To my view, the weekend’s development on Syria were overwhelmingly positive.
1.) The United States is not going to bomb Syria and, therefore, cross the line into direct participation in the civil war. 2.) A deal exists that, if fulfilled, will lead to the destruction of Assad’s stockpile of chemical weapons. 3.) The United Nations has made itself useful. 4.) The United States and Russia found a way to cooperate to bring about these positive results. 5.) Even if the chemical disarmament of Syria is not completed, Assad is far, far less likely than heretofore to continue gassing civilians.
I still have big problems with President Obama’s original decision that the United States needed to bomb Syria. And I don’t for a second believe that Obama had anything like this in mind when he announced that decision. But, to me, all five of those developments in the paragraph above are overwhelmingly positive. Which of them are not?
Yet, over the weekend, Obama is being almost universally pilloried mostly on the same kinds of hyper-politicized analysis that I mentioned a few posts back when I urged caution about the mainstream media narrative.
Obama waffled. Obama blinked. Obama is allowing Putin to look good. Obama sent a signal of wavering weakness to various other world leaders, including allies (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for example, with his concern about Iran’s nuclear program) who are counting on U.S. bombs and missiles on other matters. Obama showed fecklessness and his approval ratings are coming down, all of which will embolden certain Republican extremists who plan to threaten a government shutdown or a debt crisis in hopes of defunding Obamacare. Seriously, should Obama have launched a lethal attack on Syrians in order to get Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling?
The group that has a perhaps logical reason to be upset about the decision to not bomb Syria is the John McCain faction that wants the United States to adopt the goal of overthrowing Assad. But for this group, the chemical weapons issues is only the latest talking point in favor of what is politely referred to as “regime change.”
I hope Syria someday gets a better government. I don’t accept that the United States military should or must overthrow all dictators, and I don’t think the track record of “regime change” operations is all that encouraging. But at least the would-be regime changers are fairly honest about their goal.
Yes, it’s true, as Nick Hayes hilariously details elsewhere on this site, the servile elements of the Russian media are touting Putin for a Nobel Peace Prize. I doubt he deserves one or will receive one. But if he does, I, for one, will not be thinking: Darn, I wish the U.S. military had bombed Syria so this tragic Putin prize could have been averted.