Don’t make me laugh.
Make no mistake- Obama has set a trap. A cagey, crass political trap. It is a trap designed to bail his a$$ out of the corner into which he’s painted himself.
Obama has set the trap for the GOP.
A year ago Barack Obama blurted out the now-infamous “red line” words regarding Syria. The classic Obama hubris has boxed him in. He told the world how he would teach Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad a lesson- that the US has an “obligation” to attack Syria.
A war-weary United States has little appetite for another conflict and polls reflect this. Barack Obama is sensitive to one thing above all- his own political viability- and his plans for a Syrian attack reflect this. He said an attack would be limited in scope and regime change was not a goal. And now he wants to consult with Congress before he acts but lest anyone think he’s become a weenie he’s said that he’s willing to go it alone.
Obama had no interest in Congress’ approval when he toppled Gaddafi in Libya. So you have to ask yourself- why now? Why does Obama want to involve Congress now?
For starters, polls overwhelmingly indicate that Americans want Obama to consult with Congress prior to undertaking any military action.
Toppling the Assad regime could have the same disastrous results that toppling Gaddafi saw. Thousands of MANPADS went missing, as did RPG’s and land mines. About the last thing anyone needs is for Syrian WMD’s to disappear.
Not wishing to repeat the mistakes of Libya, Obama has had the proposed attack on Syria has been scaled back. And providing all the warning in the world to Syria allows Assad to hide his troops and weapons from the US cruise missiles. So one wonders what the point of an attack would be.
Mostly, it is for Obama to save face.
Obama undoubtedly recognizes the fecklessness of his words a year ago, but his bravado has left him little choice. Knowing how unpopular any more military action has become, Obama needs a foil.
Hello, Congress. Hello Boehner.
Obama can now throw the issue into the lap of Congress, most likely in the hope that they bail him out and refuse to go along with his war plans. That allows him to dodge the bullet of responsibility and make it their problem. If they agree to allow Obama to strike Syria Obama can take credit for punishing another Middle Eastern nation and burnish his Nobel Peace Prize bonafides.
Congress will either take the blame from Obama for handcuffing him or be seen as making Obama look good. It’s a trap. This has nothing to do with mankind or standards of decency. It’s politics. It has everything to do with Obama’s image. I’d be really surprised if Obama attacked Syria without agreement from Congress.
For the moment, Obama can do what he has always done best. Vote present.
I believe we should stay out of the conflict in Syria, as I did with Libya and Egypt. Nothing good will come of any of it. The devil you know…