September 11, 2013
With his speech last night urging action in Syria, President Obama let the world know that Russia, not the U.S., is in the driver’s seat in the Middle East.
He went to great lengths to convince us that the military option is still on the table. He laid out a compelling case that chemical weapons were used. And he emphasized that American forces will stand ready in case a strike is ordered.
But for all of his attempts to convince us that military action against Syria is still viable, his voice — and America’s influence — is now out-shadowed by Russia’s.
This ”incompetence has deeply embarrassed the United States of America,” Heritage Foundation expert Kim Holmes argues.
A leading alternative to military intervention, Russia’s proposal to eliminate Syria’s weapons, will not work, Holmes adds:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not give up his chemical weapons during a time of war. Russia undoubtedly will drag out the process to delay a strike. The Syrian civil war will rage on, with the only difference being that Assad now knows his chemical weapons—and not his regime’s survival—are the focus of international negotiations. Obama may end up off the political hook with Congress, but he will emerge as a paper tiger internationally, surpassed in gravitas by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The speech reflected President Obama’s search for an “off ramp” from the road to conflict, Holmes says. Unfortunately, this off ramp leads nowhere.
Even if a United Nations inspection team could be established, its inspectors would have to work inside a volatile combat zone and risk being taken hostage. Who would provide logistical support for the operation? Would there be a protection force? If so, who would provide it?
Do you think our country’s leadership handled the Syria situation correctly?