It’s Iran Versus Saudi Arabia Versus ISIS Versus The U.S.

By Sal Bommarito

Sectarian violence and threats resulting from the ISIS conflict and other events in the Middle East are starting to occur on a daily basis. Led by Saudi Arabia, Sunnis are responding to a number of Iranian provocations in the region. Most experts believe this is the beginning of a long drawn-out confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. A New York Times article details these matters.

Stirring Sunni outrage towards Iran are the following significant actions:

  • Iran’s backing of a rebel faction in Yemen. The Saudis are leading airstrikes against the insurgents.
  • Iran’s support of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. The Saudis are aiding jihadists in Syria that are fighting government forces.
  • Iran’s support of Iraqi forces against ISIS. The Saudis have warned Washington “not to allow the Iranian-backed militia to capture too much of Iraq [in the fight with ISIS].
  • The U.S./Iran pending nuclear deal. Saudis have indicated that they want the same rights as Iran to either develop or buy nuclear weapons. The aforementioned deal could lead to significant nuclear proliferation in the area.
  • Iran’s efforts to control the Middle East. The Saudis are backing a “combined Arab military force to combat Iranian influence around the region.”

The ISIS conflict has reached a critical point. The question is, can Iraq successfully win back territory absconded by the insurgents? For a moment in time, Iraqi government troops backed by Iran seemed to be making progress against a much smaller group of ISIS fighters embedded in Tikrit. This battle is a precursor to a much more important assault that is planned for later in the year on Mosul, the Islamic State’s capital.

The Tikrit operation has stalled, and Iraq has asked the U.S. to begin bombing in the area. President Obama agreed to do so only if Iran and Shiite militia groups loyal to Iran disengage. The competition between the U.S. and Iran is unproductive, as both want to destroy ISIS. Unfortunately, both nations hope to influence Iraq prospectively.

Further complicating the situation in Iraq is that most of the ISIS fighting is taking place in Sunni populated areas, and government forces consist mostly of Shiites. This was alluded to earlier in this post. Sunnis inside and outside of Iraq are concerned that the status of Iraqi Sunnis will be diminished even further in post-ISIS Iraq. Also, concern for collateral damage may not be adequate. The Saudis and other Sunni nations are likely to come to the aid of Iraqi Sunnis, if controlling Shiites marginalize the group. This, of course, will ultimately lead to civil war.

Most disturbing is the role of the U.S. By taking a subordinate or apathetic position on the issues herein, the Obama administration is losing credibility with all interested parties. The Iraqis resent the benign response of America to its problems, and other Arab nations cannot determine whom the U.S. is backing in the long-term, especially relating to the Iran nuclear deal.

Just Suppose The U.S. Invaded Iraq With Ground Troops And Extraordinary Force

By Sal Bommarito

Preamble: A decision to send ground troops into battle is an epic decision for any president. Over the years, American commanders-in-chief made decisions to go to war in the name of freedom and to fight tyranny.

Any suggestions made herein are offered with the proviso that the deployment of American ground forces in Iraq and Syria will result in U.S. casualties and collateral damage, things that cannot not be taken lightly. Some have commented that Americans are not prepared to face the possibility that body bags will arrive from the Middle East. I totally respect and understand this perspective.

But, the price of liberty is high. If the unfortunate deaths of our brave soldiers decreases the chances that thousands will be murdered and tortured, I can live with a tactic to deploy troops.

Exactly, what would happen in an all-out assault by the U.S. against ISIS in Iraq. I suspect the most violent aspects of a confrontations would be brief as they have been in past encounters in the region (I’m not suggesting that nation-building projects are short-term). The long-term implications of such an action would be a different story.

If the U.S. employed a combination of massive bombing operations coupled with a large ground incursion, ISIS would be helpless. There is no way that the insurgents could survive an aggressive American assault with superior weaponry. The main problems would include enemy landmines, booby traps and suicide bombers, all of which can exact only minor damage.

It is likely that the retaking of Mosul, the supposed capital of the Islamic State, would be the end of major fighting. Subsequent mop-up operations around the countryside would be fraught with danger, but nothing that would hamper U.S. power. I have no inside information on the logistics but doubt the entire effort would last more than a few weeks.

The really important work begins after the assault is ended. Many Arabs would resent yet another U.S. invasion in the Middle East. But, this one would be different than previous Iraqi and Afghanistan experiences. Once the hostilities have been concluded, U.S. forces will shore up security with the Iraqi government and depart.

