Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow Robert Manning writes for the National Interest on Obama’s Middle East policy:
Just a few days after Obama, who assured us there would be no U.S. boots on the ground, announced a doubling of U.S. troops—excuse me, “advisors”—in Iraq and barely two months after the Obama administration first unveiled its strategy to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, we are told the administration is rethinking its strategy. What’s going on?
I will resist the temptation to cite Casey Stengel’s question about the 1962 NY Mets: “Can’t anybody here play this game?” But regardless, the administration and its sixty-nation coalition does not, to put it mildly, inspire confidence. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Obama’s Middle East policy increasingly resembles a Marx Brothers movie.
The strategy, as announced, had a coherent logic to it. But it required some large leaps of faith. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee last week, “One of our assumptions is that the government of Iraq will be inclusive. One of the assumptions is that the Iraqi security forces will be will to take back al-Anbar province…If those assumptions are rendered invalid, I will have to adjust my recommendations.”