Obama's weakness has helped Putin – and Isis

Determined to avoid repeating the mistakes of George W. Bush, he is making mistakes of his own that will have terrible consequences for decades to come

21 November 2015

9:00 AM

21 November 2015

9:00 AM

The principal strategic objective in the war on terror has been a failure. Ever since 9/11, the aim has been to deny terrorists sanctuary. That, after all, is why the United States and Britain went into Afghanistan — troops were sent in only after the Taliban refused to hand over the al-Qaeda leadership and shut down the terrorist training camps. But now, a large terrorist enclave exists in the very heart of the Middle East.

President Obama’s reaction to this massive strategic failure has been lack-lustre. His main concern is to stress that, while air strikes will continue, US ground troops will not be deployed to defeat Islamic State in either Syria or Iraq. Britain’s response is even feebler; to bomb Isis but only on the Iraqi side of the border. The result is that the RAF cannot hit the city from which last week’s Paris attacks appear to have been planned.

David Cameron is now trying to change this policy and will present the case for extending strikes to Syria to Parliament in the next few weeks. Yet he isn’t confident enough to timetable a vote yet. With Jeremy Corbyn determined to whip Labour MPs to oppose even air strikes, any vote will be tight and he can’t afford to lose a second Commons vote on a matter of war and peace.

Instead, he will respond to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee report opposing military action in Syria. No. 10 believes that this will be an opportunity for MPs to declare that they would back a motion permitting British forces to strike Isis in Syria. The hope is that this will pave the way for a Commons vote on the issue before Christmas.

France, meanwhile, is hitting Isis in both Syria and Iraq, but only from the air. The last few months have shown that while air strikes can contain Isis, they cannot defeat it.

This is all is a spectacular failure of western leadership and President Obama must take much of the blame. Determined to avoid repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, he is making mistakes of his own that will have terrible consequences for decades to come.

This presents an opportunity for Vladimir Putin. To date, the Russian leader’s Syrian intervention has had little to do with defeating Isis; Moscow feared that the Assad regime was about to fall and its initial military attacks were aimed at other rebel groups. But as Putin is now winning the concessions he wanted on the future of Syria, the situation is changing. ‘The Russians are going to have to approve the successor regime. That’s just a fact. We have to be realistic about that,’ one Cameron confidant concedes. Another British government source says any new Syrian government will have to accept Russia developing its naval base and listening posts there.

Putin will now become more involved in the fight against Isis. Tellingly, it was this week that Moscow confirmed that its civilian airliner had indeed been brought down by a terrorist attack in Egypt. This was the precursor to a string of Russian strikes on Raqqa, the headquarters of Isis.

So how far is Putin prepared to go? At the UN General Assembly in September, he enjoyed posing as the leader who was really taking the war to Isis. With Obama determined not to commit ground forces, one wonders if Putin, who already has tanks in Syria, might see a chance for his troops to take Raqqa. This would be the most potent demonstration of Russian relevance and influence since the end of the Cold War. It would enable him to claim, however absurdly, that Russia is now the defender of civilisation against extremism.

Just a few weeks ago, the Americans were convinced that Moscow had bitten off more than it could chew in Syria. Now it is clear that Putin’s intervention has secured Russia’s Mediterranean base in the country and given it an effective veto over any new Syrian government.

One of Putin’s other great strategic aims is to drive a wedge between eastern and western Europe. He was greatly helped by Angela Merkel’s disastrous handling of the refugee crisis. Not only did she incite more people to flee to Europe with an ill-advised declaration that all Syrian refugees were welcome, she then used qualified majority voting to force eastern European countries to take refugees against their will. A backlash is already under way and the new Polish government has indicated that it won’t honour the EU agreement.

Merkel has imperilled her standing at home too. In private, British diplomats now believe there is little chance of her standing in the 2017 German elections. Some ministers, however, think her position is even worse than that. One observes: ‘She is in decline. It may well be terminal’ and warns she might not even make it to those elections.

The draining of Merkel’s political capital has implications for Cameron’s EU renegotiation. It had been assumed that she would play a key role in persuading other EU states to accept his demands. Now she might not be politically strong enough to do that, even if she wanted to. Certainly, it is hard to see her persuading the new Polish government to agree to Cameron’s demand that EU migrants can’t claim benefits or tax credits until they have been here for four years.

The Paris attacks are a reminder of the sheer scale of the terror threat. Dealing with Islamist extremism is the security challenge of this generation, but it is a challenge that Western governments are currently failing to meet. If we really are serious about defeating Islamist extremism, then we must — as a first step — be prepared to will the means to drive Islamic State out of both Syria and Iraq.

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Show comments
  • StrategyKing

    So what exactly is your plan? Please enlighten us James. Are you proposing an invasion force? How big? Who will staff it? How long will it stay there?

    You are unhappy with the current policy. Please spell out what you would like done and how.

    • Shazza

      I agree with you but would like to add to your questions –
      What will be the fallout in this country if we bomb/attack or not?
      How are we going to handle the growing threat of attacks in this country?
      What is being done now to handle those ‘British’ citizens who have returned from Syria?

      Dreadful mistakes were made in the past leading to the present disastrous situation. We need the Chilcot Report to be published asap so that an effective post mortem can be conducted.

    • Todd Unctious

      Bombing does not work. Britain did not succumb to the Blitz. Even Germany had to be occupied. The UN must put boots on the ground. 100,000 troops. 20,000 each from the US, Russia, China, the EU and 10,000 each from Saudi, Turkey and Iran.

