A former Pentagon official is slamming Obama administration policies on ISIS and Cuba as the terrorists reportedly deploy chemical weapons against Kurdish enemies and the United States re-opens its embassy in Cuba, saying the president and his team are deliberately working against the best interests of the country.
“They’re eager to do this because no else believes that it is in the United States’ best interest. They want to go against the United States’ best interests,” said Jed Babbin, who served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration. He is now an author and columnist.
When pressed to explain that comment, Babbin doubled down.
“I mean what I said. These people, this administration, has a track record of doing a lot of things that are not in the United States’ best interests,” he said, asserting that American policy on ISIS and Cuba are two prime examples.
Late in the week, reports suggest ISIS used chemical weapons, mustard gas in particular, against Kurds in northern Iraq. Babbin believes the weapons could have been obtained in several different ways.
“It could be from old Iraqis stores that we found, and I have information that says we did find them long [ago], about 2005,” he said. “Could have been from (Syrian President) Bashar Assad. Could have been a lot of places. I don’t think they have the sophistication to make them themselves.”
But Babbin said this new dimension of the ISIS threat probably won’t change a thing for Obama.
“It doesn’t really change anything. We’re not going to do the right thing. We’re not going to arm the Kurds. We’re not going to go in there ourselves and try to do something with them, which I don’t think is the right path anyway. So I don’t think, for us at least, it changes things,” said Babbin, who noted that Obama is doing virtually nothing militarily or ideologically to stop ISIS.
“The real problem here is they’re trying to kick the can down the road,” he said. “They want to leave this for the next administration to deal with, and that’s what Obama’s doing. He’s not conducting a serious campaign, and he’s not conducting an ideological war at all.”
The latter point is the most galling for Babbin, who says for all of Obama’s talk about confronting the murderous ideology of ISIS, there is no effort to actually do it.
“You cannot win the war against terrorists and the terrorist nations without winning the ideological war as well,” he said.
But while he expects the specter of ISIS possessing weapons of mass destruction to have no discernible impact on U.S. policy, he said the other nations in region are definitely sitting up and taking notice.
“I think it changes things a lot for the neighboring countries,” Babbin said. “Certainly the Israelis are not going to be very happy about this, and the Arab states really can’t be happy about this, either. It’s really their fight. They should be putting troops on the ground and planes in the air and dealing with ISIS. They’re just sitting back and watching.”
Half a world away, Secretary of State John Kerry raised the U.S. flag and re-opened the American embassy in Havana, Cuba, on Friday. The event comes less than a month after Cuba re-opened its embassy in Washington and is the latest step in re-establishing diplomatic ties with the communist regime.
Babbin said this is another arrangement in which the Obama administration was fleeced through diplomacy.
“There’s really nothing in this for us, and then Castro is out there saying, ‘The United States owes us millions of dollars in reparations and needs to give us Gitmo back.’ There’s just no reason to do this whatsoever,” said Babbin, who believes an episode from early in the Obama administration demonstrated whose side this president would be on in times of crisis.
“You can go back to 2009, when they stood with Fidel Castro in condemning the efforts of the Honduran people to throw out a would-be dictator, Mr. (Manuel) Zalaya,” Babbin explained. “When the Honduran supreme court removed him, when he was trying to overstay his term in office, Obama said that was a coup and so did Fidel Castro.”
Babbin said the past six-and-a-half years are littered with policy after policy that weaken the United States, and the Cuba policy sends an especially bad message to other dictators around the world.
“It says that Obama is their friend and not their enemy,” Babbin said. “That’s, quite frankly, the truth. We see what’s going on with the Iran deal. We see the things that are going on in North Korea, which we’re doing nothing about. We’re seeing the things going on in the South China Sea with China building these artificial islands, and we’re not doing anything about that.”
He added, “The list of things we should be doing something about and aren’t is relatively short. But there’s a very long list of things we’re doing that are things we shouldn’t be doing.”