Thursday, May 3, 2012

President Obama's long game strategy with the neocons

Most of the commentary I've seen on President Obama's speech from Afghanistan focused primarily on how/when he plans to remove troops from that country. As I wrote about previously, the implications of what he said are much more profound than that.
My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda...

This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.
The one person who seems to have understood the implications of what the President said is Bill Kristol.
The most striking sentence of President Obama’s eloquent speech Tuesday night came very near the end: “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.”

Would that it were so. Would that it were so that the Sept. 11 attacks marked the beginning of a period whose end is soon approaching. The president thinks this, and the American people would like it to be so...

But what if the reality is that, from Pakistan in the east to Tunisia in the west, and most visibly now in places such as Iran and Yemen and Somalia — and not just in Afghanistan — we are at war with political Islamism, a movement whose ability to find state sponsors and enablers is not limited to just one country or two?...

There are, of course, problems with “global war on terror” as a phrase and an organizing principle. But it does capture what we might call the “big” view of 9/11 and its implications.
So yes, Kristol understood that President Obama was talking about ending what he and the neocons in the Bush administration tried to set up as an endless war against "political Islamism," otherwise known by them as the "global war on terror." And they don't like it one little bit.

These are the same folks who who saw 9/11 as the opportunity to replace Russia and the Cold War with political Islamism and an endless war against terrorism. The one line in President Obama's speech that they most likely reacted to the worst was this one:
As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America -- an America where our children live free from fear and have the skills to claim their dreams.
Fear is all they've got...fear of the "other" here at home as well as abroad.

If President Obama can take that from them by eliminating any threat posed by al Qaeda and finally end this endless war, they'll having nothing to stand on.

That's the long game the President is playing. Mr. Kristol knows it. Over time, I suspect others will wake up to that fact.


  1. pieces like this are why I come here. you always try and see the forest for the trees, smartypants. thank you

  2. They don't understand the concept of not living in fear. To them, fear is an essential component of life. If you aren't afraid, then the tiger will eat you. Only the fearful survive to another day.

    So, if you are an advocate for living in a state of no fear, then you are an advocate for giving your throat to the tiger to rip out. In other words, you *want* the terrorists to win.