      • GripperStebson

        Bombing can go a long way. It can deliver ISIS the 7th century lifestyle they so crave. We bomb every single road, bridge, electricity sub-station, mobile phone tower and piece of significant infrastructure within the territory they control. We’ll even throw in the Mosques for free. If it moves on a road, we drone it.

        While that’s in progress we systematically suffocate their access to international finance and the internet. It is incredible that someone can have a supposedly racist content taken down from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in minutes and their accounts deleted but somehow Jihadist social media seems to continue to flourish. Stick a call into Zuckerberg and read him the riot act to sort this out PDQ.

        ISIS cashes in millions from selling oil on the black-market, exporting refugees and all manner of general misery and we somehow can’t track that money through the international banking system. FFS, I can’t even open a bank account without a full forensic analysis of my financial past. What’s the point of all these financial regulations if we can’t track millions if not billions of jihadist money flowing around the world. We know where this money is and where it’s going. Just stop it.

        Let’s maybe have a little international conference and the likes of Obama, Hollande, Cameron and best of all Putin can close the door and have a word with some of these rogue Arabic countries and tell them either to cut this sh*t out or there’s no more trips to see the ladies of the night in London, Paris and Hollywood. Failing that it’s sanctions time.

        Let’s do some of these things first and see how we get on before talking about wasting yet more western lives in some pointless Arabic military misadventure. I have a sneaking suspicion that if we grew a pair of balls and did some of this stuff we just might not need to put our military on the ground.

        And finally, how about the imbeciles in the White House and Downing Street realising that in a ground war between the Syrian army and ISIS/Al Qaeeda and Al Nusra you can’t want both sides to lose. You pick the least worst option (ie. the bloke not sending people to blow up and machine innocent people in our capital cities) and you back him to sort these lunatics out.

        • Todd Unctious

          They live in a rocknstrewn desert. What is the point of bombing it? It is already a wasteland.

          • GripperStebson

            I suspect Obama has been re-arranging the rocks and disturbing a few goats as a bit of a PR show in the last few years but the French and Russians seem to have plenty to be aiming at currently.

            It seems therefore to be a rockstrewn desert with roads, bridges and mobile phone antennas. How is that Raqqa (the supposed capital of the Caliphate has internet cafes?). Look carefully and you’ll even find the odd oil refinery in their territory as well. All objects totally at odds with a dedicated Koranic life. The local Toyata dealer must be visible from space since he manages to sell hundreds of pick-up trucks! Joking aside, Mosul has a current population estimated at 600,000 inhabitants. The airport is a bit too big to miss as well. Even Google maps has it pretty clearly marked out if the military really need help. If you seriously think there’s nothing at all to aim at then I think you might be a wee-bit mistaken.

          • Sunshine Sux

            I guess you’d like them to multiply?

          • Todd Unctious

            I would like them ridiculed and humiliated. Laughing at such self important prigs denies them dignity and undermines their power base. Ceaucescu was defeated by people laughing at him.

          • Tamerlane

            He’s a Respect Party activist so yes, he would.

          • Todd Unctious

            No I am not. Only you say I am ,mainly as I threaten your anti- intellectual agenda.

          • Gilbert White

            They swop energy with Assad. They sell to turks. You cannot win unless you use fatboy?

      • Cyril Sneer

        What about the Syrian Arab Army? It is their country after all.

      • Sunshine Sux

        Are you talking about the same Turkey that pays ISIS $2 Million per day for their stolen oil, bombs the Kurds and pushes Muslims into Europe?
        Or the Turkey who was booing and chanting ‘Allah Akbar” during the Greece-Turkey friendlies’ minute of silence for the victims of Paris?
        Or the Turkey that is retrograding into islamist obscurity more and more each passing day?

    • Cyril Sneer

      We could try closing the Syrian/Turkish border, you know stop the jihadists from crossing it for the last 3 years.

      Next, we could look into the KSA, Qatar, Turkey etc for their funding of jihadists , stop this support and threaten regime change on the KSA and friends if they don’t comply.

      Finally, impeach Obama and have him executed.

  • Art Carnage

    These people weren’t fleeing their beloved homelands in droves when they had their dictators. Give them back, I say.

    • Herzegovina

      Correct. The real wave of migrants only began when Syrians realised Assad might actually lose. Before the war, Syria was a wonderful country, run liberally and fairly under the same person they are now insisting must leave. Does he have blood on his hands? No doubt. Just like everyone else.

  • Herzegovina

    What’s absurd about Russia being the guardian of our values. They always have been. This snobbery and superciliousness is very unpleasant. What, you think our or America’s sh*t doesn’t stink? Trust me, it stinks to high heaven.

  • MrBishi

    There seems to be little point in putting Western boots on the ground in Iraq when it is only a few years since we had over 100,000 of them on the ground and the minute we left, ISIS moved in.
    The problem with ISIS is its determination to export terrorism outside of its declared borders. So we should concentrate on locating its leaders and dropping our largest bombs on those locations in order to kill them and send a clear and repeated message that these tactics will continue until ISIS has leader(s) who are content to stay within their existing/declared borders and not to threaten the rest of the world.
    We will achieve nothing unless dialogue begins between ISIS and the rest of the world.
    Simply bombing ISIS troops may give Iraq chance to pull itself together although I wouldn’t put my shirt on it; but it does nothing to address the long term threat of ISIS.
    This may, of course, suit the politicians who seem to enjoy popularity when the country faces an external threat.

