Alan Keyes
Obama has a 'strategy' -- but what's the real objective?
By Alan Keyes
September 16, 2014

There is something almost comically ironic about Barack Obama's new pose as strategist-in-chief, due to preside over deliberations aimed at producing a coordinated response to the threat of an organization he now insists on defining strictly in terms of its terrorist atrocities. Obama claims that the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state but, strictly speaking, a terrorist entity devoid of any other substantive purpose, meaning, or identity. This from the man who hurried to banish all references to war against terrorism from the U.S. government's handbook of acceptable phrases.

Or is it singularly appropriate that the man who hurried to deny that the war against terrorist entities like ISIS is in fact a war should now be put forward as the global presiding strategist in that war? Of course, the fact that he denied the ongoing reality of the war rather degrades the meaning of the word "strategist," which refers to the comprehensive thinking characteristic of a general or war leader. In the conceptual absence of war, then, is it accurate to call Obama a strategist? Or does use of the term in this respect encounter the same objection Obama raises against calling ISIS an Islamic state?

Unlike ISIS, however, up to now Obama's activities as a strategist do not appear to have created any "facts on the ground" that give rise to the temptation to call him by that name. ISIS is in de facto control of certain areas in Syria and Iraq, the sort of control we associate these days with active state power. By contrast, Obama has failed to show or even claim the existence of any strategy for war against ISIS or any other terrorist entity since, officially speaking, no war against terrorism any longer exists.

Indeed, the circumstances of his speech on Wednesday made this embarrassingly clear. People like myself and others have, for instance, called attention to the fact that the failure to secure America's borders, particularly our southern border, lays us open to infiltration by terrorist entities, acting in cooperation with the cartels that bring illegal drugs into the U.S. On Wednesday, Obama's DHS chose to highlight this possibility, by confirming that the Islamic State "may be thinking about such a move."

A strategist is someone who thinks through his opponent's moves well in advance and makes moves that will leave him in a position to counter or nullify probable threats. Do Obama's moves over the last several years reflect such strategic thinking?

Obama has promoted the view that illegal entrants into the U.S. are only looking for jobs and economic opportunity, not the chance to kill us in our schoolyards and malls.

He has allowed a large influx of illegal entrants, supposedly children but including members of criminal gangs, into the U.S. without careful scrutiny of their health backgrounds, criminal records, or possible ties to groups hostile to the United States.

He has, with an unwarranted lack of openness and disclosure, transported such entrants to locations throughout the U.S., including but not limited to U.S. military bases and civilian organizations dependent on U.S. government largesse.

If this be strategy, DHS' latest public admissions suggest that America's enemies, including ISIS, have probably been making the most of it. Moreover, even in his Wednesday speech, Obama declared strategic limits on America's actions in a way that hardly seems characteristic of a master strategist. "We will not be dragged into another ground war in Iraq" he obligingly informed the world (including the strategists on the other side). Yet we will send U.S. service members into the region to work with Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

Once upon a time, that contradiction between word and deed could sensibly be construed as a cleverly conveyed signal. After all, if we send in personnel, doesn't the possibility of a serious threat to them make them into a de facto tripwire for further U.S. involvement? However, since the Benghazi debacle (about which ISIS strategists may know more than most Americans), does the Obama administration's action credibly sustain this implication? Or will U.S. personnel be left to the mercy of our enemies, as they were in Benghazi?

At a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 3, Obama said that the goal was to "degrade and destroy" ISIS. But he also said that "if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL's sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem." [Italics mine]

Here again, semantics rears its inscrutable head. What does Obama mean by "a manageable problem"? That's a question that can't be answered without asking who is managing what, and to what end. Also, when the word "strategy" is used in the context of war, it has definite parameters that don't necessarily apply to strategy when the term is used in the managerial sense. In war, problems usually refer to obstacles. In the management context, they can often refer to opportunities.

In this respect, management strategy has something in common with the politics of creative destruction. The latter often involves starting a fire in the basement so you can show up at the front door offering "just the thing" to put it out. It's a concept that helps to make sense of a situation in which someone cast in the role of president of the United States covertly implements a policy that cooperates in arming fanatical forces, which later stir a firestorm of angry reaction with their brutal and well publicized atrocities. Then, playing the role of presiding global strategist in the very war he purposefully neglected, he embarks on a strategy that is not a strategy, in a war that is not a war, against an enemy that...well, may not simply be among his enemies.

"What opportunities would that give rise to?" you wonder. As you ponder that question, I invite you to consider what I said about Obama's real enemy in my column last week, and what I say about his semantic quibbling in my most recent blog post. I also can't help but refer you to George Orwell's "1984," a novel alluded to with great frequency in the era when America's leadership was still largely committed to the defense of liberty.

Under the oppressive regime therein depicted, perpetual war was the pretext for perpetual tyranny. Enemies were simply the renewable pretext for endless war and for maintaining a regime of domestic terrorism by which "Big Brother" maintained domestic control. They were management tools in the administration of fear, which is the heart of despotism.

With this in mind, perhaps the reason so many people think Obama has no strategy is that they're not yet willing to enlarge their thinking enough to conceive of his real objective. I pray that those who do will be brought to realize that America can't afford to let him proceed unchallenged toward his goal. If you're among them, consider joining the Pledge To Impeach mobilization. And then urge everyone one you know to do likewise, before America passes beyond the point when an electoral strategy still offers any chance of stopping the tyranny Obama surely represents.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


Receive future articles by Alan Keyes: Click here

More by this author


Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
FLASHBACK to 2020: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 28: Pantheism, Gnosticism, and Marxism

Victor Sharpe
A two-state solution – but on both sides of the River Jordan

Jerry Newcombe
Providence and America

Cherie Zaslawsky
The shot heard 'round the world': Once & future President Donald J. Trump miraculously survives assassination attempt!

Tom DeWeese
The dangerous delusion of Biden and world leaders of transition to ‘just electricity’

Frank Louis
A thought (or two) on the Republican Platform 2024

Robert Meyer
Competing religious claims

Cliff Kincaid
The next assassination attempt

Pete Riehm
America needs unity, but also accountability

Ronald R. Cherry
The Secret Service

Armand C. Hale
Where are my shoes?

Frank Louis
So now what?
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites