Surprisingly, There’s No Silver Bullet For Obama In Regards To Syria

by William Teach | August 26, 2013 8:57 am

The White House is pretty sure that the Assad regime in Syria is behind the recent chemical attack[1], but, now, what are they going to do about it? There are several factors in play. As the Arab Spring started, particularly with the Green Revolution in Iran, Team Obama was MIA, refusing to take a stance. When it came to Syria, Sec of State Clinton pronounced that Assad was a reformer[2], then walked it back two days later after Team Obama realized what a stupid statement it was. But Team Obama still failed to get involved, at least through verbal support.

Obama did make his extemporaneous “red line” comment, though. But it has no teeth. Nor did the airstrikes on Libya, which was supposedly about protecting civilians while ignoring way more civilians being killed in Syria.

But, as President Of The United States Obama failed to take a stand and lead, Islamists, including al Qaeda, embedded themselves in with the pro-reform protesters, particularly as the violence escalated. Russia backs Assad. US leverage is gone (just like in the rest of the world, thanks to O’s pusillanimous, lackadaisical, makeshift, hesitant, and insubstantial “leading from behind” policies.

(Politico[3]) President Barack Obama has many weapons in his quiver as he decides how to proceed in Syria – but no silver bullet.

Between the Navy’s surface warships and strike aircraft, Air Force fighters stationed in Europe and the Middle East, and the many other units or capabilities the Pentagon can bring to bear, commanders can present the White House with a very broad menu of the “options” they say Obama has requested.

But nothing on Obama’s menu today is different from the one he could have perused six months or a year ago, when he warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” for the U.S.

Also not helping are people like John McCain and protesters, both left and right, who are pushing for military action. Plus France, which is pushing, as well.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and other top Pentagon leaders have spent months cautioning against an American intervention in Syria. The key question, they argue, isn’t whether the U.S. has the power to intervene — it does. The question is whether it should.

Dempsey told Congress in a letter last week that he isn’t sure whether the Syrian rebels taking control of the country would be a better outcome for the U.S. than the status quo. And he warned that although the military can “tip the balance” of the civil war against Assad, doing so would plunge the U.S. irrevocably into a conflict it does not fully understand and could not control.

“In a variety of ways, the use of U.S. force can change the military balance, but it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.”

There was very little need for America to intervene in Libya. It meant little to the security of the U.S., nor did it serve our interests (it did serve the needs of Britain and France in regards to oil, though). How does Syria serve our interests now? On one side is Bashar Assad, a brutal dictator backed by Iran, on the other side are Islamic hardliners and terrorists. The third option is a full takeover of the country, getting rid of both elements. Good luck with that, unless the U.S., Britain, France, and others are willing to use the same type of brutal crackdowns that have been absent since WWII, when the Allies brooked no dissent (rightly so) from the conquered.

Meanwhile, Russia and Iran are offering warnings[4]

As United Nations inspectors in Damascus prepare to visit the site Monday of an alleged chemical weapons attack, Russia warned the United States not to repeat what it called “past mistakes” by bypassing the U.N. and taking military action against the Assad regime.

Iran, Syria’s other key ally, also warned of “dire consequences for the White House” should the U.S. act against Syria.

No matter what is decided, expect Obama to pre-emptively shift any potential negative consequences to Other People. McCain, the UN, you name them, he’ll blame them. While setting himself up to take the kudos for any positive results.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove[5]. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach[6].

  1. behind the recent chemical attack:
  2. Assad was a reformer:
  3. Politico:
  4. offering warnings:
  5. Pirate’s Cove:
  6. @WilliamTeach:

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