“I think that in many ways a line’s been crossed when we see tens of thousands of innocent people killed by a regime, but the use of chemical weapons and the danger that is poses to the international community, to neighbors of Syria, the potential of chemical weapons to get into the hands of terrorists, all of those things add increased urgency to what is already a significant security problem and humanitarian problem in the region,” Obama told reporters.
So the hundreds of thousands of innocent people being killed by a regime, the use of chemical weapons, the potential for chemical weapons to get in the hands of terrorists, ARE considerations for military intervention? Could we say as a counter, perhaps, that Bashar al-Assad poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors…and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history?
Yes, indeed we could. I am not advocating for or against intervention in Syria, though I would be curious to know whom we believe we would ally with, and whom against, and just what we could accomplish given the active opposition of Putin’s Russia (not least because of the possibility of Russian fingerprints on Syria’s chemical stockpile, and on a chemical stockpile of Iraqi origin).
It seems that President Obama’s “student union view” of the world and how it works has once again collided head-on with reality. The “game-changer” bandied about so often of late has already happened. The world, our allies, and our adversaries, will see what comes next. Will we see the Obama who condemned his predecessor for Iraq? Or the Obama whose tough talk regarding Syria is a virtual echo of that predecessor? Has he the statesmanship and foreign policy acumen to act decisively and effectively? Considering the string of diplomatic failures punctuated by the Benghazi catastrophe and the ineffectual confrontation with the DPRK, I am not terribly hopeful.