I have written two very direct pieces on what mistakes Democrats made that drove the disaster in the recent midterm election. It was not encouraging to see Elizabeth Warren nominated to Democratic Senate leadership, because that means the party in the Senate for the time being is going to double down on left wing ideology. I actually find Senator Warren much more reasonable in person than she is often portrayed, but she has never run any major government agency, business, or unit in the military. I think after President Obama we can conclude that is not the right type of person for the presidency.
But there is a liberal leftist policy change that President Obama can make that will arouse his base and a majority of the country. He can pull American troops out of Iraq. He can return to the winning formula for Democrats in 2006 and 2008.
The weight of evidence as I have written before is US involvement in the Sunni/Shia civil wars in Syria, Iraq, and much of the Persian Gulf is all participants learn to hate us. Instead of busily killing each other, they tend to turn to also killing Americans.
There is no public evidence that ISIS/ISIL was going to attack the US prior to the US bombing campaign. There are a variety of politicians claiming there is classified intelligence revealing that intent. It is hard to understand a decade after Colin Powell’s presentation at the UN on Iraq, the secret torture memos, the secret surveillance, and all the other baggage of the security state erected after 9/11 that politicians think these “trust me” explanations have any validity.
In 2008 a big part of the McCain loss to the President was McCain’s tendency to see every overseas crisis as an opportunity to invade everywhere. McCain’s odd obsession for absorbing into NATO every unstable undemocratic former Soviet state from Georgia to the Ukraine was genuinely frightening. President Obama was the candidate of national interest, caution, and withdrawal.
But such a policy has its consequences. It means that a lot of despots are going to kill a lot of people. It is not a pain free policy to stand apart from a spreading civil war that has no vital US national interest. And as the pain of watching beheadings was amplified in the press, he buckled and now we are busily sending US ground troops into Iraq and air power across Iraq and Syria. Last week the Administration and its proxies floated the specter of sending US troops back into combat in Iraq.
We have some basis to believe that President Kennedy was preparing to declare Vietnam a lost cause and ordering the withdrawal of US advisors prior to his assassination. President Obama should learn from that and exit Iraq and Syria. Otherwise, what difference is there between Democrats and Republicans?
It is that clear distinction that is both the right policy and an electoral advantage.