    • shadsfan

      Dialogue is not an option with these primitive murderous thugs. Neither are regular bombs but a chemical attack would be effective. That may not be ‘PC’ and obviously many innocents will suffer but innocent people always suffer in wars and daesh is contributing to that suffering right now. Remember the effect that the A bomb had on the Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, i.e. a quick surrender. The daesh rats nest must be eliminated and chemicals may be the only long term solution for long term world safety.

      • faldamo reondsri

        The Japanese had been brought down to abject surrender well before the American live human nuclear experiments on the children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Russian entry into the Pacific Theatre and the Allies’ post-nuking alteration of surrender terms ended WWII.

        The claim that nuking children ended WWII is nothing more than a laughable myth used by the US government to justify heinous war crimes and live human experimentation.

        Those who try to justify the mass nuking of children are the same as the Neo-Nazis who advocate gassing Jews for “long term world safety”.

    • Cyril Sneer

      “and send a clear and repeated message that these tactics will continue
      until ISIS has leader(s) who are content to stay within their
      existing/declared borders and not to threaten the rest of the world.”

      Um.. I think you do not understand what ISIS is all about – they want to establish a worldwide caliphate.

      There is no negotiation to be had.

      • MrBishi

        I try not to take the Daily Mail and Telegraph too seriously and I suggest that you do the same.
        If, ISIS firstly establishes a stable caliphate in Iraq and Syria and then declares war on one of its neighbours, that is the time to address whether it will be in our interests to fight on the side of the threatened country, doubtless guided by the UN.
        It was the unholy mess left by western governments, in their carving up of the middle east in the past, that is largely to blame for current problems.

        • Cyril Sneer

          “I try not to take the Daily Mail and Telegraph too seriously and I suggest that you do the same.”

          I get my news from other non-msm sources, ones that actually tell the damn truth and not the establishment narrative. I suggest you do the same.

          “It was the unholy mess left by western governments, in their carving up
          of the middle east in the past, that is largely to blame for current

          It’s all black and white to you lot, western interference is only one part of it.

          • MrBishi

            Not “all black and white” just a habit of studying the history of a subject before – like you – coming on and showing up your ignorance.

  • Frank

    Yes, we can focus on destroying IS in Syria and Iraq, but it would probably make more sense to cut off the funding, the flow of arms, the religious support, etc, that is being provided by a number of ME countries. If this was accompanied by a determination to get the various heads and branches of the muslim religion to repudiate all of the religious dogma supporting IS, then you might actually start making some headway.

    • Todd Unctious

      Time to worry the Swiss.

      • Frank

        Yes, probably need to bomb Dublin as well!

  • Sid Falco

    “then we must — as a first step — be prepared to will the means to drive Islamic State out of both Syria and Iraq.”

    I think the first step is to close the borders myself. Deal with the enemy within first.

  • Cyril Sneer

    “Ever since 9/11, the aim has been to deny terrorists sanctuary.”

    The terrorists have found sanctuary… in Syria for the last 3 years and the USA was fully aware of their presence yet was quite happy for the last 3 years to allow the Turkish border to be used to reinforce and rearm the jihadists, the same jihadists that the USA spent the last decade bombing and asset freezing in the ‘war on terror’.

    Or are you somehow telling me that the USA has no influence over Turkey, a NATO member, and that Turkey with one of the largest standing armies in the world is unable to police its Syrian border… in fact it has proven so incapable that even school children have been able to cross without hindrance. Yet Kurds were stopped by Turkish border guards from helping their kin in Kobane when Kobane was close to falling.

  • justejudexultionis

    The US, UK, France and Germany are shamefully appeasing Turkey, a country that is actively undermining the fight against ISIS by refusing to help the highly successful Kurdish armies. One cannot but help think that Erdogan is an Islamist and that our western ‘leaders’ are cowards and fools.

    • rockylives

      Turkish football fans booed during a minute’s silence to honour the dead of Paris, and shouts of “Allahu Akbar” were heard from the crowd.

      Says it all.

    • Cyril Sneer

      Not only that it is providing support to jihadist groups, has allowed them to cross the Syrian/Turkish border unmolested and ensured the replenishment of arms and manpower to the jihadists for the last 3 years.

  • paulus

    Well you can hardly blame Obama for turning a battle hardened army into terrorists. But we are where we are.

  • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

    Obama and his liberal left wing policies have strengthened Putin and catapulted Trump into first place among the candidates:
    As Trump rises in popularity it must send fear into the
    Liberal Progressive left
    -The die hard Obama fans and his policies
    -The “Feminazis” who believe women are superior to anyone else
    -The “multiculturalists” who want open borders
    -The “revisionists” who want to change history so all the world’s problems are due to the White man and the Western cultures.
    -The “abortionists” who have a policy of “use and dispose” babies
    -The “anti Constitutionalists” who hate the Constitution and demand that minority rights are greater than the majority (not complement the majority).
    The “Socialists” who believe in an ever increasing debt regardless of the consequence to the nation.
    The “Pacifists” who believe in gutting our military regardless if we face many external threats.

    • Sunshine Sux

      Sounds to me like Trump has all the correct people’s knicker’s in a twist then.
      (except ‘abortionists’; personally being pro-choice)

      • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

        I agree and some of them may even like the sensation of having their knickers in a twist. that is part of the problem
        As for your pro choice would you support 3rd trimester abortions when the fetus is fully formed and healthy? That is a big reason I do not support abortion.

