Spinning the Syrian spin again
By Mark Alexander
Let it never be said that Barack Hussein Obama's "foreign policy" has devolved as far into the realm of absurdity as possible.
I thought that a few weeks ago I'd said all that needed to be said about Obama's Middle East policies, in The Price of Appeasement and Tolerance, which spelled out Obama's profound policy nescience. Then again last week, I thought 'nuf said after The Syrian Gambit, a warning to Republicans that the only reason Obama was courting their approval for military strikes was to spread the blame if that attack escalated into something much larger.
But as Gomer Pyle used to exclaim, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"
In my last two columns, I argued that Obama's actions neither comport with overarching principles nor his supreme obligation to Rule of Law and his "oath" to both uphold and abide by our Constitution. Instead, for Obama and his Leftist NeoCom cadres, the only "calculus" is political, and every action is judged solely on its merit in pursuit of his statist agenda.
Obama came into last week planning a national address to convince Americans -- and Congress -- that the only way he, and thus the nation, could save face, in light of his errant "red line" assertion on the Syrian use of chemical weapons last year, would be to launch a military attack. (As you may recall, when a senator, Obama voted against attacking Saddam Hussein, who used chemical weapons to kill more than 100,000 civilians under his Kurdish genocide program.)
His speech was all ready for delivery, and then something else stupid happened before he could reach the podium on Tuesday night.
After Hillary Clinton left her spot as Team Obama's secretary of state, a position awarded her in return for her support of Obama in the '08 general election, Obama appointed John F. Kerry to that post, in return for Kerry giving Obama the 2004 keynote address slot at the Democrat National Convention -- which served as a launching pad for his 2008 presidential bid.
As you know, Clinton and Kerry have a proven record of foreign policy malfeasance, especially in the Middle East. Clinton's most notable failure was the murder of Americans at Benghazi and the cover-up that followed.
Now Kerry, trying to catch up to Clinton's idiocy with an offhand remark about Syria Monday, unwittingly saved Obama from having to make good on his attack plans. Answering a question about any diplomatic alternative to military action, Kerry said that Assad "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. But he isn't about to do it, and it can't be done."
The State Department dismissed Kerry's comments as a "rhetorical argument," but Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly seized upon it.
The brilliantly duplicitous and devious Putin, a former KGB dirty trickster who later was Director of the FSB (the KGB's successor), took Kerry's remark and converted it into a plan to save Russia's strategic naval port in the Mediterranean, located in Tartus, Syria. The future of that port has been in question since the Syrian civil war began two years ago, and should Bashar al-Assad lose control of Syria, the port would likely be closed. The Putin plan exonerates Assad from any punishment for using chemical weapons, and it preserves his dictatorship.
In effect, Putin threw Assad and Obama a lifeline, knowing that Obama would take his politically expedient bait after having backed himself into a corner with his now-infamous "red line" threat of military action.
The result? Putin has out-peaced the Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Obama has outsourced our policy in the region to Russia, under the pretense of a "diplomatic solution."
Two months ago Putin thumbed his nose at Obama and gave immunity to notorious traitor Edward Snowden. One month ago Obama cancelled a summit with Putin over that matter. Now Obama is kissing Putin's, uh, feet?
Must be "Russian Reset" version 5.0.
House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, explains: "Putin just put a hook and a line in the water and [Obama] grabbed it, swallowed it and now Putin is just going to sit there, play with him and jerk that around. All that is happening on the world stage and we are just looking weaker and weaker."
Indeed, Putin jerked Obama around again, with a New York Times Op-Ed chastising him for promoting "American exceptionalism." (Putin never outfoxed George Bush, but he has slain Obama.)
Russia's proposal turns the dispute over to the UN, which means a solution will rely on UN resolutions, UN weapons inspections and UN resources for rendering Assad's weapons neutral. For the record, chemical weapon agents and munitions are easy to produce, store and deploy, but very difficult to disarm and safely destroy, especially in the midst of a civil war.
So, Obama has agreed to pass the buck to the notoriously anti-American UN -- what could go wrong?
Consequently, Obama's Tuesday night address was much ado about nothing. As Ronald Reagan's former speechwriter Peggy Noonan concluded, "It was a time filler: The White House had asked for the time and had to fill it." Fox news analyst Brit Hume described it as "a speech in search of a purpose."
