Last month in Juba, the capital of the relatively new nation of South Sudan, a small motorcade carrying the U.S. ambassador got entangled with a larger convoy ferrying a senior government official. Frustrated with the delay, a soldier in the South Sudanese convoy got out of his truck, fired two shots into the bulletproof glass of one of the embassy vehicles, and rejoined his own motorcade, which drove away.
So it goes in Juba. Since last December, when an coup allegedly perpetrated against the country’s Dinka president by his Nuer vice president led to Dinka troops going house-to-house in Juba, murdering men, women and children and trucking their bodies out to the bush, a civil war has been underway. The fighting calmed through much of the middle of 2014, but the dry season has arrived. Traditionally in South Sudan, negotiating is for the wet season, and the fighting renews at its conclusion.
Even war dove Rand Paul, who was recently attacked by the Democratic National Committee (yes you read that right) for being insufficiently hawkish, has a strategy for defeating ISIS. President Obama, on the other hand, does not.
According to an Associated Press report on Paul’s speech at an Americans For Prosperity gathering in Dallas last week:
[S]ome of the loudest applause for Paul came when he quipped: “If the president has no strategy, maybe it’s time for a new president.”
In an emailed comment, however, Paul elaborated by saying: “If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”
The Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine is proceeding apace. The Obama administration acknowledged Thursday that up to 1,000 Russian troops have crossed the border in recent days, along with assorted military hardware. NATO concurs.
Lithuanian ambassador to the United Nations Raimonda Murmokaite put it rather succinctly:
An invasion is an invasion is an invasion #UkraineUnderAttack
— Raimonda Murmokaite (@PRLTUN) August 28, 2014
So why is the Obama administration refusing to call it an invasion?
On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal blaming the United States for the rise of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, while taking shots at “interventionists” like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well “hawkish members” of the Republican Party.
Beyond that, it is unclear what Paul is trying to argue, as the op-ed is only semi-coherent. As best I can tell, he is suggesting that U.S. policymakers talking about military intervention in Syria, and then ultimately deciding against it, is a major reason why ISIS came to power. Or something. He also comes out in favor of having both foresight and hindsight.
Paul’s column invited a lot of predictable criticism, but it was also trashed by an unlikely source:
If Hillary Clinton wants the Democratic nomination in 2016 (and why wouldn’t she, given that basically everything she’s ever done since roughly 1975, when she agreed to defend a child rapist as a “favor” for an Arkansas prosecutor, has been calculated to maximize her political power and/or personal fortune?) it would seem to be hers for the taking.
No matter what. There is not a damn thing committed liberals—the ones whose primary consideration for choosing a president is something other than “That would be really cool because she’s a woman”—can do about it. Is there?