Obama’s “New Beginning” Speech in Cairo in 2009 promoted his idealistic views of an non-interventionist foreign policy and new opportunity for Americans relations with the Islamic world. The following years have developed in ways more (or less) out of the president’s control.
The rise and fall of the ‘Arab Spring’. The failed reset, and efforts to appease Russian relations. The Egyptian Coup that has attacked the democratically elected MB, under the military aid longstanding between the US and the Egyptian military. And now, the pressure to attack Syria and risk all out war with Syria (and it’s Iranian power axis), Israel and Arab states. Turkey announced today’s it’s plans to join the ‘action’ alliance against one-time ally Syria.
Jordan has felt the pressure of allying with gulf states against the Syrian regime, at risk of making itself appear as antagonizing the downfall of Damascus. While Turkey, Iraq and Jordan have faced an influx of over 1,000,000 refugees – fears grow over the overall stability of Jordan. “We don’t want Jordan to be seen as a springboard for an all out attack on Syria.” But guess who’s forces are training and planning across the Syrian border?
France, England, and Germany are pressing for the removal, ouster, or simple surgical reactions to Bashar Al Assad. And his 1,000’s of tons of chemical weapons. And advanced anti-air missile systems. And then there’s the whole Russian issue of their last leg in the Middle East – their last ally in the region, holding risk to the existence of the Russian naval fleet that sits nearby.
“Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.”
Meanwhile, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad threatened that, “Failure will come to the US, as in all previous wars it has unleashed, starting with Vietnam and up to the present day…” While these words come among other threats to launch cross-border retaliatory attacks against Israel and other nations, it appears his words, hedged upon accusations the Assad regime launched chemical weapon attacks last week.
Taking a look back through history however, the sober reality will hold a track record of many disposed leaders due to their own political suicide by totalitarianism or outright intervention sponsored by UN and leading forces. The NATO campaign in Kosovo, Libya, and Iraq. The truth is – the past decades are littered with ashen memories of deposed leaders and shattered regimes.
Fears of Wider War
But to some analysts, Assad’s words antagonize a Western response, instead, inviting intervention. Obama’s nom de guerre in his bid to presidency was his hostility to foreign interventionism. But now, Obama faces pressure not only from his own policy makers within his administration, but from world leaders for him to act.
A recent Foreign Policy article put it perfectly, “Does Assad really think that secretary of state Kerry, U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, and national security adviser Susan Rice — all relatively new in their posts and all with a strong human rights record — will simply advise the president to sit on his hands?”
And four US warships edge closer to the Eastern Mediterranean coast. Obama’s fifth year in presidency looks quite different than his first. A president who sought to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is now under increased pressure to begin another. Add to this, an American public that holds little to no interest in another intervention. Hence, the Syrian dilemma.
A realist walks into a bar and orders a half empty glass of vodka…
“Liberals would actually say the only just war is one that defends human rights. But a realist would say the only just war is one that preserves the national interest. And if there are no threats in the environment, well then you retrench…”