President Obama is already being pilloried for his statement, made in a press conference earlier today, that 'we don't have a strategy yet' for combating ISIS. No strategy? This for a terrorist group that his own Defense Secretary described as 'an imminent threat to every interest we have...Oh, this is beyond anything that we’ve seen, so we must prepare for everything'.
Still, at least Obama has things in the right order: strategy first, then bombing. William Kristol, on the other hand, would prefer to just get started: 'What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens? I don’t think there’s much in the way of unanticipated side effects that are going to be bad there.' Kristol is a neo-conservative and leading foreign policy voice among Republicans.
It's a good thing Australian Defence Minister Senator David Johnston signaled on Wednesday evening that an Australian decision on whether to join US military action was not imminent:
I think the Americans and most of us would want to see a stable government in Baghdad. And that's not going to occur until 10th September when the new Prime Minister takes over. And if he's inclusive, I think that will make things a lot more visible, tangible and concrete going forward. So we're a long way from that.
As I said on Wednesday, before Australia commits military force, we first need a clear assessment of the threat and a plausible strategy for defeating that threat. Without that, we would essentially just be dropping bombs to 'see what happens'.