The reaction of Iraqi Sunnis will determine whether the country will segue into the next phase, an all-out civil war pitting Shiites against Sunnis for the control of the country and its resources. The latter will be hard pressed looking for a seat at the negotiating table for the formation of a lasting government. It is doubtful the transition will occur without violence. But, this should not be America’s problem.

The importance of finally destroying ISIS cannot be overstated. It is in America’s interest to rid the Middle East of these murderers. The price on the battlefield is worth it in my opinion. These actions will hopefully ensure that the ISIS threat does not spread any further outside of the Middle East.

The U.S. Discourages Iran’s Participation In The War With ISIS

By Sal Bommarito

While the U.S. is negotiating a deal that could pave the way for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, the U.S. is competing with Iran for a leading role in the battle for Tikrit. Simultaneously, Iran is denouncing the U.S. every day as the ayatollahs clamor for “Death to America.” And, in the last few days, the U.S. and Iran have found themselves on opposite sides in the developing civil war in Yemen.

What kind of diplomatic game is President Obama playing? How could he be receptive to a nuclear deal with Iran while trying to displace Iran in its efforts to aid Iraq? Why is the U.S. negotiating at all with a country hell-bent on marginalizing U.S. influence in the region and campaigning to politically dominate the Middle East with insurgency?

A Times Digest article On March 26, titled “U.S. Warplanes Join Effort To Oust ISIS,” indicated that U.S. warplanes had initiated airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Tikrit. The effort to take Tikrit by Iraq and assisted by Iran has stalled as the government force of 30,000 cannot overtake “a small band of militants imbedded in the city.” The story explains, “that American officials sought to seize the initiative from Iran, which had taken a major role in directing the operation.” President Obama made the decision personally.

For several weeks, the U.S. avoided the battle for Tikrit because “[it] did not want to be in a position of aiding an essentially Iranian-led operation.” This was a strange perspective as the objective of destroying ISIS should be the most important concern of the U.S., Iraq, Iran and the entire Middle East.

The U.S. approved a request for help from the Iraqi prime minister on the condition that Iranian-backed Shiite militias “move aside to allow a larger role for Iraqi government [forces] that have worked closely with United States troops.” One would expect the U.S. to cooperate with any Arabs that wanted to repel ISIS and avoid an inane squabble about which country is leading the effort.

And why would the U.S. discourage Shiite militia groups from fighting? They have been the only real effective ground force at the disposal of the Iraqi government to fight ISIS until now. The U.S. effectively has mitigated a ground force initiative with a continuing bombing campaign that, so far, has not been effectual.

The pettiness is also prevalent on the Iran side, as its commander of troops in Tikrit has “left the area.” Apparently, neither the U.S. nor Iran is willing to work together fighting a common enemy.

The U.S. fears that it will be “marginalized by Tehran in a country where they had spilled much blood . . .” An American official was quoted as saying, “taking back Tikrit is important, but it gives us an opportunity to have our half of the operation win this one.”

The objective should be to defeat ISIS, not for the U.S. and Iran to one-up each other. Arabs are dying every day, more Arabs are being driven from their homes and lone wolves are planning terrorist attacks throughout the world. I find this tit for tat nonsense unacceptable. And finally, Arabs were finally dealing with their own problem, something that Obama has demanded from the outset of the ISIS conflict. Yet, he enthusiastically miffed Iran and discouraged its participation. Does this administration know what it is doing?

How Do You Rate Obama’s Leadership In The War Against ISIS?

By Sal Bommarito

No doubt, decisions by presidents in times of war are very difficult and stressful. Determinations to use force against enemies and to deploy American troops must be carefully considered. Presidential actions in extreme circumstances are the ones that are judged most critically. Some of our past leaders have scored well with historians and others have not. President Obama has been engaged in a life and death struggle in the Middle East for an extended period of time. How will he remembered?

Up to this point, the president has kept the U.S. relatively un-engaged in the war against ISIS, opting only to drop bombs and train troops. He stated from the outset of the conflict that he expected Arabs to deal with their own problems. Specifically, Obama has forbidden the use of American ground forces. The result has been virtually no American casualties, but that’s where the good news ends.