        • Sunshine Sux

          Of course not, but I have never heard of 2nd or 3rd trimester abortions being legal anywhere.

          • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

            I Googled “Legality of third Trimester abortions and got this list:
            Australia: As of 2015, South Australia is the only Australian state or territory to keep reliable abortion statistics. During 2012, 92% of abortions were performed before 14 weeks’ gestation, 6% between 14–20 weeks, and 2% (n=96) at a later stage. Of the 96 abortions carried out beyond 20 weeks, 53 were due to actual or probable foetal abnormality.

            Canada: During the year 2009, 29% of induced abortions were performed before 8 weeks, 41% at 9 to 12 weeks, 7% at 13 to 16 weeks and 2% over 21 weeks.

            England and Wales: In 2005, 9% of abortions occurred between 13 and 19 weeks, while 1% occurred at or over 20 weeks.

            New Zealand: In 2003, 2.03% of induced abortions were done between weeks 16 and 19, and 0.56% were done over 20 weeks.

            Norway: In 2005, 2.28% of induced abortions were performed between 13 and 16 weeks, 1.24% of abortions between 17 and 20 weeks, and 0.20% over 21 weeks. Between February 15, 2010 and December 1, 2011, a total number of ten abortions were performed between 22 to 24 weeks. These have been declared illegal by The Norwegian Directorate of Health.

            Scotland: In 2005, 6.1% of abortions were done between 14 and 17 weeks, while 1.6% were performed over 18 weeks.

            Sweden: In 2005, 5.6% of abortions were carried out between 12 and 17 weeks, and 0.8% at or greater than 18 weeks.

            United States: In 2003, from data collected in those areas that sufficiently reported gestational age, it was found that 6.2% of abortions were conducted between 13 and 15 weeks, 4.2% between 16 and 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks. Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual study on abortion statistics does not calculate the exact gestational age for abortions performed past the 20th week, there are no precise data for the number of abortions performed after viability.[ In 1997, the Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions in the U.S. past 24 weeks to be 0.08%, or approximately 1,032 per year.[

          • Sunshine Sux

            Well, I am still pro choice until the end of the1st trimester, and in a situation when there are health problems with either the child or the mother.
            I guess I’m a sensible pro abortionist, who lives in the real world, this issue is not black or white for me.

          • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

            Going by your user name I assume you are female, My father was a Physician and my mother a nurse. So I come from a medical family that was open minded on this issue.
            Growing up in the US I learned what a Doctor has to do in the 3rd trimester to complete an abortion. The Doctor has to murder the infant. that is one issue

            As a man I have very little choice on this mater even though it takes a man to form a baby.
            Due to rights of women, the rights of men on this issue take second place. You may carry the child for 9 months. and by law you have the right to decide the fate of that fetus… even with or without the consent of the man who was involved in the formation of that child.

            That puts me in an odd place. I have no right to tell you what you should do with your own body but at the same time I share the happiness or the sorrow of your decision and that really does not count in the eyes of the law.

            then it leads me to the conclusion that in this day the laws that bind a marriage. are worthless to men. As a father and a husband the law favors the female.
            I am summarizing a complex social issue of abortion and the relationship between the genders.

          • freddiethegreat

            Search for Kermit Gosnell. Not much reporting, if any in the mainstream:


          • Mary Ann

            Second trimester is legal in Britain.

    • sidor

      A couple of weeks after 9/11, Bush was hugging prince Bandar. Is Bush a socialist? A liberal? A feminist?

      It is all much more simple and ugly: the political elite of the West is bought by the Saudi billions. Left and right.

      • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

        A few weeks? When 9/11 happened, I turned on the TV and I saw the first plane ram into the twin towers. It was by then a loop in the news.But for a moment I thought it was a movie. then all of us spent the entire day watching the news. I saw each plane slam into those skyscrapers and the collapse of them along with other buildings. .I expected, we all expected that President Bush would declare war on the Al-Qaeda the next day when he and Congress held a special session. that expectation was also based on President Bush making that declaration at ground zero.

        The shock of his rather nebulous announcement in the Congress was only equaled by the shock of the horror that just happened. President Bush handled that disaster which took place in the US far worse than the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. From him to eventually Obama the US has lost so much. In many ways this self inflicted acts of destroying the power of America by Washington D.C. is now accepted around the world. We have become material for jokers and comedians. I have read so many comments that the US will never rise to her former glory. I disagree and that is why I support Trump.

        If Hillary wins we may just face an internal social upheaval reminiscent of the Civil war days and the demand to secede.

        • Headstrong

          Bernie, you support Trump because you are a bigot and a racist, like he is. Your views on immigrants and the British (and the appallingly foul language you use to describe both) are well known to all by now. For example, your comments on the following links give readers a glimpse into your psyche –

          I understand the British were the colonial masters in India and in Sri Lanka – but surely you’ll agree that they actually ended up doing good in both countries. For you to pour vitriol on them as you do, and then appear all sane and reasonable here is truly bizarre.

          • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

            “I understand the British were the colonial masters in India and in Sri Lanka – but surely you’ll agree that they actually ended up doing good in both countries.”

