LOS ANGELES, August 30, 2013 — President Obama is on the verge of attacking Syria in a desperate attempt to defend his own credibility.
Only Obama would hold a press conference to state that he has not made a decision on a course of action. Yet the seriousness of the crisis may force his hand. More importantly, he now has the ultimate incentive to attack: his own ego.
It is one thing for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad to kill 100,000 people. It is quite another for him to embarrass Obama personally.
The timeline of events goes back to candidate Obama in 2007. He was going to be against everything President George W. Bush did. Unlike Bush in Iraq, Obama would never take unilateral action. During the Iraq War, “unilateral” to liberals meant any coalition without France.
Obama was going to make America more respected worldwide. We would be more “humble.” Intractable problems that had bedeviled American leaders for decades would now be solved by of Obama’s powers of persuasion.
Obama bends over backward to avoid war, but his timidity causes more deaths. In Iran, he failed to stand up in 2009. A popular uprising was crushed and an opportunity was lost.
In Libya, a conflict that could have been resolved in weeks took over six months due to half-hearted “leading from behind.”
In Egypt, Obama has united every warring faction against America.
Syria has seen his worst dithering. He claimed several times that Assad had “to go.” Those words were backed up by nothing. As the Syrian genocide spread, even liberals began to complain that America was allowing another Rwanda. Obama declared that if Assad used chemical weapons, that would constitute a “red line.”
Obama calculated that Assad would see this as a message to kill at will, but quietly. Assad got greedy and concluded that the consequences of defying Obama would be zero. Russia and China would come to Assad’s aid. He used the chemical weapons. Obama’s red line was on the verge of becoming meaningless. The man who bowled a 37 and wore mom jeans on television was now facing far more serious questions about his manhood.
This would not be the first time that Obama allowed opinions over his personal popularity to dictate foreign policy. He called off three planned raids to kill Osama bin Laden when Valerie Jarrett expressed fear that a failed raid would damage Obama’s polling. He was finally convinced on the fourth try that if the public were to find out that he let bin Laden go, reelection 2012 would be a Republican tidal wave. He claims the mantle of Rambo when the truth seems to be closer to Bambi until his opponents call him out.
He claims to not be his predecessor, and he is right. Bush persuaded Tony Blair and 30 other world leaders to join his coalition. The Iraq War had the clear objective of regime change. Saddam was toppled, caught, and hanged. In Syria, the same leader who said Assad must go now insists that regime change is not the objective. The British rejected Obama. His powers of persuasion are zero.
Liberals may claim that this, like everything else they fail at, is all Bush’s fault. Had Bush not “lied” to the world, bridges would not have been burned to the point where “even Obama” could not succeed.
The truth is that Bush pursued a morally noble endeavor that made sense. Obama is pursuing a morally questionable course of action with no coherent strategy.
America should not go to war simply because Assad has hurt Obama’s feelings.
Neocons who supported Iraq are skittish about Syria, but not to spite Obama. Neocons would have favored intervention when the original rebels had the upper hand. Now al Qaeda has infiltrated the rebel groups, and there is no rational reason to overthrow one evil for an even worse one. Assad murders his own people. Al Qaeda murders Americans.
Obama’s supporters insist that he would never start a war just to satisfy his own ego, but they cannot definitively say what he is doing or why he is doing it. They cannot know, because he has not said. He can insist until his dying day that he is not George W. Bush, but that has already been established. Bush’s war succeeded because his vision was noble and his leadership was competent, capable, and trusted around the world. Whether one liked or hated him, everybody knew where he stood. When he spoke, the world knew that he meant what he said.
As for Obama, the world is waiting, the clock is ticking, and it is time for the president to start explaining himself.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
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