The Obama Administration is truly showing American leadership with airstrikes on Islamic State targets and its efforts to form a coalition of partners to combat the threat of the terrorist group as Arab League members are formally recognizing they have a responsibility in protecting their national security interests and Iraq makes progress on forming a government. It appears our world leaders are actually trying solve a crisis. We must, of course, question if the cooperation materializing, in ways this writer has promoted, will lead to the realization that the Islamic State is not the only threat in the Middle East that must be confronted by an international coalition. That said, news of renewed international problem-solving efforts built on the pursuit of mutual national interests certainly helps rebuild faith in our governing institutions.
Unfortunately, the international effort to take on the Islamic State appears to be making more progress than efforts at home to deal with America’s problems. Acting outraged and shocked by the Obama Administration’s decision to delay taking Executive action on illegal immigration due to the upcoming mid-term elections after pledging to take action at the end of summer, pundits should have recognized politics had already halted progress while members of Congress have absolutely no right to criticize the Obama Administration for not stepping in to do their job. This mid-term election is not defined by national issues, thus voters are focused on their local interests while the President tackling immigration his way would only nationalize the election to the detriment of constituents needing representation on local issues. Frankly, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle should be having a conversation on illegal immigration during this election season, whether or not the President is doing so.
It is, however, curious how the Obama Administration can show leadership in the Middle East, yet not at home. Regrettably, it is often easier to deal with someone else’s problems than our own, because we can divorce ourselves from the emotion, stress, and complications of the situation in order to see a solution more clearly. As such, the unrelenting dysfunction of the US Congress, which is built on extremely divisive, angry partisan politics and personal grudges, makes it terribly difficult to work with members of Congress. Over the last few months to weeks, the governments of the Middle East have started to recognize the need for balance and cooperation while this shift in governing philosophy is resonating well with the Peoples of the Middle East who are weary of oppression and violence. In other words, it is possible to lead, because people see the value in proper governance, which means the Middle East is now more receptive to outside guidance/intervention and sensible arguments for taking action against the Islamic State
That said, a great deal of America’s dysfunctional governance also stems from a lack of faith in available solutions as well as government in general. Politicians rarely devise solutions to problems; they build policies based expert opinion and research. Unfortunately, the US has not seen a great deal of the novel thinking needed to address our mounting problems. Instead, our national leaders have been forced to use regurgitated solutions that have had both successes and failures in the past. The implication of this reality is a lack of trust in these solutions by various parties, thus every solution on the table has both fans and critics who conflict when these solutions are adapted to solve novel problems that they may or may not be able to properly address. Consequently, America’s political dysfunction and lack of domestic leadership requires some faith building. This can only be accomplished by building novel- solutions to public policy issues based on open-discussions designed to explore the uncharted realities and novel issues we face in our brave new world. Moreover, the leadership and cooperation being seen over the Islamic State threat needs to be seen when it comes to other international crises as well as domestic issues.
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