Atlantic Council Senior Adviser Harlan Ullman writes for United Press International on the need for the Obama administration to follow through with strategies that will defeat ISIS:
Today marks the 74th anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. That attack was designed to “shock and awe” an isolationist America into an early negotiated surrender after its Pacific Fleet battleships were sunk or put out of action by the Imperial Japanese Navy, giving Japan free license to expand its East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere as far as it liked. But the outcome was not the one expected by the military dictatorship in Tokyo.
In fighting the Islamic State, President Barack Obama’s strategy has been roundly criticized from many directions. In reality, Mr. Obama is confusing the slogan “to disrupt and destroy” with a real strategy in which aims and means are closely aligned, coordinated and reinforce each other. In that regard, as the attack on Pearl Harbor failed to make the Pacific war very brief, so too will the Obama strategy fail to defeat IS on the current trajectory.
Instead of a viable strategy, the Obama plan is a series of tactical actions that, while seemingly sensible individually and in theory, are not coordinated with an overarching framework to ensure success. In World War II, that framework was to win in the Atlantic first; hold in the Pacific until more resources became available; and mobilize America’s “arsenal of democracy” to out produce and overwhelm the enemy with tanks, ships, planes, artillery and all the sinews of war in concert with dedicated allies including the Soviet Union.