bombing and along the infamous “highway of death” exodus from Kuwait.
    The no fly zones and regular bombings continued under Clinton, then dubya happened. Has any other country on the planet been the subject of such prolonged torture and abuse ?

  2. @erinyes

    I hope so, too. I will vote for her if she’s the Dem candidate, but I dearly wish other Dems would challenge her. Quite apart from her policies, I don’t think dynasties (Bush, Clinton, or any others) are healthy for the country.

  3. I don’t watch the Sunday “news” gab-fest’s any more, but, from what I read yesterday, our usual conservative nitwit’s and NeoCLOWNS blame President Obama for pulling out the troops – which is what W signed onto – and want to put boots on the ground there.

    Sure, because it won’t be them and theirs going over there.
    It’ll be some other people’s kids going into battle, to get wounded, or die.

    I’d say send in our NeoCLOWNS, but they’d get fragged within seconds by the rest of the recruits.

  4. “No victor/no vanquished almost sounds Zen.”

    You know who else it sounds like?

    It happens I just finished re-reading Barbara Tuchman’s The Zimmerman Telegram, so this struck me strongly: It is exactly what Woodrow Wilson was trying to make of World War I. Till Zimmerman and the U-boats made hash of that policy approach. Not that it could have worked in any case.

    But Obama isn’t Wilson. Like, at least not a racist. So maybe this time–?

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