Obama’s Syria policy: Weak in review


20130914.syriandolls

Whew, it’s been a while since I did an original political cartoon.  We’ve seen some really terrible developments in American foreign policy this past week or so.  President Obama laid down a “red line” on Syrian chemical weapons use more than a year ago.  Then, last week, he denied setting a red line.  Per the Commander in Chief, the international community set it.

This week, Secretary of State John Kerry assuaged domestic doves and foreign foes as to how “unbelievably small” a U.S. strike on Syria would be.  Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal went to town on that one.

In a glowing review of the President’s Tuesday night prime time speech, Walter Shapiro denied cheerleading for Obama.  This is hardly credible given how extraordinarily painful and opaque the White House’s waffling military machinations have been.

The Commander in Chief about-faced when Russia supplied an out consisting in Assad’s vow to allow inspection and destruction of his massive chemical weapons stockpile.  National security expert Max Boot pointed out the dim prospect of such a solution.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled a world leadership coup with his New York Times op ed.  After reading it, New Jersey senator Bob Menendez confessed that, “I almost wanted to vomit.”  I think this graphic is a little more palatable, and totally apt.

Steve Kelly, Townhall.com

America has for her Commander in Chief that kid who gets picked last for sports games, the one who bullies turn upside down to shake out his lunch money.  Putin was a KGB hot shot; Obama was a community organizer.  This is not good.

When I was in college, literally learning about the politics of peace and war, I was introduced to Win, Lose, or Draw: Domestic Politics and the Crucible of War.  After conducting some game theory research, author Alan Stam recommended a simple strategy for dealing with unfriendly regimes: tit-for-tat.  It’s like the eye-for-an-eye of international relations.

The simple lesson that every American president should remember is this: clear and consistent communication is indispensable to the national security interest.  Speak loud, and carry a big stick; make the other side think you’ll use it.  What the Obama administration has done instead is the opposite.  American officials have telegraphed a lack of resolve, betrayed a sense of hesitation, vacillated between options, and came ill-prepared to the bargaining table.  Our Ship of State must survive three more years with an incompetent helmsman.

American foreign policy hasn’t seen such tragedy and disgrace since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.  I mean it when I ask, pray for the wisdom of America’s leaders.

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About Lewis W
I earned an M.A. in Christian apologetics at Biola University, and occasionally write on ethics, truth, science and politics.

5 Responses to Obama’s Syria policy: Weak in review

  1. Way to effectively capture the sentiment going on. Did you see my Syria article?

    • Thanks. I sure did see your Syria piece, it was good writing. I’m not closely following the facts on the ground about FSA, Al Qaeda, and who is culpable. And I don’t hold out much hope for a UN investigation. Anything new you’ve seen?

      Still, I can speak to the White House bungling.

      • I have a friend there who also gave me some info. But I think you’re right on the bungling – Obama is happy to take the “way out” of his political jam by appearing as a “diplomatic” leader. Even though he knows as well as most of us do that Putin is playing him.

  2. Teddy Roosevelt’s comment on foreign policy, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” is interesting as it applies to this president and this situation. I think of how some teachers in an unruly classroom can get their students to quiet down and listen by whispering instead of shouting. But only if the students have enough respect and admiration for the teacher to realize they might be saying something important that they wouldn’t want to miss. Because it will affect them.

    I do pray for our president and other leaders, because they need it. Any president would. But especially because I don’t believe he commands the respect and admiration someone with more strength and faith and wisdom regarding human nature would.

    Great cartoon. Love it. Very appropriate.

  3. jungleboy says:

    Great cartoon and insightful article. I understand that the Syrian situation is difficult, but I do not understand why our president, and our foreign service, have vacillated so much. Rather than an African warrior with a strong stick and quiet voice of Teddy Roosevelt’s imagination, we’ve been like a querulous child with a lollypop. Our allies, and our enemies, remain unimpressed.

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