Slowing the Islamic State's advances "shows that we have been successful with the easier, first stage," said Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution. "The hard part, as predicted, is taking territory back. Air power can't, won't do it."
"By contrast, I think by now President Obama is focused on a clear and present threat. He's past his elections, just like President Bush is," Mr. O'Hanlon said. "Of course, politics never goes away, and the Obama legacy will be fair game in the midterms and the 2016 presidential race. But I think that, at this point at least, the range of options Mr. Obama will consider says more about his worldview than about his fixation on his predecessor."