Projecting Weakness Won't Bring Peace
Obama's new National Security Strategy leaves much to be desired.
For the first time since 2010, Barack Obama has released an updated National Security Strategy (NSS), which overviews threats to U.S. national security and establishes a strategy for mitigating those threats. Not surprisingly, Obama’s NSS fails to identify several real threats or set a good course for maintaining security.
Anyone who has been remotely paying attention to world events knows there are several legitimate national security threats. One is the rise of the Islamic State, which continues to slaughter innocents and create major instability in the Middle East.
While the NSS identifies the Islamic State as a threat, Obama still fails to identify Islamic extremism and Islamic terrorism as a threat to the United States and the rest of the free world. Instead, the word “Islamic” is replaced by the word “violent.” Nowhere in the document can it be seen that violent extremism is perpetrated at the hands of Islamists.
Nile Gardiner of The Heritage Foundation notes, “The document steadfastly refuses to identify the ideological nature of the foe the United States is confronting, a brutal and vicious adversary that has made huge gains in Iraq and Syria under Obama’s watch. … Nor does the document outline a concrete strategy for defeating Islamist terrorism, from Iraq to Nigeria and Pakistan to Yemen.”
Releasing this NSS without acknowledging radical Islam as a threat isn’t naïve – it’s absurd. Why can’t Obama for once call our enemies what they are? We have heard him call ISIL “the JV team,” hail Islam as the “Religion of Peace™,” and insists that the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris were just random shootings. Moreover, he still insists pulling our troops out of Iraq was the right thing to do even though it left a vacuum for the Islamic State to fill, and therefore negated almost everything for which our troops bled and died.
And now that we’ve left, Obama will reportedly seek an authorization for the use of military force against ISIL.
Meanwhile, a second threat is Iran – that is, a nuclear-armed Iran. The NSS mentions the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and the administration’s goal of reaching a nuclear accord. Why is Obama so adamant about helping Iran acquire nuclear capabilities even though the nation’s leadership vowed to destroy Israel and the United States?
While the commander in chief appeases Iran, Houthi rebels, a terrorist militia in Yemen reportedly backed by Iran, have essentially taken over the Yemeni government. Soft diplomacy doesn’t work when dealing with radical Islamists.
Furthermore, Thomas Donnelly of The Weekly Standard writes, “[T]he most revealing section is that which asserts the administration’s determination to ‘lead with a long-term perspective.’” If leading by long-term perspective means waiting until the next president takes office to battle our real enemies, then Obama is well on his way because the new strategy doesn’t clearly define who our enemy is.
So far, Obama’s diplomatic efforts have failed. All the while, he has downsized the military in the face of growing threats. Our military remains technologically superior, albeit with a smaller force.
To make matters worse, veteran journalist Bob Woodward claims several of our top commanders complain “there is no strategy” and that they are being “micromanaged” by people in the White House – including National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Yep, the same Susan Rice involved in the Benghazi talking points fiasco. If this is the case, then it’s no wonder our top commanders are unclear on Obama’s strategy.
Overall, the new NSS dismisses radical Islam as a threat and aims to tolerate a nuclear powered Iran. Instead of following Ronald Reagan’s proven strategy of peace through strength, Obama has decided that our nation will follow his strategy of peace through weakness. So far, it hasn’t worked. But it seems he will continue on this path until we elect a president who knows that our greatest national security threat isn’t the changing climate.