            That is your opinion of the British Empire “Colonial masters”?
            ‘and you have not
            addressed this article
            addressed anyone else in this article. You Headstrong have a problem and that is the book
            “India Shattering the Illusion. The Birth of New Nations. Kashmir to Elam” by Columbus Falco
            That book debunks the
            Sepoy rebellion
            the bad press on the British Empire
            The nightmare created by New Delhi that people like you blame on the British and not on your elected leaders for the past 70 years. which is only 30 years shy of the British Empire’s rule in the Subcontinent’ (‘1858 to 1947)

          • Headstrong

            I am addressing your comment, Bernie. Surely that is more relevant than the balderdash you have served up.
            Nobody is blaming the British for anything – except you in the links I have posted above. My take on the British I have told you many times before but you choose to ignore – so here goes (again!)
            1. The British united India. Before their arrival, India was just a land with a multitude of kingdoms. We owe the British our very geography!
            2. The British gave us the English language. Nobody in India can underestimate how much that has done for us
            3. The British dragged us kicking and screaming into the modern world. Before they came, we were a land where despicable practices such as Sati were still practised.
            4. The British gave us the Industrial Revolution. We really had no clue of what was going on in the technological realm until the British introduced it in India.
            5. The British gave us a legal system. The formalised code of jurisprudence was introduced in India by them, and we follow the concept to this day.
            6. The British introduced modern infrastructure in India. In fact, many of the bridges, railways, roads and buildings built by them survive to this day in good health.
            7. The British introduced us to recording history. India had very little tradition of recording events (with some notable exceptions, of course). In fact, it was the British who re-introduced us to many facets of our history by their excavations and historical research.
            I could go on – but I guess I’ve made my point. India could have done far worse than have the British for colonial masters. The majority of Indians hold no grudge against the British – which is why even today we enjoy excellent relations – though it could of course be much better.
            Now, please enlighten us on why you hate the Brits so much? A few of the choicest quotes from above links –
            “Go run along to one of your British mosques The Muslims will give you a penny for a blo job”
            “Do you realize bugring sheep were done by you British a long time ago and well before the Romans did it?did you also realize that you British wear girly skirts which are called kilts and it is because it is easy to bugr the sheep when one wears a skirt with no underwear?” and so on….

            When did you develop such a filthy mouth, Bernie?

      • rtj1211

        It’s nothing to do with socialism: it’s to do with a deal between Saudi Arabia and Richard Nixon in 1972 to support the petrodollar once America came off the Gold Standard. The Saudis are America’s pimps. Have been for 40 years. Who do you think is driving America’s hatred of Russia? Well I’ll give you one clue. The Royal Family of Saudi Arabia……

    • Michaelinlondon1234

      But the group who take the biggest slice of the tax dollars is the US military and arms manufacturers.

      • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

        I believe it is Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The problem with that is they now apply to illegal aliens as well who never contributed a penny towards them.

        • Michaelinlondon1234

          A lie. You obviously do not understand tax systems. Every time someone spends money. tax is collected. Peoples wages are paid by those who sold the goods who are then taxed on their earnings. The companies they work for are taxed on what they buy etc etc

          • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

            I Googled . I live in the US and I have written to you in the “local”. So whatever you think I said was a lie is easy to prove by Googling it.

          • Michaelinlondon1234

            Hi re local. Agreed but every one who has property in the US pays state taxes. As an example. If they rent out then whoever rents from them is paying indirect taxes. Migrants and tourists rent space generally. So are paying state taxes.
            This is one of many tax chains that exist in society. UK is similar.
            Sales taxes, Personal tax, company tax, Local land taxes, tax on profits, etc etc.
            So does a homeless person pay tax…Yes… every time he buys something.
            If he ends up in a shelter then the charity workers if they receive wages will be taxed The building owner will pay local taxes. So just by existing that homeless person is generating tax revenue for government.
            It comes back to the more economic cycles in society the more robust the society is.

          • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

            Go back on the thread of this chat. another commenter said that most of the US taxes go to the military.
            I Googled and found out what I already knew and that is that most of those taxes to to Social security, (I know of the Social Security deductions from our paychecks) Medicare and Medicaid
            I have owned homes a good deal of my life and rented others but thank you for letting me know what I have to do every year of my life here in the US

  • Nick

    This is a good article up until the last sentence:If we really are serious about defeating Islamist extremism, then we
    must — as a first step — be prepared to will the means to drive Islamic
    State out of both Syria and Iraq.

    That’s incorrect as the first step should be to remove from the UK the 3000 jihadis and hardline muslims who want to kill us.Bombing Syria and Iraq are a distant second.

    But why should we risk our armed forces over Syria and Iraq when there are hundreds of thousands of young Syrian and Iraqi men sitting in European coffee shops where they recharge their mobiles? Why don’t they form their own army and fight for their women and children that they dumped in their own countries.


    • berosos_bubos

      Bombing Syria is the easy option politically. To earn that Cameron needs to make the tough decisions at home first but he is not interested in doing that.

      • Nick

        Absolutely agree with you as I know that I would feel a good bit safer if the enemy within the UK had been reduced significantly.

        As for the RAF bombing Syria? Yeah,not a bad idea if it’s coupled with action in the UK.But on it’s own,is too much of a bad risk regarding the safety of the air crew.

  • sidor

    It is well known that the US ME policy was controlled by the Saudis. The “Arab Spring”, initiated by madam Clinton, was a Wahhabi project aimed at removing secular regimes and substituting them with jihadists. They succeeded in Libya, but fortunately failed in Egypt. In Syria the war is still in progress. The West is now trying to pretend that it never supported ISIS.

