Obama’s Bungling Has Ensured A Bad Outcome
By Harold Hutchison
Whether you agree with intervening in the bloody Syrian civil war or not, the United States is now practically guaranteed to see a bad outcome for itself. The blame for this lies at the feet of Barack Obama, who has managed though a combination of indecisiveness and bluster to have created a foreign policy disaster for the country.
The Syrian Civil War has been decimating the country for over two years now, after Bashir al-Assad moved to crush protestors. He soon got the backing of countries like Iran and Russia. Obama, seeming caught up in the excitement of the misnamed Arab Spring, declared Assad had to go. But beyond flowery speeches, he did nothing. The Syrian opposition soon shifted – from something purely pro-democracy to one where a significant chunk of the fighters were from al-Qaeda.
In 2012, as he was campaigning for re-election, Obama declared that use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would cross “a red line” that would draw action. Yet, after the first reported use of chemical weapons, Obama’s reaction was to start providing limited military aid to “moderate” factions among the opposition in the form of small arms and ammunition following weeks of dithering.
Things got worse in late August. A much more significant chemical attack took place, killing over 1,400 people, including hundreds of children. The Obama Administration has again not only dithered, but vacillated all over the place on whether he was going to intervene. Then, a series of leaks has all but telegraphed what he will strike. Only now, Obama is backing down – with Syrian media already trumpeting it as a victory.
There are, at this point, no good outcomes left in Syria. If Assad’s regime holds out, Iran will maintain an ally in the region, and it is an ally with chemical weapons that has proven it will use them. If the rebels win, we could very well see Syria become a nation run by al-Qaeda, and what part of the chemical weapon stocks and manufacturing would be in their hands? But as bad as that Hobson’s choice is, it is not the worst outcome from all of this.
No matter what happens, America is going to have very damaged credibility. Obama’s dithering will only encourage threat not only to American allies in the Middle East, but elsewhere. The ChiComs cannot help but feel encourages to continue their aggressive push in territorial disputes with American allies like Japan and the Philippines.
Obama has sown the seeds for the next major American war with a deadly mixture of vacillation and indecisiveness – and the price will not just be paid in the Middle East.