Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Frum: 'Emotional' war on ISIS is a 'policy of aid-Iran-but-don’t-admit-it'

There's plenty of criticism of Obama in conservative Republican Frum's opinion piece, but this graph sums it up best for me [emphasis mine]:

Debates over foreign policy have a bad tendency to vaporize into abstract discussions of first principles: intervention or non-intervention? Responsibility to protect or mind our own business? Iraq and Syria today present a case that makes nonsense of abstractions. Intervene? The United States and its allies should intervene when intervention will advance U.S. and allied interests, consistent with U.S. and allied values. But where do we find the U.S. and allied interest in a war between al-Qaeda’s even nastier younger brother, on one side, and the mullahs of Iran on the other? If Iran were saying, “Please help us, and we’ll reorient our policy in a friendlier direction,” that would be one thing. They are not saying that. They are not doing that. They are doing the opposite.

And then here's Frum's body slam to finish:

It’s not crass, not narrow, not unethical for the president of the United States to test any proposed foreign policy—and most especially the use of armed force—against the criterion: “How will this benefit my nation?” That test is not a narrow one. The protection of allies is an important U.S. interest. The honoring of international commitments is an important U.S. interest. And it could even be argued that humanitarian action can be justified when it will save many lives, at low cost in American blood and treasure, without creating even worse consequences inadvertently. This new campaign against ISIS does not even pretend to meet that test. It’s a reaction: an emotional reaction, without purpose, without strategy, and without any plausible—or even articulated—definition of success.

'Nuf said. But it's spoken too late.

By David Frum
September 10, 2014 | The Atlantic

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