“So what do we do? Well, faced with a neutered Security Council, we have to redouble our efforts outside of the United Nations with those allies and partners who support the Syrian people’s right to have a better future. We have to increase diplomatic pressure on the Assad regime and work to convince those people around President Assad that he must go, and that there has to be a recognition of that and a new start to try to form a government that will represent all of the people of Syria,” [Secy. Hillary Clinton] said. – Josh Rogin
It’s no secret I was against the Libya bombing and remain so. Watching the carnage in Syria reveals the flaws in the Obama administration’s strategy, as much as there was one. The unspeakable, which Josh Rogin said outright last night, is civil war in Syria. Even as Secy. Clinton worked the Arab League hard to make the NATO mission feasible, regime change looks differently once it’s over and the fallout begins.
See Egypt, where Americans are reportedly to be tried, including Secy. Ray LaHood’s son. Our so-called relationship today in that country as bad as it’s been in decades, which Josh Rogin explained with Chris Hayes last night. No doubt Secy. Clinton’s first instinct to bolster Mubarak came from this dreaded place. However, the truth is wider and deeper, of an American policy supporting dictators who are our allies in torture and rendition, as both Mubarak and Assad have been, while the people suffer.
The Arab Spring has unleashed a lot of energy, none of which Pres. Obama can predict, contain or manage very easily, but considering we engaged in the contagion to try and impact it, he’ll have to take ownership of something that is uncontrollably unpredictable.
Stephen Walt offers some thoughts on Syria, after the Libyan NATO mission.
One can argue that this was the right course of action anyway, because getting rid of a thug like Qaddafi was worth it. That’s a debate for another day, although I would note in passing that post-Qaddafi Libya remains deeply troubled and the collapse of the regime seems to be fueling conflicts elsewhere. But what if the Libyan precedent is one of the reasons why Russia and China aren’t playing ball today? They supported Resolution 1973 back in 2011, and then watched NATO and a few others make a mockery of multilateralism in the quest to topple Qaddafi. The Syrian tragedy is pay-back time, and neither Beijing nor Moscow want to be party to another effort at Western-sponsored “regime change.” It is hardly surprising that Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin condemned the failed resolution on precisely these grounds. In short, our high-handed manipulation of the SC process in the case of Libya may have made it harder to gain a consensus on Syria, which is arguably a far more important and dangerous situation.
Also read Marc Lynch on what a horror it is that the U.N. failed, which no doubt is making the neoconservatives gleeful.
I wrote about this just a few days ago, but if you count Iran and Israel, the economy may be the least of Obama’s worries, with the Middle East possibly throwing a curve to all the prognosticators.
With Pres. Obama’s foreign policy credentials including ordering the slaying of Osama bin Laden, there is no sense whatsoever that Mitt Romney can make a serious challenge to Pres. Obama if the Middle East goes south.
What that means to Republicans picking a nominee is anyone’s guess. It also could be why Newt Gingrich has seduced himself into thinking the race isn’t over.