This can't be the headline and lede Team Obama hoped to see at the NY Times:
Obama’s Call at U.N. to Fight ISIS With Ideas Is Largely Seen as Futile
UNITED NATIONS — President Obama called upon a conclave of world leaders on Tuesday to fight violent extremism not just with weapons but with ideas, jobs and good governance, a strategy he has long advocated. There are few signs that it is succeeding.
“This means defeating their ideology,” he said. “Ideologies are not defeated with guns. They are defeated by better ideas — a more attractive and compelling vision.”
Hmm. I infer there were no follow-up questions asking Obama to detail the better ideas that defeated Hitler. For my money it was a combination of guns, Stalinism, and the democratic vision of the Western leaders, but two of those are not on Obama's little list. I hope.
And since the West lost China to Mao and Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh, does that suggest to Obama that communism is superior to Western democratic ideals? Just asking (Yeah, I agree - why ask?).
Finally, and with respect to ISIS, Obama is in the grip of a fundamental misperception. ISIS is not participating in some sort of an electoral contest in which competing sides are trying to cobble together a coalition that can attract 51% of the vote. My goodness - ISIS releases recruiting videos in which prisoners are beheaded en masse or burned alive. That is not an attempt to appeal to a mass market.
So while Obama tries to present his better governance ideas that may attract popular support from 50% or 60% or 70% of a population, ISIS is trying to recruit the 1 percenters intent on joining the craziest, baddest asses on the planet. And what sort of recruiting numbers might the ISIS approach produce?
If there are a billion Muslims worldwide then let's say there are 500 million men, maybe 50 million of whom are of military age. If one tenth of one percent join ISIS, that is 50,000 recruits. What are the odds that there are 50,000 angry, disaffected Muslim men in the world? What are the odds that Obama will craft a message that wins the hearts and minds of 99.99% of its target audience, thereby draining the ISIS recruiting pool? High school girls are joining ISIS from England - does Obama imagine that this is a cry for reforms to their National Health Service? Were the three girls who left Denver to join ISIS just frustrated Hillary supporters?
The Times includes this telling detail:
Even Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. acknowledged in a candid moment when he arrived in New York that little would come of Tuesday’s meeting. He asked a group of reporters who were following him if they would stay awake at the United Nations meeting and “30 speeches about how we’re going to go after ISIS.”
When you've lost Joe...
A large group of well-intended people without guns can be subdued by a small group of crazies with guns. Is this really news to Obama?