In fact, Obama's irresolute remarks amounted to a schizoid merger of two speeches, one announcing an imminent attack and another announcing a diplomatic solution. (That is Obama's MO -- feign adoption of both sides of any debate so that a wider audience of low-info voters think they heard what they wanted to hear.)
Notably, Obama flatly lied when he said his "predecessor had sidelined the people's representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force." George W. Bush sought and received resolutions from Congress on Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2002. The only president in the last decade who has launched a military assault without a resolution from Congress is Obama -- when he ordered strikes against Libya.
Now, according to my morning-after White House dispatch from Obama, he's taking full credit for the diplomatic solution and Syria's "agreement" with Russia's "plan," as if it were all part of his clever strategic blueprint.
Obama insists that Syria agreed to the Russian plan only because of the imminent threat of subjecting Assad to a "very limited" and "unbelievably small" pinprick for his regime's murderous gassing of more than 1,000 Syrian civilians, though he had already murdered more than 100,000 Syrian civilians with conventional weapons in the last two years. Of course, Obama's assertion assumes that he was going to get a pinprick vote in the House and Senate in support of that assault, which he clearly was not.
Playing along, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, breathing a sigh of relief that her House Democrats would not have to cast a vote against their own commander in chief, claimed, "The president using the credible threat of American military action to bring diplomatic solutions back to the table demonstrates the strength of his leadership and his willingness to exhaust every remedy before the use of force."
Kerry, also perpetuating Obama's ownership of Russia's diplomatic ruse, declared, "I had some conversations about this with my counterpart from Russia last week. We will be able to hold Bashar Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground, or any other prolonged kind of effort, in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort ... an unbelievably small, limited kind of effort."
But it's America's incredible shrinking world stature under Obama that has left us "unbelievably small." Only twice in the last century has a world power's status collapsed so precipitously without a hot war -- France's decline in 1940 and the USSR's disintegration in 1990.
With Obama and Kerry kowtowing to Putin, and now locked into his agenda with Syria, Russia sweetened the pot by announcing it would redouble the transfer of conventional weapons to Assad. Putin also announced the sale of Russia's S-300 air defense missiles to Iran. Oh, and he also affirmed that Russia would assist Iran in the construction of a second nuclear reactor at Bushehr.
What a deal!
Perhaps this falls into the "give me some space ... I'll have more flexibility ... after my election" file, as Obama requested from Putin protégé, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2012. Maybe Obama has now promised to give Putin the aforementioned Peace Prize as part of the deal. After all, he's handed Putin nearly everything else.
Even Democrats are describing Obama's policy as "incompetent," "bungling," "amateurish" and "feckless."
His editorial fans at The Washington Post wrote that Obama's "approach to Syria remains muddled," because of his "stumbling, improvised and often inconsistent explanations for why military action is needed and what effect it would have. And that was before Monday's dizzying pivot toward an ad hoc diplomatic initiative to place Syria's arsenal under international supervision."
The Post's editors lament, "When Russia seized on an offhand remark by Secretary of State John F. Kerry to launch the diplomatic plan Monday, the administration expressed deep skepticism that it was feasible. Now, having declared Bashar al-Assad's regime as criminal and the government of Vladimir Putin as obstructive, the White House appears prepared to make them its primary interlocutors in a long-shot bid to sequester the chemical agents -- something that Mr. Kerry on Monday said 'can't be done.'"
Given the timeline of Obama's assertions regarding Syria, to suggest his approach is "muddled" is kind.
It's no coincidence that the Comedy Central logo is a knock off of the Demo logo!
Meanwhile, the only thing proving to be worse for America's future than Obama's foreign policy is his domestic economic and social policy. The ObamaCare nightmare, now on the eve of its rollout, may be the final nail in the coffin of the so-called "economic recovery" we're now said to be in.
And Obama's failed Middle East policies have also diverted attention from his domestic scandals: Altering the Benghazi script so as not to derail his 2012 re-election bid; targeting of conservative political groups by the IRS; the NSA domestic-surveillance programs; the undermining of the nation's fabric with his "tolerance and diversity" agenda; the gutting of our national defense capabilities with his "Republican sequester"; his "Fast and Furious" debacle and Eric Holder's perjury in regard to the same; the fomenting of racial and ethnic disunity; and the rank promotion of economic classism to further divide and conquer the nation, ad infinitum.
However, despite the current degraded state of the nation under Obama, we will persevere and win the fight to preserve Essential Liberty. It is by the grace of God we were born in America, and I will never, ever take that blessing for granted!
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.