The New York Times editorial board praised Obama for projecting strength and advocating for calm. While I have been critical of Obama's handling of ISIS, I must say I remain impressed with his resolve to act with the patience needed to attain a truly workable solution. Predictably, the Republican response was a slightly more polite version of, "Obama...man, what a pussy."
But for all their rhetoric, the Republican presidential candidates have no short-term military solution that is in any way discernible from what Obama is already doing. Front-runner Donald Trump recently articulated his exceedingly complex plan:
ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because they have certain oil camps, certain areas of oil that they took away. [...] They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the shit out of 'em.
Our primary responsibility is to keep the American people safe from the real and evolving threat of radical Islamic terrorism. That will require the president to produce a comprehensive strategy to confront and defeat ISIS. The enemy is adapting, and we must too. That's why what we heard tonight was so disappointing: no new plan, just a half-hearted attempt to defend and distract from a failing policy.
If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate. That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse.