Cross-posted from Antiwar
The President pledges "no combat troops" in Iraq.
The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, says he may recommend combat ground troops in the battle against ISIS.
The President, in a speech, reiterates "no ground troops," and "no combat troops."
So what is going on with the US government, and especially over at the Pentagon? Are they directly challenging the President -- who is then acting to quickly quash them? Sure looks like it.
Amid reports of a titanic battle within the Obama administration, the conflicting messages being put out there by various wings of the national security establishment remind us of the Empire's sheer size and the scale of the bureaucracy: it is large enough to constitute what are, in effect, competing governments -- a condition statists of every variety always told us was unworkable.
In short, when it comes to the making of American foreign policy what we have in Washington is what appears to be the functional definition of anarchy! And the libertarians haven't even taken over yet.
The mess that is the Obama plan for defeating ISIS perfectly illustrates the central dictum of what I call "libertarian realism" -- a theory of international relations that attributes foreign policy decision-making to primarily domestic political pressures, i.e., to the chief motivation of politicians everywhere, which is to maintain and expand their own power and their own term in office. The result is that US policy -- or, indeed, the foreign policy of any nation -- has little to do with facts on the ground, or how to utilize them to serve legitimate national interests. Instead, it's all about how to appease the various domestic pressure groups with a stake in the matter.