  • The caption reads, “Obama’s weakness has helped Putin – and Isis

    Allow me to translate the Marxist dialectics, ‘Comrade Obama’s orchestrated weakness has helped Comrade Putin – and the Marxist front group Isis’

    For those still clueless, approximately 20% of the Marxist front group Islamic[sic] State are Ukraine Ground Forces (UGF) posing as Islamic [sic] State, the UGF mission in Iraq being to cut Iraq’s oil exports–once American ground forces return to Iraq–for the purpose of assisting Russia’s oil based economy, thereby allowing Russia to complete her military modernization program. The Marxist governments of the West and Marxist media* are spinning the reality of what’s taking place in the Ukraine and Iraq, where in the Ukraine the anti-Communist Ukrainian people are waging a war against the Marxist Kiev government and mis-named ‘Ukrainian separatists’ who are really Russian Spetsnaz/Guards Airborne troops assisting the Marxist Kiev government suppress the anti-Communist revolution raging throughout the Ukraine. The revolution could only have occurred thanks to the weakened security apparatus within the Ukraine, where a critical number of UGF are currently in Iraq preparing to assist Russia’s oil based economy by sabotaging Iraq’s oil exports.

    With the weakened Marxist security apparatus throughout the Ukraine, due to the UGF presence in Iraq, the Ukrainian population destroyed, to date, over 800 statues to the reviled Vladimir Lenin, and other Marxist ‘heroes’, statues that were supposed to have been destroyed in 1991 if the collapse of the USSR were real and not the strategic ruse it is. Currently approximately 1,300 statues to the butcher of Ukrainian nationalism/Orthodoxy remain standing throughout the Ukraine, rubbing salt into the historical wounds of every non-Marxist Ukrainian (95% of the population) that is forced to view such monuments to the infamous butcher.

    Russian regular forces are also in the eastern Ukraine (attired in UGF uniforms) fighting the Ukrainian freedom fighters, losing to combat operations approximately 25,000 soldiers, which is why on January 2 Vladimir Putin was ordered by his superiors in the Russian Communist Party to sign a four-year old piece of legislation that allows foreigners who speak Russian to join the Russian military…


    The following is a discovery I made in April regarding the fake collapse of the USSR…

    When Soviet citizens were liberated from 74 years of Marxist oppression on December 26, 1991 there were ZERO celebrations throughout the USSR, proving (1) the ‘collapse’ of the USSR was a strategic ruse; and (2) the political parties of the West were already co-opted by Marxists, otherwise the USSR (and East Bloc nations) couldn’t have gotten away with the ruse.

    ZERO celebrations, as the The Atlantic article inadvertently informs us…


    Notice, however, the Kremlin staged anti-government demonstrations that took place in Russia (and other Soviet republics) in the years immediately preceding the ‘collapse’, yet ZERO celebrations after the ‘collapse’!

    For more on this discovery see my blog…



    The West will form new political parties where candidates are vetted for Marxist ideology, the use of the polygraph to be an important tool for such vetting. Then the West can finally liberate the globe of vanguard Communism.


    *The failed socialist inspired and controlled pan-European revolutions that swept the continent in 1848 thought Marxists and socialists a powerful lesson, that lesson being they couldn’t win overtly, so they adopted the tactic of infiltration of the West’s political parties/institutions. In the case of the United States…(continue reading at DNotice)…


  • Burkel

    Don’t try to tell me people in sandals with soda can bombs are an existential threat to Europe, America, Russia, and the far east. If Germany can be Denazified, why can’t the middle east be Dejihadified?

    • Gilbert White

      Bombs not big enough, leave it to the Israelis?

    • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

      You are trying to equate one unique historical circumstance with another unique circumstance and that is never a good idea. A bit liking trying to climb Everest while using a map of Norfolk. The circumstances are completely different and a very specific strategy has to be designed to defeat ISIS etc. Whether or not the West has the stomach to adopt and fulfill that strategy to a conclusion is, of course, a separate matter.

    • WTF

      For several reasons its not really possible.

      1/ Who is the real enemy, shia or sunni or any one of a number of other Islamic sects.

      2/ Can you identify a town which you can flatten by aerial bombardment where only the enemy is present.

      3/ Islam is a religion, culture and political system and you can’t negotiate with it, with Germany or Japan, you can and did negotiate a peace.

      4/ During WWII, rightly or wrongly, internment of potential threats from Germans or Japanese was the order of the day, but with political correctness and ECHR that’s not possible in Europe today (for the present).

      • lindzen4pm

        I agree to an extent. Japan was not negotiated with, and they succumbed when Truman, after two atomic bombs, threatened to obliterate the country. It was a suicidal death cult, and had to be dealt with in such fashion, so comparisons with today are valid, especially as there is a ‘state’ involved. Sadly, such leadership has long gone, and no contemporary leader would have the cojones to adopt such a policy.
        As for point 4, such is the perverse nature of things these days, rather than internment, we encourage potentially harmful aliens into our midst. Imagine that happening during WW2.

        • rtj1211

          Putin would, as long as he had cover from everyone else that he wouldn’t get bombed to smithereens by Uncle Sam et al as a result…..and what about Netanyahu? Israelis tend to be more unemotional than most in these situations….

      • rtj1211

        Well, you can start by telling the Saudis, the Qataris and all the other funders of Wahhabi Islam to stop funding them or else.

        Then the world can unite in refusing to supply any more arms to them, along with telling them to fight their own wars or pay our Governments’ bills for sending in armies to do it for them.