The list of poor decisions by President Obama is long and very disconcerting to many Americans. They believe ISIS is a dangerous threat to world peace and a destabilizing force in the region. Also, the insurgents have proven that they can raise funds, recruit new fighters and export terror to other parts of the Middle East and the western world.

A list of American missteps includes the following:

  • The president believes ISIS can be defeated with bombs. This has been proven to be untrue.
  • By eschewing greater firepower and the use of ground forces, the president has unnecessarily extended the ISIS war and has given the enemy a chance to grow and become more destructive.
  • The U.S. has yielded leadership in the fight against ISIS to Iran, our greatest enemy in the Middle East.
  • Negotiating a nuclear treaty at this time with Iran has been alarming to Israel and all Sunni countries in the region. Also, negotiations continue as mass demonstrations led by the chief Ayatollah include chants of “Death to America.”
  • The plight of 6 million Arabs who have been dislocated or have become refugees is not even on the president’s agenda. Many Americans believe that epic instances of humanitarian strife are justification for the use of extraordinary force.
  • The Shiite/Sunni feud in Iraq has not been defused by American diplomacy. Sunnis have not and will not be at the negotiating table in post-ISIS Iraq. The result will be yet another civil war.
  • The murderous Bashar al-Assad of Syria has been given a reprieve despite hundreds of thousands of deaths and other crimes against humanity. The latest is the use of chlorine gas against his opponents.
  • The president still refuses to acknowledge the role of “Islamic” radicals in global terrorism. It’s not just semantics; it’s an important issue.
  • The American coalition has been benign and ineffective. Arabs have the most to lose. Yet Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran have played relatively minor roles until this time. Why hasn’t the U.S. been able to encourage more support from these nations?
  • Obama took troops out of Iraq prematurely enabling ISIS to flourish will little resistance.
  • The president has not worked to create a consensus in his government for actions he has taken in the war with ISIS. For the first time in many years, Congress has openly expressed skepticism regarding a sitting president’s ability to prosecute a war.

Historians will not treat this president with any admiration. He has become a lone wolf in his own country.

Should Americans Worry About Radical Islamists And ISIS?

By Sal Bommarito

Is it important for Americans to focus on the developing events in the Middle East and specifically the efforts of ISIS to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria? The answer is yes.

The most critical issue is the threat of terrorism spreading to the U.S. and other western countries. The religious fanatics who encourage violence, among other things, want to kill “non-believers.” Unfortunately, this call to arms means that if you worship God in a manner that is not prescribed by the Koran (the terrorist interpretation of it), you are a target.

If a large percentage of Islamists adopt this philosophy, up to 1.6 billion of them could go to war with Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. And, fellow Muslims who interpret the Koran differently or who are of a different sect (Shiite versus Sunni) are also at risk. So, over a billion could be planning jihad against the other 5 billion in the world.

Of course, this analysis assumes every Muslim is a fanatic, which is absurd. In fact, most say that only a small number of Islamists want to kill others who are not Muslim. But, the number could be growing in response to worsening socioeconomic conditions affecting Muslims and the drama associated with ISIS.

ISIS, for all it obvious faults and warped perspectives, gives the downtrodden and religious fanatics a false sense of hope. Disenfranchised people want to be part of a revolution, or a winning team, that supports their personal beliefs and gives them hope of a better life. It is a false hope because ISIS does not have the resources or the firepower to sustain a caliphate much less a new nation.

From an American’s perspective, the damage that ISIS can do is significant. The chaos in the Middle East could eventually impact our lives. The obvious possibility is a massive terrorist strike undertaken by so called lone wolves. Jihadism cannot destroy America, but its violent members could disrupt us dramatically. If you live in the U.S., consider what you were feeling on the day that jets smashed into the World Trade Center towers.

Additionally, in defense of freedom and for the protection of the strategic assets domiciled in the Middle East, the U.S. will likely be sending its soldiers to the region and spending billions for military operation and assistance. Unfortunately, being swept deeper into the ISIS conflict and dabbling in a new nation-building escapade is always possible. Besides putting our young people in harm’s way, the U.S. may need to expend precious resources in a place several thousand miles away, rather than on domestic priorities.

So, should Americans be concerned about ISIS, terrorism, jihadists, the plight of Israel (our most important ally), and the security of oil reserves in the region. Damn right we should.

