I was going to write a longer post on foreign policy vis a vis terrorism and ISIS, but I lack both the time as well as confidence in my foreign policy knowledge.
I will offer this, though: There seem to be but two policy positions being discussed
- The largely Conservative position that there is a dangerous and violent authoritarian streak running through the world of Islam and that we need to saddle up the troops and go break some heads and impose order
- The Progressive position embodied by the Obama Administration that there is nothing abnormal going on in Islam and that what we see is random violence spurred by poverty and thus we should not intervene militarily (I consider the current AUMF proposed by Obama to be political posturing to satisfy polls rather than anything driven by true belief).
Why is there not a third alternative to be at least considered -- that there is something really broken in a lot of Islam as practiced today (just as there was a lot of sh*t broken with Christianity in, say, the 14th-16th centuries) and that Islam as practiced in many Middle Eastern countries is wildly illiberal (way more illiberal than any failings of Israel, though you wouldn't know that if you were living on a college campus). But, that we don't need to saddle up the troops and try to change things by force.
Conservatives who can look at things like serial failures in Federal education policy and reach the conclusion that we should be skeptical about Federal initiatives on education seem unable to draw similar conclusions from serial failures in US interventions in the Islamic world. And for its part, the Obama administration seems to be living in some weird alternate universe trying desperately to ignore the reality of the situation.
Yes, I know the first response to all folks like me who advocate for non-intervention is "Munich" and "Czechoslovakia". So be it. But if we sent in the military every time someone yelled "appeasement" our aircraft would be worn out from moving troops around. And we seem to be totally able to ignore atrocities and awful rulers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
As a minimum, I would like to see a coalition of Arab states coming to us and publicly asking us for help -- not this usual Middle East BS we hear that Saudi Ariabi (or whoever) really in private wants us there but publicly they will still lambaste us. Without this support we can win the war but we have no moral authority (as we did after WWII) in the peace. Which is one reason so many of our interventions in the Middle East and North Africa fail.