Wow. That was some summer. The Islamic State that President Obama dismissed as “JV” proved to be a virulent varsity—gobbling up gobs of the Middle East, beheading an American journalist, and threatening the United States. Russia invaded Ukraine. Ferguson burned. Obama shrugged.
“The truth of the matter is that the world has always been messy,” the president told Democratic donors between meetings of his national security team and rounds of golf. “In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.”
No, that’s not it. The truth of the matter is that Americans have always noticed how messy the world can be. Somebody needs to tell Obama there was media before social media.
What’s unique about our times is the nature of the threats—suicidal, homicidal, genocidal terrorists, well armed and organized, seeking the destruction of the United States. The other difference: the lack of Western leadership, starting with the president himself.
Obama’s acknowledgement that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in Syria could be forgiven if he hadn’t help spawned the ISIS wave by publicly dithering on Syria; if he hadn’t, less than a year ago, erroneously compared the terrorist state to a junior varsity club; and if he hadn’t appeared incapable of leading anybody to a solution. His own team is divided, confused, perhaps broken.