Land Mines, Suicide Bombers And Snipers Slow Down Iraqi Offensive In Tikrit

By Sal Bommarito

The promising offensive against a few hundred ISIS fighters embedded in Tikrit has slowed dramatically. Iraqi troops, totaling 20,000 and consisting of mostly Shiite militiamen, have not been able to root out the insurgents who are protected by land mines, suicide bombers and snipers. The Wall Street Journal reported the story titled “Iraq’s Tikrit Offensive Slows” on March 20.

Tikrit is located 87 miles northwest of Baghdad. This battle is seen as a test for Iraqi government forces prior to an expected assault on Mosul, the unofficial capital of the Islamic State, later in the year. The Tikrit hostilities are noteworthy because they are taking place “without the benefit of U.S. airstrikes or help from Kurdish fighters.”

The head of the local tribal council said “the commanders [of the Iraqi Army] are reevaluating the situation . . . [and] how to break into the city with minimal casualties.” This individual estimated that there were “6,500 improvised explosive devices in downtown Tikrit.”

It will be interesting to observe the response of the Iraqi leaders and their Iranian advisors to the resistance. As previously reported, the latter has provided rockets to the Iraqis, which could be used to level Tikrit, but would kill both insurgents and innocent Sunnis. This action would substantially decrease Iraqi casualties. The situation is likely to be repeated over and again in the future as other cities held by ISIS are challenged.

Equally important is the U.S engagement. Why would the Iraqis shun help from the U.S.? Presumably, the Iranians have insisted that the Iraqis keep the U.S. on the sidelines in a political power play.

A Nuclear Deal With Iran Is Opposed By Congress, Sunni Arabs And Israel

By Sal Bommarito

A Wall Street Journal opinion piece today, titled “ObamaCare for Arms Control” by Daniel Henninger, excoriates the efforts of the Obama administration to sign an Iranian nuclear treaty without the support of Congress and the political opposition. The author claims that the initiative will not persevere without buy-in by the electorate represented by a vast majority of our elected lawmakers.

The author goes on to compare the tactics being used now by the president to those used in the enactment of Obamacare. “Just as ObamaCare was a massive entitlement program enacted with no Republicans support (unlike Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), [Obama] is bypassing a traditional vote in the Senate.” The article indicates, “[An Iran nuclear deal] is going to be another ObamaCare, a poorly designed mega-project others will have to clean up later.”

The Senate is not sitting on its hands; it is working in a bipartisan manner to repel Obama’s ploy to bypass its constitutional responsibilities. “The heavily bipartisan Corker-Menendez bill, which would require the [Iran deal] to be submitted to Congress and which the White House has denounced, is a few votes away from a veto-proof majority.” It is inconceivable that a U.S. president would eschew his Congress and his own political party in this manner.

The president is attempting to “find” support by “substituting the judgment of the [United Nations] Security Council . . . for the consent from the U.S. Senate.” Keep in mind that the Security Council includes China and Russia, not exactly close allies of America.

The response from Sunni Arabs has been overwhelming against any deal with the Shiite-led government of Iran. The Saudi’s have indicated that it and its Sunni partners will demand the same nuclear accommodations as Iran. That means that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and the UAE could become nuclear. In the pressure cooker known as the Middle East, does the world want random counties with nuclear capabilities?

The author is critical of Obama’s “modus operandi.” He says that Obama “[structures] the issue as a choice between what he wants to do and an unacceptable extreme . . . With Iran, it’s Mr. Obama’s deal or a ‘rush to war.’”

According to the article, “political damage” has been inflicted on the “traditional relationships” between the presidency and those that the administration has “marginalized” (Congress).

The world does not need another rogue nuclear state. Incidentally, Israel will have much more to say about the nuclear negotiations, as they proceed. The question is, why is the president so anxious to arm Iran, our sworn enemy? Ego, arrogance and legacy must have something to do with the administration’s illogical adventure with Iran and his continuing attitude towards Congress.

The Middle East After ISIS Is Defeated

By Sal Bommarito

The Middle East’s political landscape is becoming a bit clearer every day. Unfortunately, the future is bleak for the region.

The backseat role of the U.S relating to current affairs leaves the destiny of the Middle East in the hands of current Arab leaders. This assumes a political status quo on the heels of the Arab Spring, the ultimate dissipation of ISIS and continuing insurgency by both Shiite and Sunni factions.

