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Obama’s vague plan may not be enough

My Opinion
Ross Schulz, Staff Writer

For most of President Barack Obama’s time in office, his speeches took on a worldly tone, placing the United States on the same level as the rest of the world, just another player on a grand map. He often talked of fundamentally changing the country, highlighting what he considered its faults. Obama frequently propped up and praised American individuals but rarely the country as a whole.
That all changed last week.
It took nearly six full years in office, but last week Obama sounded like the Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces for the first time since he’s held that title.
Obama said America will lead a broad coalition to roll back the terrorist threat before ending his speech with as much pro-America talk as we’ve seen from the 44th president. He said our technology and universities are unmatched while our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving.
‘Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world,’ he said. ‘It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America ‘ our scientists, our doctors, our know-how ‘ that helped contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people ‘ or the world ‘ again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world, not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance and a more hopeful future.’
The speech sounded strong, but is the actual plan enough to combat the ISIS threat and bring a reasonable amount calm and stability to the region?
Only time can answer that question, but, since the U.S. removed its significant military presence from the region, it has appeared to become more and more volatile by the day.
Obama campaigned on the idea of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But as we now see, removing our troops does not put an end to the war, just as bringing our troops into the region did not start the war.
Until a week ago, Obama had been criticized by those on both sides of the aisle for his lack of response so far to the ISIS threat. The recent beheading of two American journalists held captive by ISIS raised public awareness of the extremists and the threat they pose.
‘The president’s plan announced this evening is an encouraging step in the right direction,’ GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said.
For the most part, both parties were pleased with Obama’s speech, although some said the plan may not be the answer.
Other than air strikes against ISIS in Syria combined with continued strikes in Iraq, the plan calls for 475 military advisers to go to Iraq, not exactly a figure that portrays the ‘degrade and ultimately destroy’ phrase Obama used to describe the plan.
Some have called the plan, which also includes financial assistance to Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters, too vague.
Barry Pavel, a former Obama official, may have described the plan the best.
‘I’m not sure half-steps into Syria are ultimately going to achieve the president’s goals,’ he said. ‘It’s a fine strategy for contain and disrupt. It’s not a strategy for defeat by any means. If you want to defeat ISIS, you have to go all-in to Syria, which the president isn’t prepared to do.’
Obama said as much when he said his plan ‘will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.’
As much as he, or I or anyone want anything but, it may take American combat troops fighting on foreign soil to truly quell the international terrorist threat.