President Obama defends middle east strategy, helps Hillary Clinton plot her own course

Obama Syrian chemical weapons

In an interview with the New York Times, President Obama rebukes the “fantasy” that arming Syrian rebels would have prevented ISIS from moving into Iraq. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had proposed the idea, which the administration did not adopt.

Now that it seems apparent Clinton is running and the President’s approval ratings are not in positive territory, one of the things Clinton must do is find areas in which she can be seen to be distancing herself from Obama, and this is one of them. This is basic political strategy, and I have no doubt that Obama is aware of it and is more than willing to help Clinton with it.

About Syria, the President said, “This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”

The President also made note of how dysfunctional US politics has become.

At the end of the day, the president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us. We have so many things going for us right now as a country — from new energy resources to innovation to a growing economy — but, he said, we will never realize our full potential unless our two parties adopt the same outlook that we’re asking of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds or Israelis and Palestinians: No victor, no vanquished and work together.

“Our politics are dysfunctional,” said the president, and we should heed the terrible divisions in the Middle East as a “warning to us: societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions. And the more diverse the country is, the less it can afford to take maximalist positions.”

President Obama’s interview addressed many other issues and the chaos that seems to be happening in the world. You can read it here.