Well, I guess, you could say, at least someone’s in charge.
At his White House press conference today, President Obama said – I don’t think I’ve ever heard a president say this, but he said it – that a determination of whether to uphold U.S. national security would hinge of the precious thoughts of the international community.
Now I get that Obama wants to divorce himself from what he perceives – it’s not true, but it’s what he perceives – to be the go-it-alone stance of cowboy George W. Bush. But that means you try to get more buy-in from your allies. Not that you allow the various misfits, morons, and megalomaniacs in the international community to decide what’s right for Uncle Sam.
And yet, Obama said,
What is true, though, is, is that if I can establish in a way that not only the United States but also the international community feel confident is the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, then that is a game-changer because what that portends is potentially even more devastating attacks on civilians, and it raises the strong possibility that those chemical weapons can fall into the wrong hands and get disseminated in ways that would threaten U.S. security or the security of our allies.
So we need China to feel confident of this? Maybe the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt too? If the prospect of Syria’s leaders using chemical weapons is a threat to our security because Islamists could potentially capture them, then WE DECIDE whether to take care of the problem. Not some feudal ruler of the Arabian Peninsula.
What you witnessed today on Syria was the sight of a red line being moved. Obama had once made some kind of a threat that we’d get our serious bad boy attitude going if Syria used nuclear weapons. A “game changer,” he said. Except its clear that when Obama said that, he hadn’t bothered to think through what on earth he meant.
That’s why he said today:
By game-changer I mean that we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us.
Talk about Chamberlainesque rhetoric: IF YOU MESS AROUND WITH ME, I’M GOING TO HAVE TO RETHINK THINGS!!
Oh boy, that will put the fear of Zeus in them.
The problem for Obama is that he made a very serious threat. And now any fourth grade bully can see he’s backing off of it. And the world is full of countries run by former fourth grade bullies who are taking note.
Obama should never have started discussing red lines. But since he did, he must do something to show he’s not an invertebrate.
I’ve got no idea what – the time for wading into the Syria conflict was long ago, when there was at least some prospect of a pro-Western result. Now there really isn’t. And even back then, it wasn’t clear that the upside of arming the rebels outweighed the downside.
“I don’t bluff,” Obama said when talking about his other red line on Iran. Well now the Iranians know he does. And that’s a very dangerous thing indeed.
Here’s the video of Obama’s remarks on Syria.