The Democratic Party suffered a crushing defeat at the polls during last year’s midterms; both chambers fell back into the hands of the Republicans. Though he’s been somewhat reduced to the status of a lame duck president, Obama’s will has not been sapped. Through executive orders and presidential privilege, he has pushed for immigration reform on the domestic front and repairing relations with Iran on the foreign one. The White House expressed time and time again that there was no clear relationship between the development of Iran’s nuclear negotiations and the bilateral relations between the two nations; which is to say, even though a framework has been reached for a final reconciliation of the Iran nuclear issue, America will still stand with Saudi Arabia and Israel against Iranian hegemony. However, that is all easier said than done.
The Islamic State is heavily entrenched in Iraq and Syria. We have not seen major casualties inflicted by Washington-led large-scale airstrikes; quite the opposite, the Islamic State group’s power has continued to expand as forces have infiltrated Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Major victories have been won in Iraq and Syria, as Ramadi, a major city in western Iraq, and Palmyra, an ancient city in Syria, have both fallen.
Just as in last year’s battle in Mosul, an Iraqi army that was dispatched to hold down the fort at Ramadi ended up retreating with its tail between its legs. American Gen. Carter Ham angrily rebuked the entire group for its lack of fighting spirit, implicating the Iraqi government itself in the process. Iran has been backing the Iraqi Shiite Muslim faction’s military organizations, the main force of which is focused on Iraq’s recovery of Tikrit. Qasem Soleimani, major general in the Iranian Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, personally returned to lead on the front lines. Subsequently, the Soleimani name appeared in Ham’s published statement, “No Fighting Spirit,”* which praised his actions, but sharply criticized Washington as “gutless.” In the report, Ham asserted to all sides that Obama had waved the white flag, and that unless Iran lent a hand in the fight against the Islamic State group, the situation was going to get progressively worse.
In actuality, what America is lacking is not guts, it is the people’s confidence and tax dollars. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars put a terrible drain on the vitality of the nation and greatly sapped its financial and military strength, which has accelerated the rise of anti-war sentiment among the populace. Obama is deeply wary of Israel and Saudi Arabia, so responsibility has been passed to Iran and the Syrian Bashar al-Assad regime to counter Islamic State group ground forces. However, there is no plan in the works to go to battle to subdue Islamic State group soldiers.
Before Leaving Office, Obama Hopes for Major Achievements
Although Obama’s second term is already halfway over, his desire to achieve is still as fiery as ever. The Islamic State group threat stretches all across the globe. Washington is actively creating an “Iran counterstrike of Islamic State group that benefits all involved” scenario, and all sides are pushing for a resolution to the Iran nuclear issue. This resolution and reconciliation that American is working to facilitate will likely come about when conditions are ripe.
After the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, Iran’s influence in the region has been steadily growing more powerful with each passing day. Some analysts suggest that if Obama disregards the objections of the hawks within the Republican Party, and proceeds to break the ice with Iran, then he would do the same for U.S.-Iran relations as Nixon’s historic 1972 visit to China did for U.S.-China relations — namely that Obama’s actions will sweep away any obstructions and pave the way for the establishment of U.S.-Iran ties.
Just how great are Iran’s secret nuclear ambitions? To what extreme will Saudi Arabia and Israel go to thwart the establishment of U.S.-Iran ties? For the enduring achievement of newly constructed U.S.-Iran relations, there is no limit to the stakes involved, nor any limit to how many chips Obama would throw on the table to procure a victory. It remains to be seen exactly how great or little such a win or loss would contribute to the future success of blacks seeking the office of president. But Obama’s tenacious will to win will nonetheless prove a great catalyst for the resolution of America’s deeply rooted black-white paradigm.
*Editor’s Note: Though correctly translated, the title of Gen. Carter Ham’s statement could not be independently verified.