US indifference when it comes to foreign affairs and problems related to President Obama unwillingness to have more “hands-on” approach when it comes to problems of Syria and Iraq are visible today when ISIS is taking over portions of Iraq and advances in Syria. As it was before, happens again, Barack Obama is either too late or just late to react in right moment to take a leadership in action. His failure to figure out what he wants to do and how to deal with problems in Iraq and Syria so far convinced people all over the world, especially inside US, that his foreign policy is a complete failure.
While members of Congress are calling him to react even more and to support Kurds in Iraq and Syrian rebels Obama is on his annual vacation on Martha’s Vineyards, limited airstrikes against ISIS are underway and humanitarian aid to Yazidis is coming from US, UK and France via air drops as it was done in Bosnia and many other countries over the last two decades. His opponents from the first presidential race, Sen. John McCain (GOP) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D), had some very interesting thoughts in interviews to CNN and The Atlantic regarding Obama’s current policies.
Sen. McCain, who appeared on CNN’s State of The Union show from Jakarta, said that President Obama over the time when it comes to foreign policy did many things which he approved and could support adding that current policy is also creating vacuum.
“If I look at the world in January of 2009, and I look at the world today, I can tell you this, Candy. It’s very, very different. And I believe that’s because, when the United States of America withdraws from leadership from the world, it creates a vacuum, and bad things happen”, McCain said.
Speaking of ISIS Sen. McCain said that they’re getting stronger. In his view, which is supported by many including Rep. King (GOP) and Sen. Durbin (D), Obama should start arming Kurds as strongest allies in the region and only force ready and able to fight with ISIS. Preventing humanitarian crisis in Iraq is not strategy nor policy thinks Sen. McCain who also thinks that airstrikes should be extended to Syria in combination with assistance to Syrian rebels with whom he met several times during his visit to the region.
Obama’s former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who spoke with The Atlantic echoes what Sen. McCain said regarding vacuum which was left by American foreign policy (in)action.
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.
Clinton is presumed candidate on next presidential election, and ferocious critic of Obama’s foreign policy in Syria, and current disagreement is seen as her distancing from highly unpopular President who’s stands are often seen as American withdrawal from international scene.
Interesting view on the current situation in Iraq also comes from former US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, who warned US public during his interview on CNN that there are very slim chances that Iraq would get “unifier PM” who will able to bring all sides to the table. Khalilzad, who was Ambassador at the time when Maliki was elected to become Iraqi PM, said that there is significant chance that Maliki’s successor could be much worse than him and whoever succeeds him will not be able to act as soon as it is expected because it will need months to learn about his position, prepare program and to form his Cabinet. Addressing of potential dissolution of Iraq into separate states Khalilzad pointed out that the best option for Iraq would be confederation which would create significant stability and satisfaction to Kurds and Baghdad.