Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Foreign Policy As Politics - Following The Obama Example

Foreign policy, including the use of force, should always be based on national interests, not politics. Just a reminder, as we consider Obama's call to attack Syria because Assad violated Obama's redline and slaughtered over a thousand innocents, recall if you will how the left tried to legislate defeat of our nation during the Iraq War for purely political gain and irrespective of the consequences. This from James Taranto at WSJ:

In 2007 Obama asserted that American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq even if that would result in genocide:

"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now--where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife--which we haven't done," Mr. Obama told the AP. "We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven't done. Those of us who care about Darfur don't think it would be a good idea."

These past statements indict the president for hypocrisy, but they do not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. In his defense one might claim that his moral sensibility has matured over the past six years. Perhaps, that is, he has grown in office--though he has not grown nearly enough by other measures that one can say he is up to the job.

Unless in the next week or so he discovers a heretofore unrealized capacity to move public opinion on substantive matters of policy, the expedient thing for lawmakers of either party to do will be to vote "no" while smugly minimizing the moral stakes by noting that while Assad is of course "a bad guy," he poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, the Syrian economy is in shambles, there are lots of other mass-murdering dictators and we can't bomb 'em all, and so forth.

Any opportunistic lawmaker who takes that path will be following the example set by the man who is now president of the United States.

As I said in the post below, I would support attacking Syria if the attack was of sufficient strength to change the trajectory of the Syrian civil war because, that, in the long run, is in our national interest. It is in our national interest primarily because it would hurt Iran, and they are the true enemy in the Middle East that has to be defeated. But I will say, it is a bitter pill to swallow, to now give the traitorous left moral and political cover to use force.

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