by Mike Swetnam
In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait and the US assembled a global coalition of forces to repeal them. The US committed to put 500,000 troops on the ground if the rest of the world would contribute. Two dozen countries sent over 200,000 additional troops and the local governments paid for the entire war.
Today President Obama is asking the nations in the area of Iraq and around the world to send troops, boots on the ground, even as he says we will not send any.
There is a difference between leadership where one says come help me do this necessary deed and follower-ship where one says send your troops and I will support them with airpower.
We are once again leading from behind, or in other words trying to just be a follower. Maybe we should ask Putin to take on ISIL?
Like it or not, we are the only superpower in the world today. A sure way to change that is to act like we have no power or to abrogate the leadership role that the world expects from us. Asking others to send in troops when you are not willing to do so is doing something stupid. If your policy is to not do stupid stuff, this should not be your plan or strategy!
There is no question that the world will follow our lead when we chose to act like a leader and show commitment (like sending 500,000 troops). It should also not surprise us if the world ignores our call for a coalition when we will not commit our own forces to the cause.