In a press conference yesterday President Barack Obama admitted that he did not have a strategy to deal with ISIS in Syria at the moment. This admission comes after Obama has ordered airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq while sending in military advisors to help the Iraqi military.
The disclosure of a lack of strategy was provided after Obama was asked if he needed Congress’ approval before taking military action in Syria. Earlier this year Obama pulled back on a plan to bomb the Assad regime when it became clear he would not have enough support to pass a resolution. Part of the problem with building support in Congress and elsewhere was Obama’s apparent lack of a sound strategy and rationale for bombing the Assad government while it was fighting ISIS and other extremists.
QUESTION: Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?
OBAMA: You know, I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as commander in chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress, and I do think that it’ll be important for Congress to weigh in and we’re — that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.
But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are. And I think that’s not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military, as well. We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.
No kidding. Given that only recently President Obama admitted his previous strategy of arming moderate Syrian rebels has “always been a fantasy,” it was already pretty safe to assume he did not have a careful and considered strategy to deal with ISIS in Syria.
But not having a strategy has not stopped Obama before. Most of Obama’s foreign policy is ad hoc such as the Libyan venture which has now spun out of control due to there not being a real strategy or at least one that was followed.
And, of course, if the previous airstrike campaign against the Assad government that Obama wanted had been pursued ISIS would be even stronger than they are today. If there is any lesson from the first attempt at bombing in Syria it is to respect of the law of unintended consequences.