Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Obama, Syria, & A Foreign Policy Somewhere Between Wrong, God-Awful Wrong, & Disastrous

My impression is that we are aiming the barrels of our guns at Syria for no other reason than Obama has discovered that talking tough about a red line then doing nothing about it does not play well politically.  This most recent use of chemical weapons by Assad is not the first or even the second time he has used them since Obama announced a red line on chemical weapons - its the sixth time Assad has used them.  Moreover, according to Obama and all the leaks coming from the White House, Obama plans to do nothing that will have any impact on the Syrian civil war.  In other words, there is no discernible objective to this other than for Obama to say that he did something to "punish" Assad for using chemical weapons.  This is as James Tarranto has described it in the WSJ, a Show Of Farce which defies satire.

Should Congress vote in favor of such a strike?  First, let's look at Obama's foreign policy before keying in on Syria.

Obama has no discernible foreign policy in the Middle East.  He reacts to events, inevitably taking a position on the hard issues only when forced, and even then taking a position that proves somewhere between wrong, god awful wrong, and disastrous.  Let's go down the list. [Update: Instapundit takes a look at Obama's foreign policy at the USA Today, from the infamous reset with Russia all the way to the coalition building Obama has done on Syria. Instapundit finds Obama's foreign policy to be "inept" - which is probably an overly kind description of the acts Instapundit memorializes.]

In Iran, he let the Green Revolution go by without doing a thing to assist - even from the bully pulpit.  He was golfing while young women were being shot by government snipers on the streets of Terhan.  For all of Obama's talk of being tough with Iran, the mad mullahs move closer every day to a nuclear arsenal and Obama does nothing to stop them.  Oh, he tried to slow them down with the now well publicized STUXNET, but he has done nothing to change their trajectory.  This is a sleeper at the moment, but every day it goes on, it will eventually cost our nation ever more in gold and blood on the day we have to face it.

In Iraq, Obama merely had to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement, so that we could leave troops there to stabilize the nation and, indeed, threaten Iran.  He failed at that - and I would not be surprised to find, in the years to come, that it was deliberately so.  The Iraq War is what the traitorous left, led by Obama, was using as a political tool between 2005 and 2008.  They tried as hard as they could to legislate defeat in Iraq and paint that war as a complete failure.  When that failed, Obama did not want to do anything other than leave.  All the blood and gold we spent to try and create something akin to a functioning republic has been wasted, and Iraq now daily devolves ever more back into violence and the sphere of Iran.  It is obscene.

In Afghanistan, Obama authorized a partial "surge," while at the same time announcing a date certain for our withdrawal.  Could there be any more counter productive way to conduct a war?

In Egypt, Obama gave support to pushing out our ally, Honsi Mubarak, when the strongest force in the nation was the Muslim Brotherhood - the progenitors of al Qaeda.  Obama then followed a policy of fully supporting the Brotherhood government even as they road roughshod over democracy in an attempt to form a decidedly non-democratic Islamic theocracy. And now, even after the people of Egypt spearheaded a coup against the Brotherhood, Obama has led calls to re-establish a civilian government immediately and to stop any government use of force against the Brotherhood as they try to conduct their own counterrevolution.

In Libya, the U.S. had next to no national interests.  Qaddafi, once a promoter of terrorism, had renounced it and, indeed, offered to stop his nuclear program years before.  He was no threat to the U.S. and, indeed, while many of his people supported al Qaeda, he was a bulwark against a theocracy in his tribal country.  And yet, Obama saw fit to insinuate himself into a civil war there on wholly humanitarian grounds.  Obama announced a doctrine that required U.S. intervention when a leader threatened to kill his own people.  Obama set out the moral high ground and planted his flag.  He also unleashed the radicals in Libya, and it is an open question whether they will, in the end, take over the country.

The Obama doctrine lasted about six months, until the Syrian civil war began.  And it was truly a civil war, with the grass roots at war with the government.  Obama could have stepped in to help them - and it very much would have been in our interests to do so.  Syria is key Iran, if for nothing else then as a passage way to Lebanon and the West Bank.  But Obama dithered, doing nothing, and Syria became a Mecca for the radical Sunnis who dream of establishing their own theocracy.  And it is unclear at the moment, should Syria fall, that the country would not emerge in the hands of the al Qaeda types.  What a mess.

Still and all, in judging between the threats posed by Iran and al Qaeda, the greater threat is that posed by Iran.  Their losing Syria as an ally would be a serious loss, and war with Iran is a certainty unless something is done to stop their march to a nuclear arsenal.  Thus, I would roll the dice in favor of supporting Syrian rebels now, and try to straighten out the Sunni mess later.

That said, under no circumstances should the U.S. spend an ounce of its gold or a drop of the blood of its sons and daughters merely to allow Obama a way to save face.  Unless he agrees to take actions that in fact will impact the civil war in Syria - that will truly hurt Assad with a goal of driving him from the country - none of our representatives should vote in favor of attacking Syria.

Moreover, even if Obama agrees to decisive action, the right should not let him or the traitorous left off the hook by failing to point out that --

1.  This action is being taken without the support of the UN.  You will recall how the left howled about taking any action without full approval of that body.

2.  This action is being taken without virtually any coalition of the willing.  You will recall how the left howled about the U.S. acting "unilaterally" when Bush had put together an alliance of some forty nations.

3.  That President Bush took no military actions without the full consent of Congress.  Obama, on the other hand, took us into Libya without either Congressional authorization or any threat to our national security.  The only reason he has come to Congress now is because he lacks anything approaching a legitimate mandate to attack Syria.

4.  That we are where we are today because Obama has not had anything approaching a coherent foreign policy.  He has neither attacked enemies who threaten our national interest nor given support to those who would support our national interest.  He did not intervene during the Green Revolution, yet he saw fit to intervene in Libya.  He did not help the Syrians at the start of their civil war, but he did support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  Can this joker - or the left as a whole - get anything right?

That is a rhetorical question, but let me answer it anyway - I don't think so.  The left seem to see pursuing our national interest as something that is immoral.  On the other hand, they see intervening in places where our national interest is not at stake as somehow moral.  It is the bizarre brand of self hate that grew from the pen of Karl Marx and has spread like a cancer throughout the West ever since.  God help this nation.

1 comment:

Floyd Alsbach said...

Frankly, the whole thing astounds me. The world is becoming a real life Satyricon.