Obama’s Syria Doctrine: The Day After

A day after President Barack Obama said he would seek the approval of Congress before acting against Syria, Secretary of State appeared on CNN to disclose evidence exists showing Bashir al-Assad’s regime has used sarin gas against its citizens.

The Time For Intervention Has Passed
Steven Cook, a fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that the time for intervening in Syria has passed and that doing so now would be more dangerous.

There was a period “before the present pathologies took hold” when the conflict “was formerly an uprising against the brutality of a despot,” but things have changed.

“It has become a battle among sects and ethnicities over which group of Syrians should control the country; part of a fight for regional leadership involving Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Iran; and an extension of the battlefield on which al-Qaeda affiliates carry out their messianic violence,” he writes.

Now, he adds: “Unlike Yugoslavia, which ripped itself apart in the 1990s, Syria has no obvious successor states, meaning there would be violence and instability in the heart of the Middle East for many years to come.

The Consequences Of Obama’s Syria Statement
Foreign Policy magazine looks at the five big risks in Obama’s plan of action for Syria, including that Obama has now established a precedent for acting that will follow him the rest of his term and that it is likely American standing in the world will suffer.

In Israel, Obama’s Decision Is A Show Of Weakness, Not Strength
Avi Issacharoff of The Times of Israel contends that by failing to take immediate action against Syria for violating the “red line,” Obama has sent a message to Iran that it is unwilling to act decisively.

He says Obama’s hesitation to act, particularly when “Assad has no real capacity to substantially harm American interests” sends a signal to Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei “that the likelihood of this administration using military force against a country with Iran’s military capability are very low, if not nonexistent.”

A Failure To Get Congressional Approval Will Have Dire Consequences
John Judis of The New Republic says Obama’s decision to seek approval from Congress and fails, that it will have negative ramifications on both US standing abroad and on the very stability of the international system.

“If Obama loses in the House and does follow Cameron’s example by withdrawing the threat of military force, then America will have ceased to have a role in the war in Syria, and its power and influence elsewhere—which doesn’t depend on the sheer existence of planes and boats, but in the willingness in an extremity to use them—will also be diminished. That might be acceptable if the United States were Belgium, but the United States, for better or worse, is currently the only country capable of enforcing international norms—whether on chemical or nuclear weapons, or on gross violations of human rights, or on the subjugation of smaller countries by larger countries,” Judis concludes.

China, Russia Jeopardize Legitimacy Of The UN
Nah Liang Tuang of The Diplomat says that China and Russia’s intransigence on approving action against Syria places the credibility of the United Nations in the crosshairs.

“It is extremely regrettable that great powers like China and Russia cannot see beyond their economic and strategic realpolitik noses, choosing instead to neglect their principled obligations to punish WMD development and more critically, use. Ironically, it is in their long-term security interest to clamp down on WMDs because the latter’s proliferation could well result in blowback to those permanent UNSC members who previously backed international pariahs like Syria,” writes Tuang, who is a fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies.





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