Opinion: President’s foreign policy game under par

Jennifer Hutchinson is a sophomore political science major and columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact her at jhutch2872@gmail.com.

Jennifer Hutchinson is a sophomore political science major and columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Jennifer Hutchinson

“We will be vigilant and we will be relentless…to see that justice is done.” This is what President Barack Obama said one day after the beheading of James Foley by the terrorist group, ISIS. What he meant to say was, “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless…to see that justice is done…right after this round of golf.” Perhaps Obama would not have even had to make this statement had we taken a better course of action sooner. 

Earlier this summer, American Special Forces attempted to rescue freelance photographer, James Foley, and other hostages, at an undisclosed location in Syria. One small problem: the hostages weren’t even there. It’s clear evidence that our ability to gather intelligence, or at least gather correct intelligence, has deteriorated considerably. It seems that when we pulled our troops out of the Middle East we took our intelligence with us. 

It only gets worse from there. Not only did the rescue mission fail, but the White House released the details of the mission to the public. Releasing this information is an admission of failure, which makes us look weak, and frankly stupid, to the rest of the world. In addition, it puts our informant in grave danger. 

Our other failure comes in when an email from ISIS terrorists, threatening Foley’s eminent death, was sent to James Foley’s former employer, the Boston news outlet GlobalPost just one week ago. The email was quickly sent to White House officials where, by no one’s surprise, Obama sat back and did nothing. Unfortunately, while we did not keep our promise to protect the American people, ISIS made sure to keep theirs. 

On Aug. 19, ISIS posted the horrific video of James Foley’s beheading on YouTube. While the American people were shocked and sickened by the murder, President Obama’s response seemed alarmingly naïve. His “let them fail on their own” approach displays a weak leader with no plan in place, and the world is aware. 

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal slammed the President for not taking a more aggressive approach, saying, “In World War II we did not win the future by building, we won it by destroying, uncomfortable or not, that is the truth. The murderous fools who cut the heads off of Americans must be destroyed, and sent to their reward, such as it is, in the next life.” Even if there is no plan in place for responding to ISIS yet, Obama still needs to give the appearance that there is. He needs to show the American people, and the world, that he stands strong in trying to take down ISIS and defend the United States. 

Call me crazy, but I don’t think playing seven rounds of golf while an international crisis is occurring does that. Governor Jindal also stated that ISIS will only fail if the United States causes it. I agree with Jindal. If we want to see a real course of action against ISIS, it’s going to have to start here, at home. I believe we are the only ones who can be the driving force behind it. However, I don’t think we can do it alone. If we want to really take down ISIS, we’re going to have to have a unified, international stance against the group. Hopefully Obama can focus more on his foreign policy game, rather than his golf game.