Let’s assume that General Jack Keane is correct in his assertion that President Obama has changed his mind again and is now planning a “more substantial” attack on Syria than previously intimated. According to The Telegraph, Keene, former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, told the BBC on Monday:
[H]e had spoken to senior Republican senators who had been briefed by the US president on Monday, and had been assured that Mr Obama planned to do significant damage to the forces of Bashar al-Assad.
The Obama administration has previously said that military strikes would not be aimed at toppling Assad's government nor altering the balance of the conflict. Instead, the White House has suggested, they would be intended to punish Assad for the alleged gas attack in Damascus on Aug 21 and to reinstate Washington's ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons.
The notion that an attack that effectively left Assad unscathed and at the helm of Syria’s ship of state could not be construed as punishment is ludicrous, as widely noted. Could criticism on this count from both the left and right explain why Obama, at least according to Keane, is planning “a more substantial intervention in Syria” that includes “increased support for the opposition forces” and “training from US troops”? It would amount to be pretty shoddy foreign policy if the leader of the free world was crafting policy based on how well his previous directives were being received by his acolytes in the mainstream media.
But I believe Obama’s change of strategy has its foundations in something more personal, more visceral. In a dispatch titled “Syria mocks US decision to hold off on strikes,” the Associated Press reported on Monday that Syria had “derided … Obama’s decision to hold off on punitive military strikes.” According to Fox News, the ridicule of the American president was broadcast on Syria’s state-controlled media.
Could the president be contemplating sending troops into harm’s way because his feelings were hurt? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Obama has never responded well to taunting, as exemplified by his overreaction to protesters during a 2011 fundraiser in San Francisco. When a group of American citizens chided, “We paid our dues, where’s our change?” the president was visibly irritated. So deep was his displeasure that when a reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle recorded the incident on her cell phone, the White House banned her from covering future presidential visits to the Bay Area.
The televised mockery of Obama on the other side of the Atlantic is not a first. In a TV news report from American “ally” Russia, the anchor flips a middle finger salute at the same moment she intones the president’s name (video here).
- Obama’s lose-lose approach to Syria has made him (more of) a laughing stock
- No joke: Congress should vote ‘present’ on Syria
- 535 congressmen can’t fix Obama’s weak foreign policy
- Rock, hard place, Syria
- A ‘Johnny Football suspension’ for Assad; *UPDATE*
- White House banishes reporter for using multimedia to capture irritated Obama
- Obama administration targeting of reporter finally hits a nerve: MSM reacts
- SF Chronicle blasts White House for banishing reporter, then lying about it
- Russian news anchor flips the bird at mention of the name Obama (Video)