Skip to comments.Obama's Blink on Syria Could Bring Peril to Allies
Posted on 05/02/2013 4:46:51 AM PDT by Kaslin
"We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked," Secretary of State Dean Rusk famously said during the Cuban missile crisis.
Barack Obama has been doing a lot of blinking lately. On Syria especially.
"There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movements on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons," he said back in August 2012. Chemical weapons were a "red line."
Presumably the president hoped that his statement would deter Bashar Assad's embattled regime from using chemical weapons. And presumably he hoped that his demand in 2011 for Assad to relinquish power would be obeyed.
Obama surely hoped back then that the Syrian dictator would be overthrown quickly, as his counterparts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya had been. Unfortunately, Assad has proved to be tougher and more ruthless.
Last December, the U.S. consul in Istanbul reported evidence of chemical gas attacks in Syria to the State Department. Last week, it was reported that all U.S. intelligence agencies believe that sarin gas has been deployed there.
But Obama has been unwilling to change his policies significantly. He has not ordered imposition of a no-fly zone, as Bill Clinton did in Kosovo in the 1990s.
He has not pledged support for the Syrian rebels. Instead, he has indicated that intelligence "assessments" are not conclusive.
"We've got to do everything we can to investigate and establish with some certainty" -- an interesting standard -- "what exactly has happened in Syria," he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
"We will use all the assets and resources that we have at our disposal. We'll work with the neighboring countries to see whether we can establish a clear baseline of facts. And we've also called on the United Nations to investigate."
These are conditions that seem impossible to meet. The United Nations will not act because of the veto of Assad-supporting Russia.
Other nations' intelligence services have already chimed in, concluding that chemical weapons are indeed being used in Syria. Our ability to "investigate and establish with some certainty what exactly has happened in Syria" is limited.
This president, like his predecessors, has to make decisions based on incomplete and imperfect information. It comes with the job.
The red line has been crossed, but the president has decided not to change the game.
This could have perilous consequences. Will Israeli leaders take seriously Obama's pledge that he will not allow Iran to deploy nuclear weapons?
Will our Asian allies be confident of our backing in their disputes with China over islets in the East China Sea? Will China be deterred from attacking them?
Blinking at the evidence that Syria has crossed what he called a "red line," Obama may be hoping to avoid getting bogged down in a military quagmire there. But weakness is provocative, and appeasement can lead to a wider war.
Last week, Obama also blinked on the sequester, as Senate Democrats led the charge to give the Federal Aviation Administration explicit flexibility after the agency furloughed air traffic controllers.
He had said earlier that he would veto legislation giving administrators flexibility in adapting to spending cuts. But -- blink -- he signed the bill, instead.
"The Democrats have lost on sequestration," wrote the liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein. By agreeing to "ease the pain," he said, "Democrats have agreed to sequestration for the foreseeable future."
That's probably right. Obama's prediction of dire consequences from sequester cuts was undermined by the administration's two most visible cuts in service.
The idea that mandatory cuts required cancelling White House tours didn't meet the laugh test. Fodder for late-night comics.
And the idea that a 4 percent cut in FAA funding required delaying 40 percent of airline flights was equally laughable.
It antagonized two classes of strategically placed frequent flyers: members of Congress and members of the press. No way they were going to tolerate needless flight delays.
Obama's acceptance of the sequester means ratcheting spending levels down in the future, just as the Obama Democrats' stimulus package ratcheted spending up.
That's a policy defeat for liberals, but the general public will probably not suffer much from Obama's sequester blink. The consequences of his Syria blink could be much more ominous.
Syria is simply none of our business...
If Assad Pest Control, Inc. is spraying a few cockroaches, he is doing us a favor.
The so-called “rebels” are Salafist terror groups.
Don't compare Obama to the Jeffersons. George Jefferson worked his tail off to make a fortune in dry-cleaning, and realized the American Dream. B. Hussein has had his skids greased ever since he was recruited by Bill Ayers.
Cracks in the armor?
Chicken shit is a bad characteristic if you want to be a world leader.
The world laughs
Barone supports gay marriage...
I frankly don’t see any U.S. interest in helping the Salafist terror groups opposing Assad and placing American troops into the middle of a terrorist shooting gallery.
If Assad is spraying those cockroaches, he is doing us a favor.
I would much rather trust Bashar al Assad than John Kerry or an senator that voted to confirm him as secretary of state.
Barone can go take a gay wedding holiday for all I care...
In most wars, there is no good guy. In most wars both sides are bad. Same with this one. Either we help neither side, or we help both sides and hope they annihilate each other.
I read the issue more as we can’t be trusted, that we are weak. Not that this or that group deserves our support. Obama should have kept his mouth shut, or said it does not ffect us or something. Instead, he has shown the words and promises of the USA are worthless.
However the UN is stuck when it comes to Syria. They can't get any resolutions passed by Russia and much of the world is very tepid in their support of the increasingly radical rebels.
So whoever is setting American foreign policy (Jarrett? Alexrod? Kerry?) is at a loss with no clear direction from outside. They think they want the rebels to win. They like over throwing long term dictators in the Middle East but they don't want to tick off Russia and they aren't sure how they feel about bombing Iranian soldiers who they know are operating in Syria.
This constant drumbeat in the media about Syria should give everyone a pause...
Arming Salafist terror groups who oppose Assad is the same modus operandi as smuggling guns to narcoterrorists in Mexico.
I would sooner trust Bashar al Assad than I would trust John Kerry or any senator who voted to confirm him.
Syria is none of our business...
The so-called “rebels” are Salafist terror groups.
I trust Valdimir Putin more than Obama or McCain on this... let the Russians have a go at them if they like.
