“Many people working on Syria for the State Department have long urged a tougher policy with the Assad government as a means of facilitating arrival at a negotiated political deal to set up a new Syrian government.” – Robert S. Ford, a former ambassador to Syria [New York Times]
THE WORST moment in President Obama‘s presidency is when he misjudged the aftermath of his Syria “red line” change of mind. It should be noted that he disagrees strongly with this assessment.
All the while Hillary Clinton embraced POTUS during the primary, the differences they had on Syria, based on reporting, seem the most important.
It’s a subject on which Bernie Sanders had no answer at all.
The speech Senator Sanders gave on Thursday was strong and passionate but only one line was offered on foreign policy. It came in a paragraph where he casually mentioned the Defense Department “cost overruns and inefficiencies,” which happens in “every branch of government.” Sanders said
…And we must make certain our brave young men and women in the military are not thrown into perpetual warfare in the Middle East or other wars we should not be fighting.
No one supports “perpetual warfare,” except, perhaps, Bill Kristol and the neoconservatives.
The world’s cowardice in handling Bashar al-Assad of Syria has not made anyone safer. Suggestions that getting involved would have made matters worse are laughable when looking at the aftermath of what inaction has wrought.
Sometimes there are no good answers, chief among them doing nothing.
Americans don’t want to get involved. Political junkies have weighed in on social media and in comment sections to say that the U.S. shouldn’t get involved, and Americans have registered their displeasure in polling.
There is so much to do at home, so ignore the rape of children and women, forget the war crimes because it’s not our problem.
Senator Sanders never had an answer for what to do in Syria. He knows history but never had any solutions for a world gasping for leadership. As much as his domestic speechifying has stirred masses to come out to his rallies, Sanders has no relationships around the world that could build a response.
He’s a lot like The Donald in this regard.
President Obama, after the British parliament voted “no,” had to contend with the U.S. Congress, with few members having courage on anything. In this atmosphere, he backed down on his “red line” threat against Assad.
This ugly mess will be waiting for Hillary Clinton, should she prevail and win the presidency. She’ll have no good choices and get blamed for whatever outcome, regardless of the fact that failure is built into the inaction that came before.
What she will inherit is not unlike what other incoming presidents experience after their inauguration. Bill Clinton had Somalia dumped in his lap after George H.W. Bush got involved and everything turned to shit. Jimmy Carter started our foray into Afghanistan with funding, and with the help of Director Casey, Ronald Reagan escalated and armed Osama bin Laden and other jihadists to fight the Russians. Look at what John F. Kennedy inherited: both Vietnam (from the French) and the Bay of Pigs plan (from the CIA).
Assad’s Syria is one of the worst examples of crimes against humanity we’ve watched unfold.
What waits today in Syria for the U.S. and any allies Clinton could muster is quite different from what Obama saw on his watch.
If a military option is chosen, what about the Russians?
Iran is much stronger now that Iraq has become a proxy nation for Shiite mischief throughout the region. Clinton and other Democrats are to blame for much of this because they gave President Bush the rope to hang us all. Obama has blame to shoulder too because he couldn’t get the Iraqis to budge on U.S. soldiers liability, then withdrew on Bush’s timetable, setting up Iran to move in.
And then there is the Saudis… Follow the money and be prepared for what you find.
However, the most chilling message we can take from these foreign service professionals finally speaking publicly about Syria is that they’ve lost all hope in U.S. foreign policy.