Barack Obama's foreign policy dream -- cordial relations with a Middle East tranquilized by "smart diplomacy" -- is in a death grapple with reality. His rhetorical writhings illustrate the perils of loquacity. He has a glutton's rather than a gourmet's appetite for his own rhetorical cuisine, and has talked America to the precipice of a fourth military intervention in the crescent that extends from Libya to Afghanistan.
Characterizing the 2011 Libyan project with weirdly passive syntax ("It is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions"), he explained his sashay into Libya's civil war as pre-emptive: "I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action."
With characteristic self-satisfaction, Obama embraced the doctrine "R2P" -- responsibility to protect civilians -- and Libya looked like an opportunity for an inexpensive morality gesture using high explosives.
Last August, R2P reappeared when he startled his staff by offhandedly saying of Syria's poison gas: "A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized." The interesting metric "whole bunch" made his principle mostly a loophole and advertised his reluctance to intervene, a reluctance more sensible than his words last week: Syria's recidivism regarding gas is "going to require America's attention and hopefully the entire international community's attention."
If a fourth military intervention is coming, it will not be to decisively alter events, which we cannot do, in a nation vital to U.S. interests, which Syria is not. Rather, its purpose will be to rescue Obama from his words.
rescue Obama from his words
quote:The LA Times has been working hard this week trying to place Obama and his talk about bombing Syria in the best possible light. Quite a contrast from their coverage of Bush/Iraq 2003.
I'm sure conference rooms from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle are filled with fanatical loyalist more than willing and ready to rescue Dear Leader by any means necessary.
Watching them spin Obama out of his self imposed corner will be pure entertainment.