Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Syria: Obama’s shame

News this morning out of Damascus is devastating for the Assad regime. Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha is dead; deputy defense chief and Assad brother-in-law Assef Shawkat is also reportedly dead. Other senior regime members are in the hospital. Some reports indicate the bomber was an Assad bodyguard. Time is running short for all who have supported Assad, tacitly or explicitly, to explain themselves. Among them, first and foremost are the Iranians, for whom Assad is a key client. But Iran is on its heels, and Syria is its only creature in an increasingly hostile Middle East. Then the Russians who have armed and protected Assad as his people rose against him, blocking every attempt at Security Council action, throwing spanners into the wheels of the “friends of Syria” group. But Putin is only playing to type. What of the West — the French who were the engine of outside support for Qadhafi’s enemies; the British who also led the way on Libya? And finally, what of the president of the most powerful nation on earth, a leader with a nominal commitment to freedom that extends only as far as his printed speeches, and little further?

The Obama administration has fussed and fluttered, blabbed and gabbed, and has ultimately done nothing for the people of Syria. The death of more than 17,000 Syrians is a stain on Obama’s hands. He will preen that this is what he predicted all along, and it happened without having to spend a dime, risk an aircraft, ship a weapon. Imagine how much faster it would have happened had the feckless president been less feckless. Imagine how the people of Syria would celebrate America as the Libyans do. How much sway will we have over the post-Assad Syria? As much as we have earned: None.

Update: Before commenting, please actually read my views on Syria.

7 thoughts on “Syria: Obama’s shame

  1. Leaving aside the US, what of the French and British? Why do you consider them wimpy and feckless? Maybe they determined that their national interest was not served by bungling into a complicated situation in a country where they have nothing to protect. Maybe they thought it was time to hold back and see if, yes, this brutal dictator can be removed without their risky efforts. Because, remember, there are consequences to acting. Moral authority is nice, but not the end all and be all of a nation’s worth.

    They have significant economic problems and little to do with Syria. No doubt Londoners and Parisians don’t like Syrians being killed, though whatever present strategic vision they have is at least humble. They could do Libya (sort of), but maybe they can’t really help that much in Syria and what they can do isn’t worth it.

    There is no duty to intervene militarily. Period. If there were, you would be writing a lot more about the DRC.

    • believe me, if obama said we should not be acting in the DRC, aei would write a piece talking about how he’s weak and how we need nothing more than to rescue the Congolese people.

  2. Mrs Pletka,

    I have a rifle in my house I would be more than willing to donate for you to go to Syria and liberate the Syrian people. Just don’t expect me to send any more of my sons to go fight your wars – they have done quite enough.

  3. Danielle Pletka, You did not offer any specific action the U.S.A. should have done. Without such suggestions, your complaints about Obama are trite. My suggestion has always been covert delivery of supplies to the rebels — but then I would not talk about it.

  4. Seriously..another “have never served” war hawk. After over a decade of war, economy in the crapper, what we need now is another protracted engagement in a country that no matter how it turns out..we will end up being blamed. Screw that. If the Free Syrian Army wants change, they need to be the cause of that change. Time for the United States to let the Middle East police the Middle East.

  5. Thank u 4 your beautiful American opinion. Bomb them. Just do it, it’s our taxpayer money, and then we pay 40 dollars per G. Let’s cruise around, coast to coast. Let’s just bomb them. We have saved lives, and we are willling to pay for that. 40 per G.

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