        Then you can go after the extremist Mosques and the Imams inside them, along with the Madrassas preaching hate. You can tell the people who fund those to turn the taps off too.

        That’ll do for starters. Oh, and you can shut down the CIA covert operations terrorists, and their counterparts in MI6. Especially the bits of them involved in the global drugs trade to raise the funds they can’t get from Congress. To have them selling drugs globally to fund ISIS is just about the most treasonous act I can consider it possible for a British person to do and I’m sure Americans would feel the same way about their lot….

  • Gilbert White

    Obama, has been useful in preventing the gruesome twosome billionaires, the Clintons from accessing the Whitehouse for yet more sexual peccadilloes.

    • WTF

      Bill Clinton was a minor threat to female interns not America, whilst
      he’s wife, Kerry and Obama have definitely sold the country down the
      river. Unless you’re a complete wimp, I can’t see Hillary as
      being a threat at a personal level.

      • seangrainger

        Do we mean perchance “His wife”

    • rtj1211

      Bill surrounded himself with gays, which meant he had almost unfettered run at all the available women!

  • godot

    Hopefully, wading into the quagmire of Syria/Iraq will be Putin’s Waterloo. Plenty of Muslims from the Caucasus have joined ISIS. They would be well disposed to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Russia.

    • Cyril Sneer

      Why would you want that?

      Plenty of muslims from Europe have joined ISIS, they’d be well disposed to conduct attacks in Europe.

      We’re on the side as Russia, it’s America that isn’t on our side.

      Anything that gives strength to ISIS, anything that emboldens them is a bad thing for any westerner or Russian.

      • WTF

        Its Obama who isn’t on the side of the west not Americans. He seems to have a major chip on his shoulder over his former years or family history and perhaps that’s why he is betraying the west by demanding Jihadists be let in under the guise of refugees.

        • rtj1211

          That’s American uber-rich policy, not Obamas. They want Europe to become a complete mess, so they can walk in in the future and clean up economically.

    • Michaelinlondon1234

      I have no problems with him using nukes.

    • rtj1211

      Just what do you have against Putin and Russia militarily? He’s not the one who’s been invading foreign lands right left and centre. That’s been the UK/US/NATO’s job……

  • Pioneer

    Obama believes the West/white/Christian world is the root of all evil.
    That is why the ME is in a catastrophic condition, and why he is turning America into a 3rd world country.

    European politicians and the MSM are like battered wives in denial.

    Putin had no choice but to act. He needs to stabilize the Med and Syria. An ISIS success in either of those two would unleash yet more recruits and the severe danger of attacks in Russia.

    It is WW3. France may be top of ISIS list, but you are all at war.

  • freddiethegreat

    “Lacklustre” is misleadingly generous.

  • Martin Scalway

    President Obama has kept a cool head, despite hysterical voices urging him to use more force. The Syrian government has invited Russia to use its military strength to help to restore order, but France, Britain and America have received no such invitation and can too easily be presented as ‘crusaders’. The presence of American troops in Syria would be a magnet for world-wide Islamist recruitment – and that would delay the restoration of order, not speed it up.

    Even if there were a way of killing every member of ISIS in Syria without also killing numerous civilians, it wouldn’t prevent acts of terrorism in other countries. ISIS wants to polarise the
    world, to create such a huge anti-Muslim backlash that all Muslims would feel impelled to fight for their religion – ultimately leading to the establishment of a global caliphate.

    ISIS is trying to tempt the West to intervene in Syria and it is prepared to incur losses there in support of its wider goals. President Obama is very wise to resist the temptation to try to look big. All Western politicians should instead focus on combating the far-right propaganda that demonises all Muslims, and on better intelligence-sharing to increase security.

    • Reluctant Mlungu

      What ‘far-right propaganda’, you apologist? Are the recent headlines – the Russian airliner, Paris, Mali, the dead Brits in Tunisia, the dead Californians – now merely ‘propaganda’ that ‘demonises’ Muslims? What parallel universe do you live in?

      • Martin Scalway

        I don’t regard those news reports as propaganda. The far-right propaganda that I was referring to (and I accept that I should have clarified that point) was by Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders among others, who try to whip up feeling against all Muslims and all immigrants (even though many of the terrorists were born in Europe). See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dc7c4d10-9feb-11e4-9a74-00144feab7de.html#axzz3s85y2tG7 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11469579.

        • WTF

          (even though many of the terrorists were born in Europe) – That’s exactly the point that’s being missed here as flattening a hotbed of terrorists in the ME wont solve the real and present danger of the enemy within.

          Most if not all terrorist acts committed by Muslims in the west over the past decade were carried out by those born in the west or who moved to the west when very young. Le Penn & Wilders like more and more people today are anti Islam not anti-Muslim as its the religion that has caused the deaths of tens of thousands in all religions including thousands of Muslims. Hate crime is an offense in the UK but we still allow Islam to be used as a hate conduit for a percentage of Muslims.

          Its perverse that groups like the EDL or BNP (and I don’t support them) are categorized as hate groups and yet no one has ever been blown up by them, beheaded or has seen sexual grooming on scale never seen before and yet when Le Pen or Wilders are factually correct, they are accused of whipping up anti Muslim sentiment. Perhaps if Muslims slammed their own criminals in the way that Christians slam theirs, we wouldn’t need Le Pen, Wilders to say it as it is.

