Archive for Military Strikes

President Obama’s Syrian Quandary

Posted in Foreign Policy, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by authorcarloscardoso

The President has been hesitant to get involved in the Syrian civil war from the beginning. However during the heat of his re-election campaign in trying to sound strong on foreign policy he made an unnecessary blunder and declared that if the Syrian regime used chemical weapons it would be a “red line” that if crossed would draw United States military intervention. This statement along with his use of the same “red line” description for not allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons puts the credibility of the United States in question both with our friends and foes alike at a very dangerous time in the region. To do nothing makes us seem weak and to do something ineffectual or worse leading to unintended consequences such as starting a broader war in the region could be catastrophic.

The fact is that we have not intervened in the over two year civil war and to do so now would not be in our national security interests. Syria has been supported by the Soviet Union throughout the cold war and still is, as Russia has sent them arms to use in the fight against the insurgents. The facts are that our limited intervention as outlined by the White House will not change the strategic balance in the war. Assad’s forces have gained the upper hand after insurgent gains made by mostly Islamic militant fighters aligned and led by elements of Al Qaeda. This means that we would be facing a historically Russian ally with ties to Iran while supporting an Al Qaeda Islamist group, neither of which is in our interests.

The Syrian regime is financed by Iran and spreads arms to terrorist organizations in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories to Hezbollah and Hamas.  This has been true for many years and if we had been able to put together a coalition of moderate Syrian forces looking to bring liberty and arm them in the infancy of the insurgency then we may have been able to make a difference. We missed our opportunity and are left with no viable options outside of an all out invasion taking out the current regime, securing the weapons of mass destruction and trying to build a national consensus government in an area with no such history. The Middle East as it stands today is the haphazard partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after World War One which was the final defeat of the Muslim jihad that began in around 600 BC and led to the establishing of an Islamic Caliphate that spread from the Middle East to Africa and across most of Europe into Spain. What we are seeing now is the rise of Islamic power trying to once again conquer the lost lands and ultimately the whole world.

Our dilemma is if we do nothing we lose face in front of the whole world, emboldening our enemies and frightening our allies. However, given our current fiscal problems to launch a limited attack as outlined by the President with no reason to do so other than to save the President’s and the United States’ reputation is going to be a tough sell to the American people. The President knows there is nothing to be gained by his planned military action strategically and even more importantly politically here at home. His speech on Saturday seeking Congressional approval for a much more limited action than he began in Libya without seeking it then is nothing more than seeking political cover for his foreign policy failure. We should not be in this position where there is nothing to be gained and much could possibly be lost. It is another example of this President’s failed leadership.

The Congress will debate and vote on whether or not to authorize the limited use of force the President has planned. If they vote to not authorize the use of force the President said he still feels he has the authority to do so but the consequences will be his and his alone. If he fails to act America’s reputation will be irreparably harmed and the rise of radical Islam will be emboldened and Israel will be left feeling that they will have to strike at Iran alone before they can become a nuclear power. If they do authorize it and it turns out bad the President has political cover for the fallout if it leads to all out war in the Middle East.

 Unfortunately it will be up to the brave men and women of our Armed forces and the American taxpayers who are going to have to pay the consequences. The real national security issues would be if Syria was to fall and their weapons were to fall into the wrong hands, or Syria began smuggling chemical weapons and or advanced weaponry to Hamas and Hezbollah. The other is will Iran be allowed to become a nuclear power. Now with the specter of Iran on the horizon this situation grows exponentially in importance. None of this would have been necessary if it weren’t for the President’s political posturing and poor choice of words putting America’s reputation on the line when no national security interests were at stake