It Wasn’t Just Obama Who Looks Weak On Syria
How does this apply to the Syria situation? It was clear from the outset that it would be difficult for Obama to follow through on his initial red line statement. With marginal popularity and many other domestic priorities to focus on, it appeared that Obama would have only limited political capital to expend on pushing through a new policy on Syria. Furthermore, it was obvious that Obama’s own political base was likely to be skeptical of military action. In addition, even before the current intense debate kicked off, it was clear that there was significant doubt about the wisdom of further US involvement in Syria among both parties in Congress.
In other words, it wasn’t simply that Obama failed on Syria, necessarily, but the public simply wasn’t behind any action.
As mentioned in this piece, if Obama had shown resolve and had the backing of Congress but did not take any actual military action, but kept threatening it through diplomatic negotiations, Syria would have been pressured strongly to give up their weapons and comply quickly.
But because Obama doesn’t have the public’s backing, and it’s looking likely Congress will not approve military action, Obama’s ability to sound like a solid military force is cut short.
In the end, Syria will probably not give up its chemical weapons and will probably use them again; and other tyrannical governments will be more willing as well. If Obama hadn’t said anything, it would have led to a worse situation, but because he spoke up without a solid foundation from the people, it’s probably going to be ineffective.
It is also going to show that international cooperation on weapons will be weaker. How will nations like Iran or N. Korea react when we threaten action if they continue with their nuclear arsenal?