Observing the grim spread of ISIS across the Middle East and into North Africa, I found myself musing that maybe the best way to defeat them would be for President Obama to try helping them. The only things getting “degraded and ultimately destroyed” these days seem to be regimes Obama installed or supported. That includes his Muslim Brotherhood pals in Egypt and the nominal government of post-Qaddafi Libya — a “Road Warrior” wasteland of feuding warlords which ISIS has a pretty good shot at turning into its African beachhead en route to hooking up with its admirers in Boko Haram, who have taken to describing themselves as a satellite of the Islamic State. If Obama declared his support for ISIS and sent John Kerry into Raqqa with a binder full of policy recommendations for the caliphate, they’d be gone in six months, tops.
As it turns out, the Obama State Department seems like it might be game for implementing my sinister plan. Spokes-teenager Marie Harf sat down for an interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC – a toddler in a man’s body – and the result was every bit as erudite as you could hope for. Video courtesy of NewsBusters:
After wringing his hands for a bit about how the foreign policy of his beloved Barack Obama didn’t seem to be doing much to slow the Islamic State down – “If I were ISIS, I wouldn’t be afraid right now!” – Matthews asked Harf, “Are we killing enough of them?”
Her answer will be studied by connoisseurs of blinkered stupidity for decades to come: “We cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the longer term – we need the longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups. Whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs…”
“We’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime, or fifty lifetimes,” Matthews interrupted, a note of increduclity creeping into his voice. “There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join.” Funny, Chris doesn’t talk that way when the discussion turns to our fabulously expensive, comprehensively corrupt, utterly ineffective American welfare state.
But what he says to Harf is correct, and he shouldn’t be surprised by her answer at all. This is the world Matthews helped to build by doing his bit to park Barack Obama in the White House for eight years.
To Obama’s way of thinking, the “root cause” of everything is a lack of maternal government control. The answer to every question is a top-down billion-dollar spending program. When Obama’s band of liberals talk about “poverty” as the root cause of crime – from domestic street crime to international terrorism – they’re really using the word poverty as shorthand for the absence of benevolent government power. They firmly believe government-managed income redistribution is the only solution to poverty. They think “jobs” are a bounty showered by loving super-bureaucrats upon their deserving people.
When the only weapon in your intellectual arsenal is a trillion-dollar “stimulus” bill, every problem looks like a shortage of central planning wisdom. As it happens, ISIS is very big on the idea of the welfare state – it’s a core part of their ideology, which everyone in the Obama Administration seems hell-bent on not studying, because they’re afraid knowing anything about what makes the Islamic State tick would interfere with their brilliant plan to declare it 100% non-Islamic and wish it away to the cornfield. ISIS very much agrees with the basic principles of Obamanomics: the State controls the economy and dispenses comfort to the deserving Little People, seeing to all of their basic needs. The group discusses in every video tour it releases of its conquered territory. The big difference between Obamanomics and Islamonazinomics is that the former taxes and regulates enemies of the State until they stop moving, while the latter whacks their heads off, crucifies them, buries them alive, or immolates them.
The Left’s fantasy about poverty as the root cause of radical Islamism can apparently survive being buried under a mountain of evidence to the contrary. This is a religious ideology inspiring its followers with visions of holy war and apocalyptic justice, but Team Obama can’t say that, because its ideology absolutely forbids speaking honestly about what the civilized world is up against. They still think the struggle against ISIS is a debate they can win on points, not – as Marie Harf explicitly said – a war that must be won by destroying and conquering the enemy.
If Matthews was less inclined to take Obama spokes-teenagers seriously, he’d have pointed out the sheer insanity of babbling about what the Administration plans to do in the “medium” and “long” terms to create stimulus-funded burger-flipper jobs for potential ISIS recruits when the matter at hand is what they’re doing right now. The mainstream media seems to have suddenly, and simultaneously, discovered that nothing Obama has been saying about halting the advance of ISIS is true. The headline writers all sound like less emotionally vulnerable versions of Chris Matthews. “Islamic State expands despite U.S.-led air campaign,” says USA Today. “ISIS atrocity in Libya demonstrates its growing reach in North Africa,” warns CNN.
Actually, what has everyone so freaked over ISIS’ head-chopping debut in Libya is the likelihood of using that troubled land as a staging area to expand their growing reach into Europe. Europe, as Ms. Harf may know, is a land of abundant jobs programs and lavish welfare states… and it’s still teeming with resentful, alienated Muslims ripe for recruitment by the Islamic State. Employment is crucial to the process of assimilation, yes… and Obama’s model of government is a miserable failure at providing it. Assimilation also requires cultural confidence, and Obama’s core philosophy is all about destroying that. Peaceable self-government and societal stability requires the principles every American inherits from our Founders as a birthright… and Obama is wholly devoted to smashing those principles, not spreading them around the globe.
The military defeat of ISIS, expelling it from captured territory, is essential for defeating its religious and political ideology, because that ideology derives its legitimacy from the lands ISIS has conquered. Meanwhile, the challenge the group presents to the Western world requires a far stronger answer than a canned Obama speech about “opportunity” and “jobs” – concepts he doesn’t understand well enough to champion in a debate against the Islamic State’s recruiting gurus in any case.