July 8, 2014
By James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
Secretary of State John Kerry recently floated a mind-boggling idea: To help turn back ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group that has seized control of more than a third of Iraq, the U.S. could enter a cooperative arrangement with the mullahs of Iran.
Yes, the administration still clings to the notion that it can advance American interests by cutting a deal with Tehran. No wonder we are losing everywhere on the foreign policy front.
True, America and Iran have a mutual interest in Iraq, much in the way a robber and a customer have a common interest in a bank. Missing the difference in desired outcomes explains the core problem of the president’s foreign policy.
The Obama Doctrine places a premium on negotiating with competitors to ameliorate conflict. President Obama’s negotiating efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq are aimed at finding a way out of foreign entanglements; a lot of bad guys are happy to see him succeed.
For Obama, the deal — rather than quality of the deal — seems to matter most. The deals he has delivered in both Iraq and Afghanistan leave a security vacuum or the potential for future instability that can be readily exploited. When it comes to exit strategy, he has placed a premium on the “exit” rather than the “strategy.”
Of course, in addition to enlisting the aid of Iran, Secretary Kerry also wants to bomb the insurgents in Iraq.
Despite his Nobel Peace Prize, our president is not reluctant to use force. But he takes a minimalist approach — ordering up the least amount of military power he felt he could get away with.
There are times for restraint in the use of armed force. There are times when it makes sense to go to the table and negotiate — even with your enemies.
The problem with the Obama administration is that it lacks the strategic judgment for knowing when these are the best options.
The military and political strategies that comprise the Obama Doctrine have created space and opportunity for others to exploit the instability in Iraq and Afghanistan. The administration’s insistence on pursuing those same, failed strategies yet again makes it difficult to be optimistic about the future of either country.
- James Jay Carafano is vice president of defense and foreign policy studies for the Heritage Foundation.
Originally distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow
Read More >>
Request an interview >>
Please complete the following form to request an interview with a Heritage expert.
Please note that all fields must be completed.
Heritage's daily Morning Bell e-mail keeps you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.
The subscription is free and delivers you the latest conservative policy perspectives on the news each weekday--straight from Heritage experts.
The Morning Bell is your daily wake-up call offering a fresh, conservative analysis of the news.
More than 450,000 Americans rely on Heritage's Morning Bell to stay up to date on the policy battles that affect them.
Rush Limbaugh says "The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell is just terrific!"
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says it's "a great way to start the day for any conservative who wants to get America back on track."
Sign up to start your free subscription today!
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute,
with hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate donors. Heritage, founded in
February 1973, has a staff of 275 and an annual expense budget of $82.4 million.
Our mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free
enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national
defense. Read More
© 2014, The Heritage Foundation Conservative policy research since 1973