Hillary Clinton’s speech last week on the Islamic State at the Council on Foreign Relations has received more praise than parsing, benefiting from the contrast to the shameless fear-mongering of Republican presidential candidates. But sounding better than the cacophony coming out of the GOP ship of fools is a low bar. On the question of whether her strategy makes sense, the speech falls dramatically short.
Clinton pitched the speech as a more hawkish strategy than President Obama’s, calling for a “new phase” that would “intensify and broaden our efforts to smash the would-be caliphate.” More planes, more strikes, more targets, more support for the Kurds. More exhortation to our allies to join the cause. Praying for a new Sunni awakening.
In reality, much of her strategy continues the president’s. Like the Obama policy, it will fail because it ignores the limitations of the narrow American-led coalition Washington has assembled. As it fails, the pressures to add more US troops will grow. Clinton announced her opposition to returning “100,000 American troops in combat in the Middle East,” but suggested she is open to adding to current forces if needed.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.