President Obama’s critics charge that he’s never developed a strategy to defeat terrorism, the weapon of choice for those waging what they call a global jihad. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the journalist whose ear Mr. Obama most likes to bend, says that’s wrong — that the president does have a strategy. “He is, after all, killing jihadists at a frenetic pace.”
First, it’s really not clear that Mr. Obama is engaged in anything more than a less-than-successful holding action against the Islamic State, al Qaeda, the Taliban and similar adversaries. Second, killing — at whatever pace is a tactic, not a strategy. Third and perhaps most important: There are Sunni jihadists and Shia jihadists and both utilize terrorism. What is Mr. Obama doing about the Shia jihadists? He’s rewarding and enriching them.
To be fair, that may be a strategy, or at least part of one. It’s based on a set of assumptions, all of which I’d call dubious, e.g. that the Islamic Republic of Iran has “legitimate grievances” that deserve to be addressed; that Iran’s theocrats, like us, seek compromise; that they, like us, favor “conflict resolution” through diplomacy and regard violence as a last resort.