ON-Lion Letter

In February, President Barack Obama, "relaxed in an easy chair, laid out his true strategy to defeat terrorists and the Islamic State," begins a February American Interest article by Hillel Fradkin and Lewis Libby.  "It runs counter to his prior stance.  It rejects most national security experts’ advice.  Even most Democrats'.  But it is clear.  Let the debates begin.

"How does President Obama propose the Islamic State will be defeated?  By letting it rule and fail," Fradkin and Libby continue.  "'Ultimately,' the President assures Americans, ISIL can’t satisfy people in a 'sustained' way."

Fradkin is a senior fellow and directs the Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.  Libby is Hudson's senior vice president.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports both of their work.

In "Obama's Real Strategy for the Islamic State," Fradkin and Libby then quote Obama, who said, "[U]ltimately these terrorist organizations will be defeated because they don't have a vision that appeals to people ....  ISIL can talk about setting up the new caliphate, but nobody is under any illusions that they can actually in a sustained way feed people or educate people or organize a society that would work."

"In short," according to Fradkin and Libby, "President Obama envisions dissatisfied citizens eventually defeating ISIL."

Fradkin and Libby ask several questions.  Among them:  "How long does President Obama envision Islamic State rule?  How long is 'ultimately?'  How long can states govern in an 'unsustainable' way? ... 

"Back in 1958," they conclude, "then-Professor Henry Kissinger warned Americans that, in the modern era, oceans will not insulate us from hostile aggression in critical regions.  'American strategy has to face the fact that it may be confronted with war, and that if…we are unwilling to resist, it will mean the end of our freedom.'

"Americans' willingness to take up this fight, Kissinger added, 'will depend to some extent on their leadership.'

"We need the debate now," Fradkin and Libby write.

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