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Saturday, October 22, 2016

In a wide-ranging interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick at the Clinton Global Initiative, former president Bill Clinton endorsed the Obama administration’s decision to bomb Islamic State encampments in Syria today. Clinton said “an extended involvement with air power, intelligence, and other institutional support to the people fighting ISIS” has “a chance to succeed” without sending American troops into “a land war.” But, he added, the conflict “will be going on a while.”

For President Obama’s strategy to succeed, however, both Iraq and Syria “need more inclusive governments” that are “more like Lebanon, of all places.” He compared Obama’s strategy to the “surge” in Iraq, which worked, according to Clinton, because Sunni tribal leaders “fought for the integrity of their country.” But when Quick asked how President Obama should deal with the Syrian regime, Clinton laughingly demurred, “That’s above my pay grade.”

Recalling the rapid growth in median income during his own administration, Quick asked the former president why most families have seen their incomes stagnate during the current recovery, despite a booming stock market: “What is missing?”

Clinton instantly responded, “We haven’t raised the minimum wage. I hope we will.” He went on to say that the U.S. economy needs a different mix of jobs, with new sources of employment that offer higher wages than today’s median. American companies, he said, should start spending more on employee compensation and less on stock buybacks and other corporate financial gimmicks. He noted the Market Basket controversy in New England, where the owners were forced to rehire a CEO who had focused on employee and customer satisfaction rather than stock prices. “The customers loved it, so they had to bring him back.” He predicted that more and more corporations would eventually behave as if employees, customers, and communities matter more, “because of proof that markets work better that way.”

President Obama is scheduled to address the CGI luncheon meeting this afternoon.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Dominick Vila

    President Obama’s measured approach to contain the expansion of ISIS can succeed, not only because targeting ISIS facilities and terrorist groups are bound to inflict serious physical damage on the organization, but because our commitment resulted in key allies in the region, threatened by ISIS, joining us without threats such as “you are either with us or you are against us”. Their decision to get involved is a change in attitude that cannot be ignored, and that can have serious consequences throughout that troubled part of the world.

    • Bill Thompson

      Bombs alone will not win this struggle. The key part is isolating and eliminating their funding at this point which is their greatest strength. Isis presently controls large portions of Iraqi oil fields and is being permitted to sell it on the market. There lies the conundrum reduce oil supplies to Europe or reduce funding to Isis. Once again it is about the oil.

      • Dominick Vila

        Eliminating their funding sources is, indeed, one of the most effective ways to defeat organizations such as ISIS. Much of their funding comes from the sale of oil to countries like China and some European nations, and as long as those countries continue to buy what ISIS is selling it will be very difficult to end the threat this organization represents to the West and to moderate countries in the region. Another source of income involves collecting ransom for the release of foreigners held captive.
        The part of this issue that worries me the most is the willingness of so many Westerners, including Americans, to join this terrorist organization.
        Many of these “domestic jihadists” are a real threat to our security, which is why the administration has put law enforcement on alert, and the reason for security agencies trying to identify these criminals.

  • Chas1356

    Oh, I just can’t tell you how relieved I am that Bill Clinton officially declared that Obama’s ISIS (or is it ISIL) strategy will work. Clinton’s nod of approval is all I need to sleep well tonight.

    And BTW, in my town Fred, the car mechanic; Linda, the dry cleaner; Sam, the painter;, and Margie who works in the bakery also believe Obama’s plan will work. I wonder why they were not interviewed by NBC?