Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Kerry testifies Assad used chemical weapons because he believed Obama would not ‘do anything about it’

Image Credit: Theodore Littleton /

Image Credit: Theodore Littleton /

Testifying on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State John Kerry just made a stunning admission. He declared:

One of the reasons Assad has been using these materials is because they have, up until now, made the calculation that the West writ large and the United States particularly are not going to do anything about it. Impunity is already working to kill a lot of people and to make things more dangerous. I guarantee you that is in their assessment.

That is a shocking self-indictment of the Obama administration’s Syria policy.

Parse with me: Kerry says that the “West writ large and the United States” had allowed Assad to kill “a lot of people” with “impunity.” Well, the leader of the “the West writ large and the United States” is President Obama.

Obama’s policy “impunity” led the Syrian dictator to assess that if he used chemical weapons, “the West writ large and the United states” (aka Obama) were “not going to do anything about it.”

In other words, it’s Obama’s fault Assad crossed the red line on chemical weapons. US policy led Assad to think he could get away with it. So says Obama’s secretary of state.

I wonder how it will go over in the Oval Office.

13 thoughts on “Kerry testifies Assad used chemical weapons because he believed Obama would not ‘do anything about it’

  1. Hard to escape that logic. The U.S. over and over again gets into major international problems because foreign powers are led to believe–mistakenly or not–that we will do nothing about their “adventures.” The Japanese were counting on a very “restrained” response to Pearl Harbor. The North Koreans expected that the U.S. would do little in response to their invasion of the South.

  2. Anyone recall this bit of dialog by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer?

    “You go right back and put that right back until you finish your dinner… I’m warning you, you take one bite out of that and you are in big trouble. Don’t… Hey! Don’t you dare… Don’t you DARE do that. You hear me? Hold it right there! You put that ice cream in your mouth and you are in very, very, VERY big trouble. Don’t you dare go anywhere beyond that… Put it down right now. I am not going to say it again. I am NOT going to say it AGAIN.”

  3. But this is true whether the administration admits it or not – foreign governments do wicked things only because they think nobody will hold them to account for it. Iran continued its nuclear weapons program during the administration of Thiessen’s former boss, George W. Bush. The inescapable conclusion is that Thiessen openly admits that it’s Bush’s fault that Iran continued its nuclear program. Ditto the Darfur massacres and ethnic cleansing. Because the Sudanese government and its Janjaweed proxies perceived that Bush wouldn’t do anything about it, the horrors that occurred are really Bush’s fault, and you can quote Mark Thiessen on that.

    Wonder how that will affect Thiessen’s welcome in Crawford.

    • Don’t forget that Barry-boy was elected senator during GWB’s term so that’s down to Bush too!
      And of course your wife got pregnant during Bush’s term so we can safely blame ol George for that!
      And finally you yourself regressed intellectually while George was fighting the Iraq Liberation War…
      My, taking hings to their logical conclusions does lead to absurdities…and THAT is definitely George W. Bush’s doing!

    • The US was already involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where is the rest of the “West writ large”? Bush was already taking a beating from critics and getting bad decisions from his war leaders. Just how do you propose he was going to respond militarily to Iran? The military was already stretched too thin. It wasn’t too much of a calculation on Iran’s part to figure they had a bit of a free hand. I don’t remember hearing anything from France or Great Britain or Germany at that point, either. Trying to throw this on Bush would appear to be rather short-sighted.

      • @John Allen -

        Your question about how we would respond militarily needs to be directed to Mr. Thiessen, not me. I am merely pointing out (yet another example of) his intellectual inconsistency. Obama is facing a populace weary after a decade of war, a military in the same situation and complaining about the effects of the sequenster, an already massive budget deficit, and Republicans threatening to shut down the government over the debt ceiling. It wouldn’t be much of a calculation on Assad’s part to to figure that Obama couldn’t do anything too serious – maybe a symbolic bombing or cruise missile launch, but nothing that would actually change the balance of power within Syria. Given the parallels with your own summary of the situation Bush faced, Mr. Thiessen’s throwing all the blame on Obama for Assad’s actions would appear to be equally short-sighted, wouldn’t you agree?

  4. The Assad regime and the Syrian rebel groups are killing each other and the Syrian populace because each group believes its in its own best interest. I suspect any reaction by the United States or the rest of the world is only of secondary concern.

  5. Nobody takes into account that this is a war of religions: Sunnite vs Shi’ite, which is alien to America. Let’s do as Russia does: help our most reliable allies to wage this war and finish it (if they can; I doubt it because this war comes since the death of Muhammad) Meantime, make a strong Intel work to avoid any attack from whomever of both parties (which don’t love America)

  6. First of all the proof is all over the syrian free press and elsewhere that the the backed terrorists of Obama used chemical weapons Kerry has proof .Nobody believes him where is one shred of proof.Who are these nations now backing an attack .Over 10.Same idiots that attacked Libya us france uk canada turkey plus 5 more who and what are they promised.Obama wants to destroy Syria for Israel .The us has ruined Afghanistan Iraq Libya And will continue to Iran

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>