Friday, September 12, 2014

Obama’s advantages as a reluctant warrior

By David Ignatius Opinion writer September 11 at 3:55 PM, WashPost

President Obama certainly didn’t go looking for another war in the Middle East. Indeed, he contorted himself almost to the breaking point to avoid one. But as he explained to the country Wednesday night, he had no choice but to respond with “strength and resolve” to the barbarous Islamic State that is ravaging Iraq and Syria.

Obama’s decision to combat the Islamic State offers him a chance to reset U.S. leadership and his own presidency after growing doubt at home and abroad about what, if anything, he was willing to fight for. His innate cautiousness is now actually a reassurance that he’ll fight this war sensibly, partnering with allies in the region, in a way that doesn’t needlessly exacerbate the United States’ problems with the Muslim world.

Stephen Hadley, who was national security adviser for President George W. Bush, is hardly a cheerleader for Obama. But he gave the president high marks for “a good speech” that explained the threat and what he was going to do about it. Hadley noted that Obama’s stance as a reluctant warrior will help him reassure foreigners and Americans alike that this isn’t a reckless, unilateral U.S. crusade.

(More here.)

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