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Strategically bankrupt.

Summary: As U.S. President Barack Obama stumbles back and forth on his ISIS policy, as he has done with most foreign policy issues throughout his tenure, it becomes increasingly hard to take him seriously, or to have any real faith in his ability to see policies through.

As U.S. President Barack Obama stumbles back and forth on his ISIS policy, as he has done with most foreign policy issues throughout his tenure, it becomes increasingly hard to take him seriously, or to have any real faith in his ability to see policies through.

That so much times has passed -- three months -- between ISIS taking Mosul and large areas of western Iraq and an announcement of a U.S. policy designed to push back these gains, is worrying and means one of two equally terrifying things.

Either U.S. intelligence authorities were aware of the imminent advance by ISIS and did nothing to stop it at the time, or it was completely in the dark, and had no idea what was about to happen, that a "caliphate" would soon be created, larger than Britain.

And what Obama has since said about the need to combat ISIS has been confused and confusing. A day after his top military adviser mentioned the prospect of U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq, Obama swore this would not be the case.

However, as we have commonly seen over the last couple of years -- not just in the Middle East, but in Ukraine and elsewhere -- Obama's concepts of "red lines" are, in fact, rather malleable. This to-ing and fro-ing is a manifestation of the lack of a coherent strategy to combat ISIS, and should leave observers wary. That Obama might be forced to do a volte face on troops on the ground seems likely, given the way ISIS is already strengthening its defenses ahead of airstrikes.

At home and abroad, Obama has proven that he is no strategist, and that the U.S. lacks strategy. His anti-ISIS policies will be observed with hopefulness, but with a healthy dose of caution also.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Sep 19, 2014
Words:363
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