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Right Turn
Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 06/14/2012

Obama’s Syrian paralysis explained

The clown show that is Obama’s foreign policy has struck again. Maybe Secretary of State Hillary “I-made-myself-clear” Clinton got it wrong on the Russian helicopters. The New York Times headline blares: “Copters in Syria May Not Be New, U.S. Officials Say.” Oh swell. The Russians can get on their high horse about Clinton’s imprecise hectoring. It seems Clinton can’t even competently put Russia on defense.

Now some think there is a method to the Keystone Kops routine. Aaron David Miller writes:

“The American agenda on Syria completes the circle. Sure, the president is outraged by [Bashar al-] Assad’s brutality, and yes he’d like to do more. But bad options and electoral politics provide little incentive or leeway for heroics on Syria. The president is more focused on the perpetuation of the House of Obama than on the fall of the House of Assad. And rightly so. Americans are tired of costly military interventions, and the election is going to turn not on foreign policy but on the economy. And the Republicans can’t find a way to make political hay from an Obama foreign policy that on balance has been smart and competent.”

Wow. Let’s get the last line out of the way first. This has been one of the least smart and least competent foreign policy crews in history. I’ll refer to my list of flubs, misjudgments and incoherent episodes.

But it is, I suppose, refreshing to see the Obama administration’s reasoning so boldly stated. What are thousands of Syrians, the survival of Iran’s closest ally, and the humiliation of the United States in the face of Russian opportunism when Obama’s election is at stake?

Leadership in the Obama administration is synonymous with self-preservation. If there are hard choices or, goodness gracious, the need to explain the stakes to the American people, then all the more reason to hide under the bed.

I’m hoping Miller is being sarcastic (or channeling what he thinks the president and his advisers are telling themselves), but either way I think he has nicely encapsulated the attitude of a president who doesn’t give a fig about America’s standing in the world if it doesn’t inure to his benefit.

And by the way, it is precisely for this reason that despite the fond hopes of the administration’s defenders, it is almost certain that Obama will never act militarily against Iran. The House of Obama or the nuclear-armed House of Khamenei? It’s not even close.

By  |  11:45 AM ET, 06/14/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign, foreign policy, National Security

 
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