Monday, September 2, 2013

President Obama and Syria

You know you’re in trouble when your only ally is the French.  It’s hard to know where to start with this fiasco of a foreign policy.  But let’s start at the beginning; open mouth, insert foot, close mouth.  About a year ago the president drew a red line regarding the use of chemical weapons.  And now Assad has called his bluff. 

There’s no doubt that Assad ordered this chemical attack, and ordered it for a reason.  He’s not stupid.  Only a trained military could have executed this attack the way it was done; early in the morning when winds are down and the temperature cool to keep the gas from moving too much.  The rebels don’t have the weapons or the training to do this.  And the goal has been achieved; he’s scared ALL the people and the opposition who don’t have the means to protect them-selves.  He’s truly diabolical.
But the actions of the president the last couple of weeks have been incredible if not bizarre.  After promising action he does nothing.  He then transmits our intentions in detail so Assad can take corrective actions to ameliorate the potential impact.  Our foremost ally, Britain, has demurred (although I don’t know why, what were they going to do?  Applaud?).  And now he’s taken a page from their playbook and ostensibly our own Constitution (he alternately refers to and ignores this document when it’s to his advantage) to ask Congress for approval.  Why, because deep down he really doesn’t want to do it and doesn’t want to take the blame?  No, I think not.  He just doesn’t want to do this alone.  Not even the Sunni Arabs want to support yet another American military adventure in the Middle East, even when it’s to their collective advantage. 

So how will this vote go?  In Congress there are the far left Democrats and the nascent libertarian Republican movement that are both fiercely anti-war.  Add to that the mainstream Republicans who will vote against ANY legislation that helps this president and I think that means this will be a very close vote.  And my anecdotal guess is the vote will be to NOT support military action.  Also, this vote will NOT be along party lines and ironically could actually be a good thing for Congress.  Perhaps this vote will be the first plank in a bridge to bi-partisanship….OK, forget I just said that….silly me.  Bi-partisanship is highly overrated anyway.

A no vote would be a good thing.  It will not be taken well by the rebels in Syria but there are many factions in that movement that have Al Qaeda and/or Islamist sympathies.  I’m not too excited about seeing another radical Islamist state in the Middle East.  But then Assad is aligned with Russia and Iran, a radical Islamist state so perhaps it matters not who controls Syria.  And if it matters not which side runs Syria, what’s the point, American prestige?  What prestige?  Iraq is not much better than before our invasion and I’ll bet you my next paycheck that the Taliban is running Afghanistan in 5 years.  We’ll surely kill some civilians with this attack and America will be blamed for killing more Muslims.  If we do nothing we can only be accused of allowing deaths to occur which, while bad, is not as bad as ACTUALLY killing people.

Our enemies are killing each other.  What’s not to like?  Pull up a chair, pop some popcorn.  Put your feet up.

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