ISIS’s fremgang er Barack Obamas nederlag og dermed USAs.  En liberal presse stritter imot å se hvor dypt nederlaget stikker. Det forsøker i det lengste å redde ansikt, som også er deres eget.

Fra den ene seriøse kommentator etter den andre kommer det nå knusende kritikk av Obama-administrasjonen. Walter Russel Mead er høyst respektert.

Kritikken kunne like gjerne vært rettet mot den rødgrønne regjeringen her hjemme. Liksom Obama forsøkte Stoltenberg-regjeringen seg med dialog. Den så på George W. Bush som en aggressiv reaksjonær cowboy. De skulle gjøre det så mye bedre. De visste.

Hvordan kunne det likevel gå så galt? For å undertrykke dette spørsmålet later pressen som det ikke er galt.

Det gjør krisen enda dypere.

Russel Mead sier verden står overfor den farligste terrorgruppe den  hittil har sett.

Welcome to President Obama’s brave new world. After six years in office pursuing strategies he believed would tame the terror threat and doing his best to reassure the American people that the terror situation was under control, with the “remnants” of al-Qaeda skittering into the shadows like roaches when the exterminator arrives, Obama now confronts the most powerful and hostile jihadi movement of modern times, a movement that dances on the graveyard of his hopes.

De liberale mediene skåner en president som er deres, som de derfor beskytter. Men de snakker ikke lenger om hans Kairo-tale fra seks år tilbake. Det er mye de er tause om. Men de får seg ikke til å se hvordan den ene satsing etter den andre har slått feil.

Hadde presidenten vært republikansk ville pressen gasset seg i å hudflette hans politikk. Nå snur de seg vekk. De ønsker ikke å legge fiaskoene ved Obamas føtter.

One wishes we had a Republican President right now if only because when a Republican is in the White House, the media and the chattering classes believe they have a solemn moral duty to categorize and analyze the failures of American strategy and policy. Today that is far from the case; few in the mainstream press seem interested in tracing the full and ugly course of the six years of continual failure that dog the footsteps of the hapless Obama team in a region the White House claimed to understand. Nothing important has gone right for the small and tightly knit team that runs American Middle East policy. Most administrations have one failure in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking; this administration has two, both distinctly more ignominious and damaging than average. The opening to the Middle East, once heralded by this administration as transformative, has long vanished; no one even talks about the President’s speeches in Cairo and Istanbul anymore, unless regional cynics are looking for punch lines for bitter jokes. The support for the “transition to democracy” in Egypt ended on as humiliating a note as the “red line” kerfuffle in Syria. The spectacular example of advancing human rights by leading from behind in Libya led to an unmitigated disaster from which not only Libya but much of north and west Africa still suffers today.


Obama-adminstrasjonens selvbilde er fremdeles intakt. De snakker fortsatt nedsettende om George W. Bushs utenrikspolitikk, og har enda ikke våknet til at deres er enda verrre. Bush lyktes å snu en katastrofal politikk i Irak gjennom the surge. Obamas folk har sparket to av de beste arkitektene bak denne snuoperasjonen: Petraeus og McChrystal.

ISIS fremgang er deres nederlag, og de har ennå ikke forstått at USA står foran en trussel som overgår det gamle al-Qaida, også mot USA innenlands.

Rarely has an administration so trumpeted its superior wisdom and strategic smarts; rarely has any American administration experienced so much ignominious failure, or had its ignorance and miscalculation so brutally exposed. No one, ever, will call this administration’s Middle East policies to date either competent or wise—though the usual press acolytes will continue to do what they can to spread a forgiving haze over the strategic collapse of everything this White House has attempted, as they talk about George W. Bush at every chance they get. (An honorable exception in the NYTtoday: Peter Baker has a piece examining the Administration’s failure to end American involvement in Iraq, and making the obvious but important point that the Iraq fiasco is a consequence of Administration failures in Syria. There are more dots still to connect.)