The apparent victory of Bibi Netanyahu foretells an uncomfortable stagnation of peace plan efforts dealing with the plight the Palestinians. Netanyahu said there would be no two-state deal for Palestine. This promise effectively guarantees the flow of venom between Arabs and the State of Israel for the foreseeable future.

The most important issue is what might transpire in the final days of ISIS. Frankly, the unorganized and murderous group of rebels deserves credit for surviving as long as it has. The tepid response of the U.S. and countries in the region enabled ISIS to thrive. But, the insurgents do not have the firepower to expand beyond Sunni neighborhoods in Iraq and Syria.

Stepping across borders into Turkey, Iran or Jordan will be a fruitless exercise. ISIS will be fortunate to retain the land it has already absconded. Nevertheless, it will not be a cakewalk to unearth ISIS in places that it has embedded itself. Current offensives by Iraq in places like Tikrit prove that a coordinated ground force initiative can be effective against the insurgents.

However, the final pushes into cities with large civilian populations will be bloody, for ISIS in any case, but also for innocent bystanders. The question is whether Iraq with encouragement from Iran will destroy cities held by ISIS with rockets that Iran has already provided to Iraq. Leveling cities populated by Sunnis will not endear Iraq to Sunni Arabs and could cause a great sectarian backlash.

There are several givens from my perspective. ISIS will likely be defeated in Iraq and Syria. But, its influence over disenfranchised rebel groups around the world could be problematic. Imported and exported terrorism is likely to increase.

Iran is the new gorilla in the region. If it is able to develop a nuclear weapon, the entire political landscape of the area will change dramatically. Even without a nuke, Iran is proving that it can and will be helpful to Shiite regimes, such as Iraq. The cost of its aid will be great influence over those countries prospectively.

Sectarian violence will envelope the region post-ISIS. Iran will accelerate its efforts to destabilize Sunni governments, and Saudi Arabia will respond in kind to thwart Shiite nations. Murderous actions, suicide bombing and political gamesmanship will be prevalent.

Several other powder kegs could also create unrest and more violence. They include the efforts of Turkey to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state. Another is the fate of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Most Arab nations want him dethroned. The downward spiral of the price of oil could create economic and political stress among Arab oil producing nations that might threaten existing regimes, especially Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The outlook for the Middle East is great turmoil, destabilization and discontentment.

Future Sectarian Violence Is Dependent Upon Iraq’s Use Of Force In Tikrit

By Sal Bommarito

The New York Times reported that the impending assault on Tikrit in a Sunni-dominated area of Iraq could be coming to a dramatic conclusion in the next few days. During this encounter, Iran has become a powerful benefactor of Iraq providing soldiers, intelligence and, most recently, rockets that may be deployed in the battle with ISIS.

The current standoff at Tikrit is a saga that will likely be repeated time and again as the 30,000 man Iraqi army continues to recapture land absconded by ISIS. Important issues are that the force consists almost exclusively of Shiites that are attacking ISIS in areas dominated by Sunnis, and the use of rockets to liberate Tikrit could result in many civilian casualties and massive property damage.

These controversies relate to the ongoing debate about what methods Iraq will employ to root out ISIS. The cost of this process could be very high depending upon the amount of force Iraq (and Iran) utilizes, and the determination of ISIS as they fortify their positions among innocent bystanders.

Ground forces are finally in play and resulting in some success; the U.S is providing none. These fighters will need to enter the city and engage the enemy door-to-door. Alternatively, the Shiite government fighting force may opt to use rockets and heavy artillery, which will kill ISIS insurgents and decrease its own casualties. But, this tactic will result in the destruction of Tikrit and the deaths of many Sunnis living in it.

President Obama does not want to engage ISIS with U.S. ground forces, nor does he wish to conduct bombing sorties that result in collateral damage. These decisions have enabled ISIS to survive to this point. The Iraqis and Iranians could change the state of play, but it may be at a huge cost.

Sectarian violence will increase if innocent Sunnis are slaughtered. A backlash is probable in Iraq and from neighboring Sunni-Arab nations. Collateral damage could be interpreted as a form of genocide to increase Shiite control in Iraq in the post-ISIS era. Moreover, the influence of Iran in Iraqi affairs will grow exponentially. It will be the ultimate cost of Iran’s aid in the fight with ISIS, a role that most people believed the U.S. would play.

This dilemma is symptomatic of the complexity of the ISIS imbroglio. The U.S. wants to defeat ISIS but is unwilling to deliver the firepower necessary to accomplish this end. Iran also wants to kill off ISIS and has joined Iraq on the ground while providing rocket armaments.

