Brent Scowcroft Center Assistant Director Alex Ward writes for The National Interest on why contrary to Obama’s opponents’ claims, the administration does have an anti-ISIS strategy, it’s just not a good one:
The knock du jour on the Obama administration is that it has no strategy against ISIS. In an inelegant turn of phrase, President Barack Obama said, “we don’t yet have a complete strategy” to combat the terrorist group occupying large swaths of Iraq and Syria. His opponents, from John McCain to a number of Republican presidential hopefuls, unsurprisingly came after him for this. What most missed is that Obama does have a strategy; he laid it out on September 10, 2014 for all to hear (making the criticisms and even the president’s own comments misplaced). The real debate should center on whether the president’s plan is the right strategy and whether the administration’s approach to achieve the strategic objectives is correct.
The first question has been discussed ad nauseum, from the offshore balancers to the most ardent hawks. It’s the second question that is more interesting, and less discussed. Since we know what the administration wants—to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” ISIS—how is the administration doing by this metric? As even the most casual observer knows, it is not going well.