WaPo: President's incompetence 'alarming' and 'dismaying'

Say what you want about the liberal slant of the Washington Post - and there's a lot to say - but in recent months, the Post has been edging toward an out and out break with the Obama administration.

This editorial may be it.

What set them off was the president's acknowledgement that he doesn't have a plan to deal with ISIS in Syria.

This argument with his own administration is alarming on three levels.

The first has to do with simple competence. One can only imagine the whiplash that foreign leaders must be suffering. They heard U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power denounce Russia as “today . . . they open a new front . . . Russia’s force along the border is the largest it has been . . . the mask is coming off.” An hour later, Mr. Obama implicitly contradicted her: “I consider the actions that we’ve seen in the last week a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now . . . it’s not really a shift.”

Similarly, his senior advisers uniformly have warned of the unprecedented threat to America and Americans represented by Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq. But Mr. Obama didn’t seem to agree. “Now, ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region,” he said. “My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back.” Contrast that ambition with this vow from Secretary of State John F. Kerry: “And make no mistake: We will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil.”

There is an obvious disconnect between the president and his foreign policy people. That's because Obama's approach to everything is ad hoc. There is no overall, overarching strategy - no vision, if you will.

This is why the president is constantly telling us what the US government cannot do, rather than what it can do:

The discrepancies raise the question of whether Mr. Obama controls his own administration, but that’s not the most disturbing element. His advisers are only stating the obvious: Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Islamic State and the Americans it is training are a danger to the United States. When Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. says the threat they pose is “in some ways . . . more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” it’s not because he is a warmonger or an alarmist. He’s describing the world as he sees it. When Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge the reality, allies naturally wonder whether he will also refuse to respond to it.

Which is, in the end, the most disturbing aspect of Mr. Obama’s performance. Throughout his presidency, he has excelled at explaining what the United States cannot do and cannot afford, and his remarks Thursday were no exception. “Ukraine is not a member of NATO,” he said. “We don’t have those treaty obligations with Ukraine.” If Iraq doesn’t form an acceptable government, it’s “unrealistic” to think the United States can defeat the Islamic State.

Meanwhile, as the president informs us what he can't do, Putin and ISIS are simply "doing."

Unlike the New York Times which marches to its own far-left drummer, the Washington Post reflects the thinking of official Washington more than any other media outlet. And it's pretty obvious that official Washington is becoming frightened as the realization finally dawns on them that the disengaged incompetent man sitting in the Oval Office may be leading us to disaster.

 

Say what you want about the liberal slant of the Washington Post - and there's a lot to say - but in recent months, the Post has been edging toward an out and out break with the Obama administration.

This editorial may be it.

What set them off was the president's acknowledgement that he doesn't have a plan to deal with ISIS in Syria.

This argument with his own administration is alarming on three levels.

The first has to do with simple competence. One can only imagine the whiplash that foreign leaders must be suffering. They heard U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power denounce Russia as “today . . . they open a new front . . . Russia’s force along the border is the largest it has been . . . the mask is coming off.” An hour later, Mr. Obama implicitly contradicted her: “I consider the actions that we’ve seen in the last week a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now . . . it’s not really a shift.”

Similarly, his senior advisers uniformly have warned of the unprecedented threat to America and Americans represented by Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq. But Mr. Obama didn’t seem to agree. “Now, ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region,” he said. “My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back.” Contrast that ambition with this vow from Secretary of State John F. Kerry: “And make no mistake: We will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil.”

There is an obvious disconnect between the president and his foreign policy people. That's because Obama's approach to everything is ad hoc. There is no overall, overarching strategy - no vision, if you will.

This is why the president is constantly telling us what the US government cannot do, rather than what it can do:

The discrepancies raise the question of whether Mr. Obama controls his own administration, but that’s not the most disturbing element. His advisers are only stating the obvious: Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Islamic State and the Americans it is training are a danger to the United States. When Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. says the threat they pose is “in some ways . . . more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” it’s not because he is a warmonger or an alarmist. He’s describing the world as he sees it. When Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge the reality, allies naturally wonder whether he will also refuse to respond to it.

Which is, in the end, the most disturbing aspect of Mr. Obama’s performance. Throughout his presidency, he has excelled at explaining what the United States cannot do and cannot afford, and his remarks Thursday were no exception. “Ukraine is not a member of NATO,” he said. “We don’t have those treaty obligations with Ukraine.” If Iraq doesn’t form an acceptable government, it’s “unrealistic” to think the United States can defeat the Islamic State.

Meanwhile, as the president informs us what he can't do, Putin and ISIS are simply "doing."

Unlike the New York Times which marches to its own far-left drummer, the Washington Post reflects the thinking of official Washington more than any other media outlet. And it's pretty obvious that official Washington is becoming frightened as the realization finally dawns on them that the disengaged incompetent man sitting in the Oval Office may be leading us to disaster.

 

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