It almost seems like the president is not even trying to degrade the Islamic State, let alone destroy it. So if he is not putting in ground troops and not deploying serious air power how is he doing with coalition-building? Not well.
In the latest bit of not-very-smart diplomacy the administration took to publicly excoriating Turkey. It is true our frenemy in Ankara is hedging its bets, unwilling to bolster the Kurds and wary of Bashar al-Assad’s continued, bloody reign, but as the Wall Street Journal editorial board has observed,”Mr. Erdogan has called for ground forces but isn’t willing to go it alone. That would mean taking on the risks of fighting ISIS, as well as the backlash from Iran and Russia for violating Syria’s ‘sovereignty.'” Perhaps if the U.S. would take meaningful action on the ground and in the air, others would follow.
The American people are right to be disturbed about their commander in chief. A CBS poll finds, “Forty percent approve of the job the President is doing on ISIS, but more (51 percent) disapprove. In September, the split was 39 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval. A month ahead of the midterm elections, Republicans hold a large advantage on the issue of terrorism — as they did in September. Fifty-three percent of voters think the Republican Party will do a better job dealing with terrorism, while far fewer – 32 percent – pick the Democrats. . . . 54 percent saying a terror attack on the homeland in the next few months is somewhat or very likely.”
If and when the president gets serious about leading the West to victory over the Islamic State those numbers might change. But until then, our allies and the American people are right to be nervous. The president is simply going through the motions while the Islamic State grows stronger.