Reactions to Obama’s Lack of Strategy in the Middle East

Given the state of current affairs with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), many have spoken out regarding the comment President Obama made last week about the situation, when he said, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

Former Texas Congressman, Ron Paul, responded saying, “Obama has no Middle East strategy? Good!

Paul accused the United States’ intervention in Syria of being “directly responsible for the rise of ISIS over these past three years,” and he pointed out that the people who wanted the U.S. “to get tougher on ISIS,” are the same ones who “demanded that we support groups like ISIS to overthrow the Assad government in Syria.”

Three years of supporting any force that might overthrow the secular government of President Assad has produced a new monster in the Middle East that neocons insist the U.S. must slay,” wrote Paul.

A foreign policy scholar for the Heritage Foundation, James Phillips, accused Obama of working to advance the enemies of the United States, rather than the allies, and said that Obama’s lack of strategy for responding to the Islamic State “is not likely to instill confidence in his leadership.”

I think, unfortunately, that the Obama administration has put a higher priority on improving relations with U.S. adversaries — Russia, Iran and Syria before the Arab Spring protests broke out — than in advancing U.S. national interests and those of our allies,” Phillips said.

In contrast, a defense expert at the Brookings Institution, Michael O’Hanlon, said that Obama has shown a “healthy respect” for the capabilities of Russia, China, and Iran, and that part of the reason why he “doesn’t get easily into new wars is his view that they tend to be harder than first advertised.”

“I’d say that even the intelligence community and other national security leaders probably underestimated the Islamic State,” said O’Hanlon. “If they’d seen it coming, they might not have favored giving even limited support to the Syrian opposition, and might have preferred Assad as the lesser of two evilsAlternatively, they might have fought harder against the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

Ron Paul wrote that an infiltration of the U.S. military would not end ISIS, but would instead “provide them with the recruiting tool they most crave, while draining the U.S. treasury.

A lack of strategy is a glimmer of hope,” wrote Paul. “Perhaps the president will finally stop listening to the neocons and interventionists whose recommendations have gotten us into this mess in the first place!