Obama’s do-nothing strategy on ISIS, Putin, is losing even senior Dems support

Image: AP
Image: AP

President Obama’s do-nothing “strategy” dealing with Syria, Islamic State group terror, and Russia is so ham-fisted that even Democrats are getting nervous.

Obama is hosting French President François Hollande at the White House Tuesday to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis, ISIS, and Russia’s role in Syria.  But he shouldn’t expect too much cooperation from Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to senior Democrats who normally parrot the president’s talking points.

“I don’t think the Russians can be trusted,” Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, said in a brief interview last week before lawmakers departed for the Thanksgiving recess, CQ Roll Call reported Tuesday. “I think Putin has shown his true colors, not only in Syria, but in Ukraine and Crimea and other places like that.”

Engel, a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added, “Putin says he’s going after ISIS, but from what we can see, he’s mainly going after the Free Syrian Army or the Kurds or remnants of the people on the ground fighting [Syrian President Bashar] Assad.”

Another senior Democrat, House Intelligence ranking member Adam Schiff, told CQ Roll Call, “There’s no trust there for the Russians, and nor should there be.”  Schiff explained that Putin has bombed “everyone but ISIS.”

Yet, Obama still thinks he can persuade Putin.  The president said last week at the ASEAN summit in Myanmar that Putin “needs to go after the people who killed Russia’s citizens,” referring to the downed Russian airliner in the Sinai, for which ISIS claimed responsibility.

Russia may make a better case to France’s Hollande for cooperation than Obama, according to some experts.  “Hollande seems to be more open than Obama to working with the Russians,” said former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, who served under President George W. Bush.

With Obama trying to sell his wishy-washy, deny-the facts approach to foreign leaders who see the problem more clearly, and with 47 House Democrats voting to limit accepting Syrian refugees, it appears the president has finally lost even his own party’s support.

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Steve Berman

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