The response to the Iraq/Iran battle tactics could have a lasting impact on the sectarian rift in Iraq. It appears that the U.S. will be sitting on the sidelines as this all plays out.

A Dearth Of Leadership In America

By Sal Bommarito

A disturbing phenomenon is occurring in the United States. The country is experiencing a dearth of leadership at all levels of government. Self-aggrandizement and partisanship has replaced a desire to improve the lives of Americans.

To paraphrase an old expression, you’ll know a leader when you see him or her. You know a person is special because he is able to organize things and get stuff done in the midst of confusion, hysteria, terror or gloom. Leaders save us from evil, enemies and Mother Nature.

American history is rife with examples of great leaders. They are men and women who accomplished much under adverse conditions. They won wars, saved millions in peril and led reconstruction after political or natural disasters. Very few of us will ever have an opportunity to lead a nation or even a large business, but the best among us must be prepared to assume responsibility if the need arises. And so, we should look back to identify characteristics that are affiliated with our great leaders.

Unfortunately, leadership in the greatest country in the world in the 21st Century has been elusive. Our nation has had more than its share of ordeals to inspire greatness, but it’s difficult to name many individuals who successfully met the challenges.

There would be little agreement in any effort to name current leaders that inspire us. Mustering a consensus on any issue is nearly impossible in these times. But, who are the candidates that would be nominated as great leaders? I’d bet President Barack Obama would be on many lists.

Obama’s supporters would point out that he killed Osama bin Laden. Actually, the president watched the assassination of the Al Qaeda terrorist on closed circuit TV in the basement of the White House. And, it should be noted that George W. Bush was responsible for the process that ultimately led to the death of the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks long before Obama was on the scene.

Obama supporters would indicate that he was responsible for providing health care to millions of Americans who could not afford it. The president’s impetuous and partisan style along with an inadequate grasp of the issues (and poor drafting of documents) from the outset resulted in a significant legal challenge, which could bring down the program a few months from now. Moreover, many of the newly insured are those who signed up with Medicaid, which was expanded to include more people at no cost. Obamacare is nothing more than a new entitlement whose objectives could have been accomplished with existing programs and without unnecessary fanfare and monumental costs.

Obama friends would say he is a “wartime president,” even though he won election in part based upon his promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, the rapid drawdown of troops was at least partially responsible for the evolution of ISIS. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is as strong as ever. In both countries, Al Qaeda has survived in one form or another. Remember, Obama said the insurgents were destroyed.

Globally, the reputation of the U.S. has diminished under Obama’s leadership, much to the chagrin of his supporters. Even our closest ally, Israel, has been disappointed and disillusioned by inconsistent and indecisive diplomacy. America is no longer a reliable ally in the eyes of many.

The most distressful situation is the war against ISIS in which the president has ceded leadership to Iran. For months, his response to the threat of ISIS has been tepid, at best. By not engaging the murders adequately, he is responsible for allowing the terrorist phenomenon to blossom.

African Americans and Millennials were a principal source of support for Obama in both of his elections. The plight of these two groups during the president’s tenure has been totally unsatisfying and bleak. More people in these groups are on welfare and without jobs than ever. Young people continue to find it difficult to obtain positions that are commensurate with their education, and their student debt is at the highest level ever.

Throughout history, the battles between the majority and minority in government have been epic, but they are dwarfed by the current situation in Washington. From the minute he was elected president, Obama chose to disenfranchise conservatives. He set the stage for dramatic and often unnecessary obstructionism from his opponents. The fact is that Republicans have been counter-punching for six years.

Further, Obama’s tact has been to demonize the most successful in the country by encouraging class warfare. His brand of populism has in effect greatly expanded the group that is totally dependent upon the state. Instead of stressing prosperity where all boats rise, the president has been on a crusade to take from the rich and give to the poor, forever. So now, America must contend with ISIS and terrorists, while at home the majority and the minority fight for political power, cops and blacks do battle in the streets of Ferguson and rich and poor are engaged in a heated debate about income redistribution.

I continue to look towards Washington hoping that a leader will emerge from the rubble of the past six years. Maybe in 2016, America will elect a competent leader who can guide us through the negativity in the country and the world. What I hope more than anything else is that the next president is more engaging than the current one.