WASHINGTON, September 29, 2014 — In the face of a much stronger ISIS and in the wake of another round of bombings against ISIS, President Obama spoke to Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes about how the fight is going. In his interview, President Obama discussed the struggles facing the allied Coalition, and the roadblocks and developments which have already presented themselves. When asked about the apparent strength of ISIS, and the inability of US and allied airstrikes to make a significant dent, President Obama decided to lay blame elsewhere.
“Jim Clapper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated . . . what had been taking place in Syria…”
It turns out that ISIS is a bigger problem than previously thought. When ISIS was capturing Mosul, Fallujah, and Tal-Afar in June, the US could not be bothered to interfere, but now that ISIS has presented a clear threat to Iraq, the United States is becoming involved. ISIS needs to be stopped, groups such as ISIS, and al-Qaeda are the top priority for the United States.
During the 2012 Presidential Elections, Gov. Romney and President Obama had an interesting back and forth concerning what each perceived to be the greatest threat on the World stage. Gov. Romney believes that Russia, through their obstructionism in the U.N., and the arming of President Assad, is the greatest “geo-political foe” that the United States faces today. President Obama disagreed, deriding Romney by joking that the “80’s called and they want their foreign policy back.” To President Obama, al-Qaeda, and groups like them which include ISIS, represent the greatest threat to the United States, and it is there that our efforts should be concentrated.
This debate became the foundation for the Obama Administration to go after al-Qaeda knock off groups. To the Obama Administration, an administration which has had no real foreign policy strategy since they have taken office, the 2012 election was a mandate from the people, and a summary approval of his remarks that al-Qaeda represented the greatest threat to US security, and not Russia. And while Gov. Romney clarified then, and many times since then, that al-Qaeda was a threat, and did need to be dealt with, and that Russia was simply obstructionist on the UN Security Council, to the Obama Administration and in the media the line had been drawn.
A vote for President Obama was a vote to go after the terrorists.
A vote for Gov. Romney was a vote to buck up against Russia.
To the average American voter who remembers the 9/11 attacks the choice in this particular instance is clear. Kill the terrorists who took down the Twin Towers, who flew a plane into the Pentagon, who almost got the White House. Kill the terrorists who brought the United States into Afghanistan, who started the insurgency in Iraq, and who are destabilizing governments all over the World.
To the average American voter it does not matter that it was the Soviet Union, Russia, who birthed al-Qaeda in the first place. Their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 prompted the United States to arm and equip local Afghan tribes and opposition groups, most notable among them were the Mujahedeen. The Mujahedeen worked closely with the US to rid Afghanistan of the Soviets. Then the Mujahedeen realized they liked the money, and the influence which came along with fighting large, industrialized powers, and so turned their sights on the United States. They became al-Qaeda, they became the group which spawned so much violence, bloodshed, and destabilization in the region. They became the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and they became that group because we used them to stop Soviet, Russian, advancements in Afghanistan.
Along comes Russia in Ukraine. Through subversion and through the violation of international laws they have invaded Ukraine under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians in Crimea and in the east. They are there, in all actuality, to take as much territory as they can, and to scare the Ukrainian government into subservience. They have annexed the sovereign territory of another nation at the barrel of a gun, and they have done so without any fear of reprisal. Of course the United States and some of the Western Allies have imposed sanctions on several Russian leaders, and NATO has decided to send a “rapid deployment” force of some 10,000 troops, spearheaded by Britain. However during the same 60 Minutes interview as mentioned above, President Obama ruled out the possibility of confrontation between Russia and NATO.
“No, I don’t think there’s going to be a military confrontation between NATO and Russia, although we have worked very hard to reassure that Article Five of the NATO treaty means what it says…We come to the aid and assistance, so if you mess with the NATO country, then there will be a military confrontation. And Putin understands that. But I do think there’s a possibility of Russia moving in a better direction…”
However while President Obama claims that “Putin understands that…” in terms of the willingness of NATO to use force, President Obama clearly is unwilling and unready to step on the toes of the former KGB Spymaster. The President can deny that Russia is not our greatest foe on the World stage, and he can focus elsewhere, but when another power can so blatantly stop the United States in their tracks, and so dissuade them from action, then that nation is perhaps a nation to be reckoned with.
And that nation is Russia. Russian support for Assad is what is stopping the Opposition from taking ground. Russian support for Assad is what is scaring the Europeans and the United States from openly and aggressively supporting the Opposition. In Ukraine the US and Europe are scared to openly and aggressively support Kiev because of the Russian influence. The major factor, the common denominator between these two foreign policy issues is Russia. However by acknowledging that, and by making policies to that affect, President Obama would be proving Gov. Romney right, and that will simply not do.
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