Thursday, August 29, 2013

Banging The War Drums: Trying To Rescue Obama From His Own Rhetoric

Family Concerned As John McCain Wanders Into Syria...The Onion

  • If there is lesson learned about the difference between Bush and Obama, one can't criticize Bush for ever being spineless. One can certainly criticize Obama for dithering and pursuing a policy of "leading from behind" that has left his foreign policy in shambles as evidenced recently with Egypt and shattered relationship with Russia (You can refer to my piece on August 5, 2013: "The Other Obama Administration's Big Failure: Foreign Policy."). Whatever your criticism if of the Bush war era, for those with short memories, he had the approval of 64% of Americans to go into Iraq (higher for going into Afghanistan). Today, according to current polls, 60% of Americans oppose going into Syria and only 9% support military action (Reuters). And contrary to what the media and other critics said of Bush, he had authorization from Congress (including many Democrats), from the UN and support of a coalition of 36 countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

  • So whatever your opinion is of what we should do with Syria, one fact has emerged that puts the dilemma the Obama administration is facing into perspective: "The key problem facing Obama on Syria is...President Obama." That claim was made by John Podhoretz today. In other words, while President Obama spent his time apologizing and bowing to foreign leaders early in his presidency, much of a world full of maniac dictators felt they had the green light to begin massacring their own people.
  • Another problem facing the administration is rescuing the president from his own rhetoric. Last August, the president said, "A red line for us {in Syria} is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized." The rhetoric was sloppy. What the hell does "whole bunch" mean anyway?  But that language is totally in line with this president's history of empty oratory as clearly evidence in the debates surrounding ObamaCare today. As George Will pointed out recently, "Obama is as dismissive of red lines as he is of laws others enact."
  • We do know this---from his previous actions in foreign policy---Obama's decisions have been followed by disasters as we've recently seen in Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood. In the case of Syria, we've now seen Russia take sides---with Syria.
  • Perhaps the NY Post editorial wrote it best: "One year after he drew it. Obama's redline has become Assad's green light."