President Barack Obama spoke to the nation last night in a short address that touched mainly on terrorism and gun controls.  He outlined no new foreign policy pronouncements to fight ISIS in the Middle East and rest assured that this omission is fueling new right wing attacks calling into question his competence, his patriotism and his inability to voice the phrase “Islamic terrorism.”  Frankly, in this era of irrational responses to virtually every domestic and international issue from climate change to childhood vaccinations, the President’s calm, reasoned and low key approach to the latest events out in San Bernardino and Paris are both welcome and, from my point of view, entirely correct.   In comparison, the Republican candidates for President of the United States have offered to fight Obama tooth and nail but have nothing in the way of practical strategies to fight ISIS other than what is already being done by the Administration. 

Obama is right.  There is no quick and easy means of countering ISIS and all the rhetoric about how inept and ineffective is his foreign policy is simply so much partisan bullshit.  In fact, under more normal circumstances (i.e. when Congressional Republicans didn’t vow to make a sitting President a one-termer nor pledge to undermine every single policy initiative a President proposes) there would be near universal calls for Americans to come together, to unite and rally around our President no matter what his or her party affiliation in such tense and fearful times as we are facing today. 

But these are not normal times.   Every Republican Presidential candidate in one form or another has depicted the current state of affairs across the country as somehow desperate, despicable, and diminished.  This, of course, in the face of reality where we have recovered quite smartly from the effects of the worldwide economic collapse in 2008, where U.S. troops are not engaged in active warfare in the Middle East, where this administration has created more jobs since 2009 than all the other Western European nations combined, where interest rates on car loans and home loans are lower than they have ever been.  This, in reality, is the current state of affairs in America, just not among the Tea Baggers, the Freedom Caucus and the Right Winger’s whose reality is, in reality, operating in a parallel reality that has no basis in actual reality.  

As for Obama’s foreign policy viz the mess that is the Middle East currently, I think he is on the right track in both countering and containing ISIS.  The right wingers want the U.S. to “bomb them back to the Stone Age” the self-same foreign policy that created this mess in the first place.  Consider, too, that after all, our “ally,” Saudi Arabia is not interested in fighting their Sunni brethren, ISIS, but rather fighting Shiite Iran and their allies in a continuation of the centuries old Sunni-Shiite war; Russia, too, is more interested in protecting its Middle East ally, Bashar al-Assad, than fighting ISIS, and until the Paris terrorist attacks our European allies haven’t played a significant role in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  Now they are.  But it took the deaths of 130 innocent people.  
Obama and his advisers seem to understand the goals and objectives of ISIS including the fundamental importance of gaining territory under the guise of the Caliphate that they proclaimed a year ago.    In addition, ISIS’s goal is to foment a worldwide religious war, such a condition that would demonstrate that their prophecy of the commencement of the End of Times has come true.  Thus, foolhardy proclamations that we are engaged in a worldwide religious war – Christianity versus Islam – only reinforces ISIS’s theocracy and strengthens their propaganda appeals to disaffected Muslims and will have the result of recruiting even more adherents.   The Obama Administration hasn’t been perfect in its response to the Arab Spring nor in its tactics in countering ISIS, but I think that as Obama said last night, the strategy is smart, relentless and strong.  It will take time to prevail but such a strategy is nuanced – something that right wingers seem to have no concept of – and designed to tread carefully through the minefields of Middle Eastern politics and religious strife without supporting and corroborating  ISIS’s fundamental precepts.  

If you think about it, there is nothing much that the Government - local or Federal – could have done to prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attacks just as there was nothing much that could have been done to prevent the attacks at Columbine, Charleston, Boston or Newtown save implanting computer chips – like those for cats and dogs – that would monitor our every activity, our every utterance and our every inner thought  24 -7.  This is a sad reality but the facts of the matter is that we have always had such terrorists in our midst and it is only after such attacks that occasionally practical responses occur like the Assault Weapons Ban passed by Congress in 1994 and which Congress allowed to expire in 2004.   Today, in 2015, after the deaths of 450 people from domestic terrorist attacks since 2004, our politicians are still in the thrall of the National Rifle Association and locked into doing nothing.   That, in fact, is the situation that we face here in America today and not one of a secret Muslim in the White House.  And, perhaps, it is for this reason that we should all be afraid. 

 By the way, I haven’t seen any evidence of the rampant fear that seems to be spreading like wildfire across the nation post-San Bernardino killings that the media keeps on yelling about.  I don’t know, maybe it’s because we here in D.C. like our brothers and sisters up Interstate 95 in New York City, have been subjected to terrorist attacks and understand the random, irrational and un-predictable nature of such attacks.  Recall, if you will, it’s not only on 9-11 that D.C. was attacked but more recently 12 people – innocents all – were gunned down by Aaron Alexis in the Navy Yard back in 2013.  If you drive straight down 8th Street, where I live, for a mile you will find yourself in front of the Navy Yard’s Main Gate.  If you turn right on M Street that borders the Navy Yard, you will pass by the McDonald’s where I indulge myself once a month in a Quarter Pounder with cheese meal.  Then there was the women who tired to smash through the White House gates and wound up dead in a hail of bullets next to the Supreme Court Building just three blocks West from me.  Thankfully, the young child was who was with her was not harmed.  But this how close I live to terrorist killing sites every day.  And I’m not afraid. 

Have A Good Day. 


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