The terrorist attacks in Paris this past week illustrate how tragically reality can challenge assumptions upon which governmental policy is based. Perhaps in no other realm of governance can reality be so at odds with an administration’s biases than in foreign affairs. And tragically, yet empirically, such events prove which political ideology is least capable and competent in handling global realities.
In an interview with New Yorker magazine in January 2014, President Obama applied a metaphor, saying of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” That “JV” group of militants had just taken over Fallujah, and by August of that year, had taken over Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, and the president started bombing the “JV” jihadists.
Two weeks ago, a Russian airliner was blown up over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula with 224 people on board. Forensics have proven the plane was brought down by a bomb, and ISIS claims it was done with a “Schweppes” IED (improvised explosive device) no larger than a soda can.
Last week on Friday the 13th, ISIS affiliated Islamic terrorists coordinated a series of attacks in Paris, France. Three suicide bombers wreaked havoc outside the Stade de France, the national soccer stadium, and mass shootings along with another suicide bombing at four additional locations around the city.
The most devastating and deadly attack was at the Bataclan Theatre, a popular concert hall, where an American rock group was performing. Nearly 90 people were killed at the concert hall, and another 200 injured. In all, 129 people were killed by the terrorists, and over 350 were injured. Numerically, the attacks in Paris were the deadliest for the country since World War II, and the worst in Europe since the Islamic extremist Madrid train bombing of 2004 which killed 191 people.
Yet in spite of the attack, in a prerecorded ABC News interview with President Obama that aired two days after the horrendous terrorist assault in Paris, the president claimed that ISIS was “contained.” The interview was taped earlier on the same day as the attacks occurred.
The mayhem in the Middle East by Islamic extremists has created a refugee crisis. People are fleeing their native countries seeking stability and a better life for their families. It’s arguably the largest humanitarian crisis since the displacements of WWII. But the concern is not only with the migration and the relocation of millions of displaced Middle Eastern citizens. With the majority coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Ivory Coast, and Albania, there’s ample evidence that ISIS is capitalizing on the crisis by using it as a hijrah, which is the Islamic doctrine of migration to form a stealth jihad, as stated in Quran 4.
Not only is there evidence that ISIS is using the refugee crisis as a hijrah, but it’s been occurring in Europe for decades. In the 1960s, France was encouraging and supporting immigration from colonial Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. And today, the children of those immigrants are prime candidates for recruitment by ISIS. According to INSEE, France’s national statistical agency, unemployment rate for all immigrants was approximately 17.3%, nearly 80% higher than the non-immigrant rate of 9.7%, and even higher for Muslim youth. They are ripe for radicalization.
With fears of hijrah being facilitated by refugee relocation around the world, 31 governors this week refused to allow refugees into their states until more thorough vetting was in place to mitigate the risks. The president mocked those wary governors, “Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America. At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three year old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”
Several of those arrested, killed, and wearing suicide vests from the Parisian attacks were women. And the mastermind of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abbaaoud, a Belgian national, was the son of Moroccan immigrants invited to France. Women and children are used efficaciously by the jihadists, which makes the president’s use of “widows and orphans” a straw man argument.
Some of those “widows and orphans” hold shocking attitudes regarding Islamic extremism. The Arab Center for Policy and Research claims that over a third of Syrian refugees do not want ISIS defeated, and a majority of them want Shariah Law imposed, wherever they ultimately end up.
Sunday, Obama claimed no specific American intelligence could have warned the French of the attacks. Yet this week we learned that the FBI, Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center had information in May that ISIS had developed a more sophisticated system to carry out attacks against western targets. The targets were not known, but the mastermind, Abdelhamid Abbaaoud, was identified. He lived just a couple of kilometers from the Bataclan Theatre.
This week eight men were detained at Ataturk Airport in Turkey who are believed to be members of ISIS. They are suspected of having been involved in the Parisian attacks on the 13th. The eight were posing as Syrian refugees.
Also this week six Syrian nationals were captured in Honduras with stolen Greek passports heading to the U.S. Were it not for Honduran law enforcement, those ISIS sympathizers could have been in the U.S. by Christmas, since our porous southern border essentially serves as a welcome mat to potential jihadists. And eight Syrian nationals were apprehended this week at the Juarez Lincoln Bridge in Laredo, TX. This is even more disturbing in light of a new propaganda video released by ISIS this week promising a future attack in New York City.
In the Democrat Presidential debate Saturday the 14th, just the day after the horrendous, deadly attacks in Paris, candidate Bernie Sanders doubled down on a previous statement that the greatest threat to national security was not ISIS, or Islamic extremism, but global warming. He did concede that terrorism is a “major issue.”
The frontrunner for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton, in answering what the greatest threat is, “It has to be continued threat from the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands. I know the terrorists are constantly seeking it. That’s why we have to stay vigilant.” A surprising answer since the nuclear agreement she and the president had spearheaded with Iran is not only with the largest state-sponsor of terrorism, but assures that by year ten of the agreement, they will have nuclear weapons.
Our foreign policy is a disaster, and the ramifications and unintended consequences will be felt for years after the current administration is ended. Although we are losing the battle with Islamic extremism now, the president continually assures us that “progress is being made,” or that it’s “contained.” Failures are referred to merely as “setbacks.” “He seems disconnected from reality,” says an MSNBC host. “The only strategy that’s working is the strategy that he tends to dismiss,” says CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
I’m not sure that we could expect anything different from the cadre of ideological academics who had no real-world experience prior to running the sole remaining world super power. For as Dr. Lyle Rossiter explained in his book “The Liberal Mind,” the single greatest symptom of the liberal mindset is detachment from reality. That verity has been clearly evident over the past seven years.
President Obama has an especially difficult time dealing with such issues. He’s claimed that mass shootings don’t occur in other countries, as he did in July after the South Carolina tragedy, “This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” It’s especially difficult for him to acknowledge that radical Islam is the most pervasive source of heinous global violence and senseless deaths. And as revealed by investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, the president doesn’t even want to listen to, or read about, radical Islamic groups from intelligence briefings.
Clearly those most incompetent in foreign affairs and national security are those of the liberal ideological persuasion. They characterize problems and challenges based on how they think they are or should be, or want them to be, rather than how they really are. They refuse to recognize or acknowledge exogenous threats, and consistently underestimate them. If ever there was a time when the rose-colored glasses should be discarded, and for our leaders to be steeped in reality, it is now.
Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].