President Obama noted last night that he is hoping to work with Russia on finding a way of not using force against Syria in response to Damascus’ use of banned Sarin gas.
Don’t assume that Moscow’s involvement won’t come at a very high cost. The only question is, was the charge prepaid or will the bill be coming sometime soon.
Since his election, President Obama has consented to almost everything Russia requested, including agreeing to a lop-sided nuclear arms treaty, scaling back our defenses, and turning a blind eye as Putin turns his nation into an autocratic and corrupt state.Those, of course, are just the concessions we know about.
The President clearly sees Moscow’s proposal to allow Bashir al Assad to avoid a limited U.S. strike by turning over its Sarin warheads as a good idea. The fact is, this whole matter was so badly bungled that the President desperately needed an escape route. He received no support for his military plans from around the world (except for verbiage from Paris) or from the American public, justifiably unconvinced that lobbing a few Tomahawks at Syria in a manner not meant to unseat Assad or destroy his armed forces made any sense at all.
So, enter Russia, increasingly seen as a key power broker in the region, replacing an America that didn’t even rescue its own ambassador when attacked in Benghazi. This will have significant ramifications, and the price may be higher than expected.
The speech further conveyed a picture of an American administration adrift in its foreign policy choices and general worldview.
The President compared Bashir al Assad’s use of Sarin warheads to Hitler’s use of gas to massacre the Jewish residents of Germany and the nations captured by his Wehrmacht. Assad’s victims are, of course, far more numerous than just those killed by gas. Therefore, even if Moscow’s proposal is accepted, that leaves Assad in power and free to continue massacring his own people. Now that it has been shown he has Russia’s support, it might even make him stronger. That’s not an acceptable result by the standards enunciated by Mr. Obama in his speech.
Russia has also prevented firmer steps being taken to end Iran’s nuclear program. President Obama, heavily influenced by Valerie Jarrett, his key advisor who has extensive contacts in Tehran, has also been reluctant to be as firm as possible with the Mullahs. Without an America willing to lead, the acquisition of a nuclear weapon by leaders who have frequently spoken glowingly of their desire to destroy or attack others is all but certain. Why has the President been so reluctant to address this?
This presents the world community with an uncomfortable environment. Under the current White House, the U.S. makes amateurish decisions, and seeks to avoid serious confrontation even when basic principles of international law and global morality are involved—even when it directly affects U.S. interests, such as the protection of its own ambassador. That leaves Russia and China (which, along with Moscow, sent a warship into the region to oppose U.S. action, a fact the president should have but failed to mention) as the reigning centers of global military influence.
America’s willingness to concede leadership to other nations with far different perspectives than those of traditional democratic states, to “lead from behind,” comes at a heavy price.
Even if all everything Mr. Obama wished for in his speech last evening came true, it would still leave the Syrian people in desperation, and signify an increasingly isolationist America.
The bill will come due.