State Department Says “Core Coalition” Thrown Together Without “Rhyme or Reason”

Indifferent employment of language, especially when a government bureaucrat is desperately seeking a way out of an interrogative bind, is a real problem in the world. It contributes, along with the utterly obtuse use of words on the internet, to the general antipathy to any deep (or any) understanding of an issue. On the other hand, there is always the possibility that State Department Deputy spokesperson Marie Harf completely fucked up yesterday and said precisely what she thought to be the truth—that there is no "rhyme or reason" to the choice of nations in Obama's hastily organized "Core Coalition".
Perhaps this just comes down to State Department deputy, Marie Harf, not understanding the meaning of the phrase “without rhyme or reason” (i.e., "without logical explanation or reason").

Because, when asked about how Barack Obama chose the nations that have been called the “Core Coalition” (of Obama’s war against Islamic State), State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf pushed back against the idea that the list of nations represented any sort of design or plan (especially one that could be held against the President).

Harf pointed out, in a Friday press briefing, that the meeting to choose the countries in the Core Coalition came about in an unofficial, ad hoc, process at this week's Nato summit:
“This was a meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit. There’s not a specific rhyme or reason why these countries were included.”
This remarkable admission came in response to the accusation, made by AP Diplomatic Correspondent Matthew Lee, that the President’s Core Coalition did not seem to measure up, even to George W. Bush’s Coalition of the Willing, especially not in numbers.

Seeing that the Core Coalition was in deep danger of falling into some kind of meme trap, which it already was at risk for doing (Common Core Coalition anyone?), Harf realized that she herself was trapped rhetorically.

If Harf alleged the Core Coalition was the product of deep reflection on the part of the President and his team of coalition builders, then the CC would be open to criticism in two areas:

1. There are only ten nations (counting the United States) in the Core Coalition, and some of them had already publicly asserted they will be sort of willing to support, in some fashion, Obama’s war against IS. So, there were only a few new nations added to the list. This hardly seems like a strong commitment from the world to face what Obama and his team claim is a "global threat" from Islamic State.

2. Despite Harf’s demand that the Core Coalition and Obama’s 2014 war have nothing to do whatsoever with George W. Bush’s Coalition of the Willing and his disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, the linkage is unavoidable, since the immense damage done to America's diplomatic relationships, even with its closest allies, by the Iraq War, has not been repaired. What little progress had been made on that front was damaged again this past year with the Snowden revelations showing widespread US spying on its allies and their leaders. Also, the list of Arab or Muslim nations in Obama’s coalition is just as notably short as it was with Bush’s. Obama claims he will be correcting this soon, as the expanded coalition, or whatever they call it, will attempt to include—publicly or secretly is a good question—Sunni Muslim nations. But any Sunni Muslim nation, such as Jordan for example, that decides to openly ally itself with the American campaign against Islamic State, is likely inviting a vigorous terrorist response, if not an outright and dangerous insurgency.

Alternatively, as Harf insisted, if the choice of nations in the Core Coalition has no logical basis and thus leaves no clue about the "rhyme" of the inclusion of any of the members, a reasonable question is why is this so?

In fact, Lee point this out, in response to Harf attempting to employ the "no rhyme or reason" defense a second time later in her remarks. That exchange went like this:
HARF: There’s no rhyme or—I will be clear.
LEE: Well, I hope there is some rhyme or reason to who [you're choosing].
HARF: Well, no. I would not read anything into it—
What Harf is trying to say in all this evasion is that she and Obama don't want reporters "reading anything" into the fact that when it came time to put together a quick list of nations that would publicly agree to be for degrading and destroying Islamic State, it was made up of the traditional close allies of the United States, like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and not nations whose public involvement might deflect the criticism that this is going to be another anti-Islamic Crusade of the infidel Americans. 

The one Muslim nation on Obama's Core, Turkey, is likely never going to be an open, active, player in attacking Islamic State. Indeed, one reason so many European and American recruits for IS have managed to get to Syria to join the fight for what is now the American enemy, is because they pass through the essentially unguarded border crossings between Turkey and Syria.

NOTE: See also today, "Obama's Undeclared War Against Islamic State Is Missing An Army"