The Business Times

San Bernardino: The battle of the narratives

Despite fresh criticism of his stance on ISIS, Obama hasn't proposed new policies to deal with the terror outfit

Published Tue, Dec 8, 2015 · 09:50 PM
Share this article.

THE American people feel a sense of vulnerability in the face of the threat of terrorism. Their president is criticised for not showing resolve in responding to violent radical Islamists. The pressure grows in Washington to deploy troops to the Middle East. And some Americans are even admitting that they miss the much-maligned former president George W Bush. He may not have been the smartest guy in the room but, hey, he had some guts.

This was not how President Barack Obama had imagined his last months in office would be. He had entered office in 2009 pledging to be the Not-W by reversing his predecessor's entire national security agenda. Mr Bush had launched a global war on terrorism (GWOT). Mr Obama declared that America wasn't engaged in a GWOT any more. It would deal with terrorism in the same way it does with other criminal activities, by catching and punishing the lawbreakers.

Through unilateral military action and without any direct provocation, his Republican predecessor invaded Iraq and forced the United States into a costly military fiasco. Mr Obama would withdraw US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and use military force only as a last resort and in cooperation with other allies.

BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to



Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.


Browse corporate subscription here