Putin doesn’t have gay pride marches with his army...
Barone can go have his gay wedding for all I care... I don’t trust a thing he says anymore...
Exactly. I suspected long ago that “weapons of mass destruction” has become nothing more than an excuse for U.S. military intervention anywhere around the world. These big-government globalists — whether they are Democrats OR Republicans — shredded their credibility a long time ago.
Syria is simply none of our business...
The United States is not a military welfare program for the rest of the world.
The United States military personnel aren’t toy soldiers on a game board for the leftist internationale.’
The constant drumbeat in the Maoist media about Syria should be ringing alarm bells.
He’s got that “What difference does it make?” look.
“Zero” isn’t anymore qualified to play the international game of geo-politics than the (gay flame) Liberace was qualified to lecture on astrophysics.”
Funny, I’d say his puppet masters are pretty dang lame on foreign policy as well. Not a one of ‘em has an ounce of savvy between them. They are out for one thing and one thing only; bring America to her knees.
I would say bring the US Army home, put them on the Southern border, and send the Marines in to kill all the narcoterrorists.
Immigration reform, Patton style...
Blockade them so they all starve to death.
Agreed. Let them go at it.
That sounds good and in theory you are correct. Unfortunately we have 70 years of history telling us they are toy soldiers on a game board for the leftist internationale.'
Yup. There are no “good guys” in this fight.
What are other nations doing about it?
Assad Pest Control, Inc. spraying for roaches is actually doing us a favor...
They are too busy with gay pride marches in their armies...
We should send Chris Matthews and Bill Maher...
That way, the Salafist terror groups opposing Assad could cut off Matthews’ tingling leg and shove it up Maher’s åss.
I agree. It's time for the world to stop expecting the USofA to be the solution to their problem.
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that what the UN is paid to do? Call them instead!
Koffi Anna went over there and made all kinds of “baby milk factory signs” but there was nothing to steal...
In a Muslim society there are no civilians.
Mullah Bombma is encountering resistance to his Fatwas.
There is a very good possibility that the use of sarin gas, resulting in the death of a number of civilians, is a “false flag” maneuver by some dissident rebel group, in an attempt to get the Current Occupant of the White Hut to make good on his promise to intervene in Syria if a “red line” is crossed.
Well, the red line has apparently been crossed, yet we can not get a statement one way or the other from The Won acknowledging that his original assertion still stands. All we get is weasel words.
Syria, in fact, is NOT our war, and we have litle interest in the success of either side. A despot would ony be replaced by perhaps an even WORSE despot, neither of which would have any allegiance to the US, not even to the Current Regime in Washington. But as long as Muslims are fighting other Muslims, they are not available to be fighting in the West, or making mischief in the Far East.
People generally blink alot while they’re lying, which explains Obabma’s excessive blinking.
Frankly, he shouldn’t have said anything about Syria. While it’s a terrible shame that so many civilians have been killed, should the US get involved with either side (remember Hillary praising Assad not all that long ago?), we either help a brutal dictator who’s slaughtering his own people, or we help a coalition of terrorists, many of whom are Al Queda, who slaughtered 3000 Americans on September 11 (although I’m sure Jay Carney would say “that was a long time ago.”)
Sorry but we need to stand back and simply allow themselves to slaughter each other, because as soon as we help one side, they’re going to set aside their differences, and unite against US!
I think it has something to do with trusting his “filter” or world view...I may be wrong.
And just what are those enormous consequences? A letter to the UN? Leaders around the world have appraised obama, and they know the bball-playing-golfing faux president isn't going to do a damn thing. He won't even support and protect US personnel in the field (Benghazi).
Under obama, we are your worst friend and your best enemy.
um...Israel for one.
Didnt Israel strike a chemical wpns plant last week? I thought I heard that??
Then what do they need us for?
As Benghazi shows, We’re already FAR too involved in Syria.
Need to pack up the troops in Jordan, close the gun-running routes and get out of there, post-haste.
And if evident of Obama in bed with a nine-year old boy or a dead girl surfaced... the Elite Media would react just the same!
It is like he has them each and every one... on Double Secret Probation!
If we'd only use chemical weapons... I could be alive and at the worst, only have to have a beer summit with Obama.
What? Obama keep his word on Syria... you're kidding, right?
Okay, you heard that-- Obama said us eating humans crosses a red line... so, bon appétit!
Obama just announced if we nuke Seoul we will have crossed a red line... so when do we fire?
Assad! Put down those chemical weapons or I will... shoot again!
See, see? Could we ask for a more direct action... from an American President?
I'd hate to take a bite outta you, Obama... You're a cookie full of arsenic.
We have just released a photo... of what the President just did when... the Wicked Witch of the East crossed the red line--
Obama didn't kill Liberty Valance when he crossed the red line... I did, pilgrim!
Well, I'd join all of you on jumping on Obama's load of bullshite, but you know they'll call us... racists--
Give it a rest, pal. When ever we disagree with Obama... the press calls us racist.
This is where all Obama Red Lines go... to die.
Damn! This safe is where Obama stores all his military options... for when Syria uses chemical weapons--
Wasn’t this the reason for the U.N. from the start? Why is it any business of the U.S. what Assad is/has done? Why risk our troops?
I’m sure another sternly written letter from Bozo and the U.N. will put things in the right again (do I need it??).
Great ones, O bent one!!
You even made The Doctor and Rose laugh:
Well said. We have been trying to pick winners in every civil war there and we end up the loser.
Speaking of lunch, I find cats to be logical and soothing... but I cannot eat a whole one all by myself.
Nuke ‘em. It’s quicker.