Labor Day OPEN THREAD- Obama's Problems on ISIS Crisis: Analysis Paralysis, Decidophobia and Pivot Bigot


Maybe Lucy is right about Obama at the 1:33 mark, maybe he as Pantiphobia: The Fear of Everything!

Clearly everyone was anxiously awaiting to hear what the president’s plan to defeat ISIS was in his presser on Thursday. What we didn’t expect to hear were his now-famous six words that were heard around the world in less than 60 seconds: “We don’t have a strategy yet”.

Obviously he didn’t have a strategy to even hold a presser and did more damage than had he just gone golfing! And really, that expression he used of not putting the cart before the horse, just isn’t accepted norm for the 21st century as he likes to say.

But seriously, the biggest question I have is why doesn’t he have a strategy yet? Maybe his strategy is to do exactly what Kerry said about Syria, “unbelievably, limited kind of effort” and ““very limited, very targeted, short-term effort.” Basically just enough to keep our personnel safe and nothing more. After all, it was just nine short months ago that he characterized ISIS as a JV team. Another speak-o I bet he wished he could take back.

But his comments directly after the JV remark in that New Yorker interview was more telling about his thought process that guides his policies here and abroad and is more dangerous. Think community organizer. He sees the Sunnis as an aggrieved minority that has every right to lash out at it’s oppressor, that being Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and the Shiite government. And he talks about ISIS as a law enforcement issue to control the local thugs in the neighborhood, like Holder, instead of a global terrorist threat.

“I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.“Let’s just keep in mind, Falluja is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”

He went on, “You have a schism between Sunni and Shia throughout the region that is profound. Some of it is directed or abetted by states who are in contests for power there. You have failed states that are just dysfunctional, and various warlords and thugs and criminals are trying to gain leverage or a foothold so that they can control resources, populations, territory. . . . And failed states, conflict, refugees, displacement—all that stuff has an impact on our long-term security. But how we approach those problems and the resources that we direct toward those problems is not going to be exactly the same as how we think about a transnational network of operatives who want to blow up the World Trade Center. We have to be able to distinguish between these problems analytically, so that we’re not using a pliers where we need a hammer, or we’re not using a battalion when what we should be doing is partnering with the local government to train their police force more effectively, improve their intelligence capacities.”

The truth is Obama and his admin were warned about ISIS as early as 2012 and The New Yorker interview was around the end of November of last year. In fact, the Iraqi government was begging for drone strikes on ISIS camps since last August. So why did he act like the growth of ISIS came as a surprise? Well he does lie but I think it goes deeper. Let’s analyze this man.

Analysis Paralysis

It’s a syndrome when your mind is so full of what MIGHT happen that you can’t think past those possibilities to make your decision. Analysis paralysis happens when you spend too much time analyzing that information and second-guessing all those possibilities… when you literally can’t make a decision because that excess of information actually prevents you from moving forward.

There is no doubt that Obama suffers from this. He even said as much in the quote above and again in the same New Yorker interview regarding his inaction on Syria:

“It’s not as if we didn’t discuss this extensively down in the Situation Room. It’s not as if we did not solicit—and continue to solicit—opinions from a wide range of folks. Very early in this process, I actually asked the C.I.A. to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn’t come up with much. We have looked at this from every angle. And the truth is that the challenge there has been, and continues to be, that you have an authoritarian, brutal government who is willing to do anything to hang on to power, and you have an opposition that is disorganized, ill-equipped, ill-trained, and is self-divided. All of that is on top of some of the sectarian divisions. . . . And, in that environment, our best chance of seeing a decent outcome at this point is to work the state actors who have invested so much in keeping Assad in power—mainly the Iranians and the Russians—as well as working with those who have been financing the opposition to make sure that they’re not creating the kind of extremist force that we saw emerge out of Afghanistan when we were financing the mujahideen.”


This fear of decision making termed decidophobia may be rooted in a person’s fear of being responsible for another person. This is especially true for people who had an experience being a leader in a group which for example led to group failure.

This fear is also associated with poor self-esteem and these people will be contented just following other people’s orders even if they know that their plan is better than them. They are very good followers but lousy leaders.

People with this phobia will tend to rely on other people for their decision-making and they will usually rely on people who are in authority such as their parents, teacher, or boss.

Hmm. Just about a year ago today, Obama decided not to go alone on bombing Syria and punted to Congress after bragging he had the authority. But when he read the political winds, he wanted cover. This is a habit of his when he doesn’t want sole responsibility for a tough decision. Yes, he has a fear of making a decision, at least a timely one when it requires expediency on issues of national security. He likes to consult endlessly and then marinate for months on his options before making a decision, which he may alter mid-stream if it suits him politically. Don’t forget that it took him 6 long months to say yes to killing Bin Laden! But he’s quick to way in on local race issues like Cambridge and Ferguson, that are real local police issues.

Pivot Bigot

The unwillingness to change course when and if the current position doesn’t produce the desired results. This is acute especially when one is forced to eat crow after being proven wrong and therefore becomes more obstinate.

Ok, I made this one up. But clearly he is afflicted by it as we’ve seen repeatedly. Iraq and ISIS is the perfect example where he said it was Bush’s dumb war and he ended it, thus he can’t even fathom going back in to destroy ISIS. He would have to pivot from al-Qaeda is on the run and the world is a safer place, to putting boots on the ground to defeat this newest threat. He said Assad must go so bombing ISIS in Syria would be a change in his strategy that he just can’t abide by regardless of our national interests.

Now he will pivot if it helps him and his Party politically. Recall he withdrew his request for Congress to authorize Syria strikes since he didn’t have the votes, but didn’t want to put his Party on record. And now he may be putting his pen and phone back in his pocket on his immigration EO after getting an earful from red state Democratic Senators.

Maybe he refuses to pivot on a major issue because he exerted so much energy during his analysis paralysis that he decides not to revisit his final decision, so it’s final and that’s that.

Go ahead, have some fun and do your best psychiatric impersonation to shrink Obama. Or talk about whatever  you want in this Open Thread. Happy Labor Day and don’t think too hard on your day off!

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