Fredningstiden av Obama-administrasjonen må opphøre. Den trussel USA står overfor er så stor at slike hensyn må vike. Land som Jordan og Libanon kan bli destabilisert. Hva vil dette bety for Israels sikkerhet?

Situasjonen er så alvorlig at USA må vurdere om det er mulig å inngå en taktisk allianse med Russland, Kina og Iran, underes Mead, som er klar over at disse er like opptatt av å skade USA som å ramme ISIS.

Now, from the ruins of the Obama Administration’s Middle East strategy, the most powerful and dangerous group of religious fanatics in modern history has emerged in the heart of the Middle East. The rise of ISIS is a strategic defeat of the first magnitude for the United States and its allies (as well as countries like Russia and even China). It is a perfect storm of bad policy intersecting with troubled times to create the gravest threat to U.S. and world stability since the end of the Cold War.

The mainstream press and the professional chatterboxes of the news shows need to set aside their squeamishness at poring over the details of a major strategic failure by a liberal Democrat. The rise of ISIS/ISIL is a disaster that must be examined and understood. How could the U.S. government have been caught napping by the rise of a new and hostile power in a region of vital concern? What warning signs were missed, what opportunities were lost—and why? What role did the administration’s trademark dithering and hairsplitting over aid to ISIS’s rivals in the Syrian opposition play in the rise of the radicals?

Vi står bare ved begynnelsen av en revurdering av Obamas presidentstyre. John Kerry var på rundreise i Midtøsten nylig, men han kunne ikke levere det hans verter ønsket mest av ham: sikkerhetsgarantier. Det vil ikke Obama gi.

The problem is that what Middle Eastern leaders want most from the United States is exactly what President Obama doesn’t want to give them: firm promises of significant and effective military support.

Dermed oppstår et sikkerhetsvakuum, og det er i dette ISIS har ekspandert.

Verden undervurderer ISIS, mener Mead.

 For now, the organization appears to be focused on its local wars, where it certainly has plenty to do. But we’ve consistently underestimated the group’s capabilities, strategic intelligence, innovative planning methods, and drive to prevail. It would be most unwise to assume that a jihadi terror organization 2.0 like ISIS, richer than Osama bin Laden and better supplied with arms and supporters, is incapable of thinking one or two steps ahead. And there’s the reality that hotheads all over the world will be inspired by its success to try a little murder and mayhem on their own.

Obama har trukket USA ut av Irak og Afghanistan. Men han risikerer et blowback: Amerikanernes sikkerhet er truet. Benghazi har vokst og forsvinner ikke. Hva hvis det skjer nye angrep og det viser seg at Obamas politikk ikke har gitt økt trygghet? Det vil gjøre Obama sårbar.

Hva hvis det viser seg at de ideene han har holdt høyest er de som har fått USAs politikk til å slå mest feil? Mead er ikke den første som sier at det er slik. Men fremdeles virker det som Obamas team tror at de vet best.

So here, alas, is where we now stand six years into the Age of Obama: The President isn’t making America safer at home, he doesn’t have the jihadis on the run, he has no idea how to bring prosperity, democracy, or religious moderation to the Middle East, he can’t pivot away from the region, and he doesn’t know what to do next. He’s the only President this country has got, and one can’t help but wish him well, but if things are going to get any better, he needs to stop digging. He probably needs to bring in some new blood, and he must certainly ask himself some tough questions about why so many of his most cherished ideas keep leading him and his country into such ugly places.

Six years into what the President and his supporters thought would be an era of liberal Democrats seizing the national security high ground from enfeebled, discredited Republicans, the outlook is much grimmer than the President’s team could have dreamed. Perhaps they should take comfort from the example of George W. Bush; at this point in his presidency things looked pretty bleak, too. Between the surge in Iraq and hard work building bridges with allies, Bush had some positive foreign policy momentum going by the time he left office. It’s not a place on Mount Rushmore, but it’s better than the alternative. Mr. Obama must now hope he can accomplish as much.

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