Obama has decided to allow Congress a say in the Syrian crisis. Why” It is anyone guess? What can’t be denied is that the Middle East is worse off than it was before Obama became President and Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. When Obama took office, Iraq was still smoldering but the surge allowed a functional government to develop and there is no doubt that Iraqis would have been willing to negotiate a deal that would have been acceptable to both sides. (Obama and his team never really negotiated effectively and are just as happy to be out of Iraq since it was the bad war in their eyes). While Afghanistan was up in the air, it is worse today than before Obama took office.
His policy in Libya has led to the death of four Americans and added more chaos in a region where chaos has been the norm under this administration. While a case for helping the Syrian rebels can be made, Obama has yet to make it and now we are isolated in pursuing any course.
Obama could have stated that eliminating Assad would have hurt Iran’s power in the region and possibly Hezbollah’s power in Lebanon. There is a geopolitical case for weakening Iran’s power in the region but Obama failed to make that case and for that matter, neither did Hillary when she was secretary of state. Instead, they designed a policy that showed no coherency.
Hillary Clinton so far has been strangely quiet on Syria maybe realizing that supporting another Middle East intervention won’t help her run for Presidency. And, as the Obama-Clinton doctrine collapses, she can’t avoid being dragged into this since she helped design the policy. As for Clinton, it wasn’t that long ago that she declared Assad a reformer and appeased Russia when it came to their support for him. Nor can she escape the fact that now the United States has been isolated.
The leftist penchant for taking their case to the UN is now a dead end since China and Russia will stop any serious efforts to stop Assad there and now Obama has to go to Congress which he has done. The problem is that his partisanship throughout this administration and his utmost disdain for Bush’s policies will not be forgotten. It is hard to follow a President when the element of trust is no longer there. It should be pointed out that Bush sought approval for any keys element for his policies and did have functioning alliances with Congress which Obama and his foreign policy team have forsaken and crippled.
British parliament’s rejection to join Obama is his chickens coming to roost. His failure to cultivate that special relationship with Britain, a solid ally, is another of his great failures. Obama and Clinton’s failure to come to Britain’s side during Argentina’s saber rattling over the Falklands and returning Churchill’s bust has given Britain reason not to follow Obama on this mission. So why should British join Obama in Syria when he has never been trustworthy to begin with? Bush had solid alliances during his administration and while he may not be universally loved, America was respected. Obama is talking of going it alone if need be but then he has to since he has no friends willing to stand with him.
Obama is no hurry to do anything militarily and I suspect he would be equally relieved if Congress said no way. And, if Obama is not willing to settle for regime change or seriously debilitate Syrian military capacity, then Congress would be right in rejecting any military action. A pin prick strike or simply to lob a few cruise missiles with no real meaning is not much different than doing nothing at all. Obama has yet to make a coherent case for his foreign policy much less any case. The United States is no longer feared or respected and even our allies aren’t willing to join our side to stop a genocidal tyrant who is willing to do anything to stay in power nor does it appear that Obama is willing to go the full Monty. Obama painted himself in the corner by stating Syrian shouldn’t cross lines they have been crossing for months and he has yet to explain why this matters to America.
Obama’s failure has opened the door to tyrants everywhere that the use of chemical weapons against their own citizens, if not against their neighbors, will not be punished. And our Allies in the region and throughout the world must be wondering what is going on and why is Obama hesitating? As for Hillary Clinton, this is just one more reason not to elect her President. She helped design this policy and she has been missing from the debate as if not to remind anyone she was the Secretary of State when these policies were decided.