Thursday, November 7, 2013

Limited Involvement in Syria Makes Americans Appear Weak

Daniel Locke
Staff Writer

President Obama has been placed with a difficult decision regarding military intervention in Syria; however, seeking Congressional approval was a major mistake. The Middle East has been in a fragile situation since the end of World War I, since the Arab states have been created, and when Israel had been created in 1948. In 2001, President Bush, after September 11, began the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban  and in 2003, the United States  invaded Iraq under the Iraq Liberation Act. Each time, the U.S. had invaded the Middle East we had fought against terrorism, such as removing Saddam Hussein from power, and Bin Laden, and freeing the people.

And while people may argue that we had destabilized the Middle East, and caused more volatile foreign relations, we had disarmed harmful terrorists, showing the world we do not accept terrorism.

However Assad, in particular, Syria itself, has presented a tough predicament for President Obama, as any action done on his part will have consequences. This time around, Obama is left in the dark, as not only is he not receiving any support from Britain, our strongest ally, he is now relying on diplomatic resolution with the help of Russia. After the Arab Spring, civil war had broken out as the muslim population, of which had been greatly angered at the Assad regime, and the Neo-ba’athist government. Beginning with his father Hafez-al-Assad, Bashar had followed in his footsteps his father’s authoritative manner, and as a result the tensions upon handling the pro-democracy groups and keeping the Ba’thist government alive finally it had broken out in what was the Arab Spring.

But the tables have shifted now because Obama has to take action against the Assad regime after he had said in the State of the Union address: “If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them.” Obama, then decided it was in America’s best interest to have a limited air strike. He had yet to defend his statements to the “red line,” earlier in the year in March. He had stated: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus.  That would change my equation.” However, he has not been so clear; seeking congressional approval made him appear indecisive as to whether Syria’s crossing of the “red line” was to lead to military action on part of the U.S.

Yet, in seeking congressional approval, he shows not only his indecisiveness in proceeding with Syria, it also showed a shocking character of the world itself. Ironically Russia, which had been supplying weapons to Syria for the past few decades was the country who had sought a resolution. They had taken the opportunity to make them appear as peacemakers, after Obama blinked, when in fact they had been part of the problem. Not only was this a slap in the face for Obama, but it was a slap in the face for the UN, and world, as no country had wanted to defend civilians being killed with Sarin.

Nonetheless, our president, as commander in chief has in his power the ability to strike Syria, but rather sought congressional approval. Why did he deem this necessary? Did he not have the guts to take an action that could alter the standing of our relations in the Middle East, and the economy, as we depend on the oil from them. And at the end of the day, he showed not only Assad, but terrorists groups, that we are weak as they have an advantage over us, and that is the power of fear, fear of repercussions if we become involved as evidently shown by Obama. Was he scared we were not going to be successful, was he afraid of becoming entangled in a similar if he had fired cruise missiles and placed troops on the ground a to the situation in Iraq, rather than Yugoslavia. For each time our troops were deployed, whether it be by Clinton, Bush, or even Johnson, and not one had decided to send troops after seeking congressional approval. And while the possibility of the use of force may had unwanted side effects, it can accomplish to a certain degree the goal of removing the threat of chemical weapons in Syria. But if Russia had not set up diplomatic resolutions, after Kerry had made statements during a press conference, essentially a throw away comment, where would Obama stand now? Would he still be afraid to take action without congress, and avoid the repercussions only to protect his name? Is this another attempt to dodge the issues confronting him in order to fend his reputation, because if something goes down, he does not want to be fully responsible.

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