It’s been one day since President Obama addressed the nation the terror threat from ISIS, and the Wall Street Journal has already answered back with the op-ed The Humbling of a President. In the piece, Dan Henninger links Obama’s reported arrogance with the major foreign policy missteps of the past 5 to 6 years. Although plenty of commentators have already put in their opinions of the address, no other outlets placed as much blame on the President’s shoulders as The Humbling of a President.
The op-ed can be summed up like so; President Obama is arrogant, and feels he can do a better job at every job than the people he appoints — and this personal issue has led to a wide-variety of missteps from a man stretched too thin for his own good. As Henninger says,
“What the U.S. does not need in the Oval Office is a utility infielder playing everyone else’s position. We are competing against global terrorism’s heaviest hitters, who have established state seizure as a strategic goal.”
Henninger’s suggestion is that if Obama truly believes he is the best man in his administration for fighting terrorists, despite the humbling experience of ISIS’ rise, then he needs to hire better people.
Aside from that specific recommendation, the piece shies away from going through the president’s address, which happened to be on the anniversary of 9/11. During which, Obama laid out his plan to “degrade and destroy” ISIS through airstrikes. The speech made it clear that the president intends to do everything short of deploying American ground troops to stop ISIS, including coalition building, training Syrian militiamen, and cross-border airstrikes. Iraq may well have been a humbling experience for the President, as just a few years after successfully withdrawing troops from Iraq, a new terrorist force filled the void.
One contentious assertion in The Humbling of a President may be the implication that terrorism is now going to overshadow other issues facing the nation, like NSA surveillance. As Henninger says
“After the videotaped beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, is anyone still lying awake at night worrying that their iPhone number is among millions of others in the National Security Agency’s data mines?”
A Gallup poll of the most commonly cited top problems facing the U.S. showed that only 4 percent of Americans felt that terrorism was the top concern. Although that was a stark increase from just 1 percent two months ago, it still rates well below “the economy” at 17 percent. After the 9/11 attack, 46 percent of Americans felt terrorism was the number one problem.
Nevertheless, Henninger’s The Humbling of a President ends on a particularly apocalyptic note, saying, “ISIS is just the tip of the world’s unstable iceberg. We’re all living on the Titanic.”
[Image Credit: The Official White House Photostream/Wikimedia Commons]