Friday, August 23, 2013

The suffering of Syria, the shame of America

The evidence suggests that Assad's regime did indeed employ chemical weapons against innocent civilians. This wasn't the first time and it probably won't be the last. 

Before Christmas, President Obama stated that Assad's use of CBRN weapons would constitute a 'red line' for America. His message was clear - America would react vigorously to a breach of this cardinal warning. But now that the line has been crossed, the very opposite has occurred. In a stunning, almost incomprehensible failure of American leadership, the Obama Administration has again relinquished the 'red line' responsibility to the UN. The President's intention is clear - 'we want nothing to do with this'. This policy requires no complex explanation from the masters of international relations theory. It's weakness. It's the descent of American resolve into a gutter overflowing with blood.

Today, for friend and foe alike, American 'red lines' are a joke.

Aside from the morality deficit inherent to his choice, the President's weakness bodes very badly for the political future of the Middle East. For a start, Iran's new President is likely (along with Israel) to pay little heed to US warnings over the Iranian nuclear program. Conflict has become more likely. In addition, as I recently noted with regards to Egypt, American power will be regarded with an even greater level of mistrust. In another sense, the collapse of American leadership will mean that regional sectarian hatreds are propelled with an increasingly unchecked vigor.

The children of Syria are paying an awful price for American impotence.

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