Arlington, VA November 15, 2015
The devastating consequences of the attacks in Paris this past Friday go far beyond the physical pain an suffering, the death of innocent people, and the seeming impossibility of stopping the ISIS move into Europe. What is really at stake here is the continued dominance of the culture, ethics, and sanity.
There is an increasing vacuum in the current world order--it has no real leader. For many decades, the President of the United States was considered one of, if not the primary world leader, but the current President has abrogated that position to others. Perhaps he believes he is still a leader, but be assured all the signs are there that he is quickly turning the United States into a follower nation. His brand of 'leadership' in any other time frame would be considered simply cowardice--and the American people need to understand the implications of his policies.
First, understand that the emergence of ISIS and the Caliphate is not something new. Look back to the 9th-10th-and 11th centuries to see the rise of Islam, and the extension of that religious and political power from its origins in the Arabian Peninsula, through the Middle East, into the Balkans, and then upward and Westward into Europe. Only the Army of Charles Martel in France stopped that surge, moved them back, and reduced the threat. Also remember that the threat has recurred over the centuries, in Spain and elsewhere since that time.
The concept is to regain the territories lost from earlier expansions, and regain the lands of Islam. They believe it is their destiny to rule, and any loss of life--particularly non-believer loss of life is irrelevant to the ultimate goals, as stated in the Qu'ran and tradition. Death and pillage are secondary to the need to regain the lands some Islamists still believe is rightfully theirs. Those aims are no universal aims--most who practice Islam are peaceful people, contributors to local society, and firm in their religious beliefs, but no ideologues or fanaticists who use religion as an excuse.
Islamic radicalism, most recently expressed by the hoors inflicted on Paris by ISIS, is a real threat, and requires decisive leadership to counteract, and destroy it. That form of fanaticism does not go away by calling it something else, and it does not go away by withdrawing from the world stage, rather than addressing the issues. Aside from a few ineffective air strikes, and killing a few side players in the ISIS ranks, Obama has done nothing to reduce or eliminate the threat, just as he did with al-Queda. Obama ordered the killing of Usama bin Laden long after the intelligence community knew he was not longer effectively in charge of the movement--only its spiritual leader. Spiritual leaders in that movement are a dime-a-dozen--he was replaced, and quickly. The same is happening with ISIS.
Obama needs to worry less about his legacy and more about protecting democracy--if he is truly a world leader. He need to act like a leader and not like a coward. He has the most powerful military in the world, and he is dismantling it rather than using it to fight the demonstrated enemy. That is not a world leader--that is a world-class coward.