          I’m still waiting for the liberal backlash against the BBC’s Andrew Neil who dared call IS, Islamic Sc**bags after the Paris bombing as isn’t that tarring Islam and by default Muslims with the same brush ! If you don’t want to be lumped together with certain people in your ethnic group, clean out your own stable rather than whining about it, all other ethnic groups don’t use the blame game card.

          • rtj1211

            You’ll wait a long time for the liberal backlash. Most people know that Andrew Neil isn’t some rabble rousing airhead, he’s a political heavyweight of whom there are far too few. OK he’s had a few peccadilloes with younger women, but at his job he is fearsomely good. If the BBC tried to get rid of him, they’d realise soon enough they were committing suicide. He’s one of the few on the BBC who can compete internationally as a griller of politicians.

    • WTF

      So being in denial is now keeping a cool head ?

    • Cyril Sneer

      The US and its proxies have been supporting the jihadists for the last 3 years. Your post is incredibly naive.

      “All Western politicians should instead focus on combating the far-right propaganda that demonises all Muslims”

      You’re so clueless it’s frightening.

    • Dogsnob

      ISIS and ‘its wider goals’. What are they, do you think?

    • Dogsnob

      Of course not all muslims are demons. Only the ones who go around slaughtering civilians, and the ones who fund them from a distance, and the ones who watch all this and are not out on the streets demanding that all of the violence and aggression in the name of their religion is stopped. That’s a lot of demons.

      • rtj1211

        There’s a lot of white Westerners who were not out on the street demanding that all the violence in the name of the West be stopped. If you want to follow that line of argument, you’d better vote for Jeremy Corbyn. He was about the only one out there marching against the war in Iraq…..

        • Dogsnob

          “…violence in the name of the West…” ?
          Go on then, give us what you have.

  • Skyeward

    Every Spectator writer to a person underestimates the American unenthusiasm for more war, more tax dollars down the drain, more damaged soldiers and all for a lot of nothing.

  • Randee Head

    So you think Obama should follow his lead and, say, invade Mexico, and take whatever territory we want?

    • Edward MacGuire

      Some former presidents have already done that. .

  • Popescu Ion

    no , but they must do something more….i think isis will soon invade eu with terorist attempts.also take a look at http://goosepascher.com/

  • Cobbett

    The US and it’s lackeys are to blame for IS. They supported the uprising against Assad, financed and armed the ‘rebels’. And now we expect them to ‘do’ something bout it. If Putin wants to fight IS then we should encourage him.

    • Todd Unctious

      No. IS are a result of a lack of civilisation. A medieval creed, a lack of education ( especially for women) and an absence of humility of dignity. They are the worst kind of scum, they are pitiful.

  • seangrainger

    It will work fine mush when someone has the guts to nuke Raqqa

  • Jacobi

    We are at war with Islamic Terror. The first thing in any war is to identify your enemy and his objective. Then you must assess his resources and supplies.

    Our enemy is the Saudi Arabian supported, financed, armed and supplied Sunni branch of Islam
    frequently identified as ISIL but in fact operating under many other names. Also look to your enemies allies. Clearly Qatar and Turkey figure prominently.

    The first step is to estroy the source of wealth and resource, and that is Saudi Arabia. Next the main allies. Turkey is the obvious one.

    Then you allow the middle “management” to get on and fight the war ruthlessly, at least as ruthlessly as the enemy. The war against Islam we are engaged in now will be hard, long and will probably be a “close run thing”.

    The USA is worried about the loss of enormous arms sales to Saudi Arabia. But we must remember we are now at war. We shall require enormous resources to overcome our enemy so the arms industry need not worry!

    • Gilbert White

      Billions of infrastructure in the ME. not like 1967, now?

      • Jacobi

        then we have to adjust our thinking. History has not come to an end!

  • rjbh

    Obama is Isis…and Putin is puttin the boot in … Bless the Vlad

  • Cyril Sneer

    So the vile Turks have shot down a Russian jet in Syria…. this could be real trouble…

    Oh how I would love to see blowback on Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar. If the jihadists fail in Syria and Iranian influence increases then I hope to see serious blowback on the Sunni regimes.

  • Lawrence James.

    Welllington rightly warned against the folly of reinforcing failure. Inferior military minds think otherwise, hence a string of debacles from Vietnam through to Iraq and Afghanistan. Fresh and imaginative minds are needed, not a rehash of old blunders.

  • lindzen4pm

    Obama. The most over-promoted idiot in the history of politics. A Community Organiser becomes President. Think Lee Jasper as PM. That bad.

  • Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

    I am so worried that IS, the Maoists and the Kashmiri militants and even the NE militants
    will form an alliance.
    and take on the tourists coming to India. they can shoot down a plane with a shoulder held grenade launcher that is either landing or taking off from any of India’s airports
    Strike at remote tourist sites in India
    poison the city with poison gas as in Bhopal
    India does not have the sophisticated intelligence like Europe or the US. and Indian police are easily bribed
    and there is no way India’s military could be everywhere in that big nation.

  • Margot5000

    Anyone remember the Norman Stone articles in the Spectator continually promoting Turkey and its entry into the EU? He was dancing to the tune of his paymasters and recent events are showing up his views in the dangerous light they already had then.

  • MC73

    Interesting to see how the failings of the US – a strong country with a weak leader – buoy Russia – a weak country with a strong leader. If Bad Vlad kicks ISIS then good on him, he will deserve the rewards he reaps. Better Syria is a Russian puppet than an Islamist one.