Syria minus the US equals regional power struggle

posted at 5:31 pm on June 17, 2012 by J.E. Dyer

One thing Barack Obama’s presidency has done is lay bare just how little the world has changed.  There has never been any such thing as a global “safe space” created by sunny international consensus, and there never will be.  There is power and safety, and there is weakness and peril.  If the US is using power to guard “safe spaces” – territory on which the people have choice and opportunity, unprejudiced by someone else’s use of power – then safe places exist.  If we are not guaranteeing them, they don’t.

We are not guaranteeing right now that Syria can operate in a safe space and make choices based on what her people want.  This is something we still have the power to do, although it would be harder to jump in now than it would have been 15 months ago.  It need not necessarily involve using the US military on Syrian soil, and would be better, in my view, if it didn’t.  Even if it did, however, an intervention with a partial military aspect is not beyond our power.

Such an intervention does require deciding what US interests are.  That is probably the biggest task the Obama administration has declined to complete.  It isn’t really possible to discern what Team Obama thinks our interests are; given our passivity as Iran and Russia dispatch weapons shipments to Syria, and our seeming encouragement of shipments to the rebels from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, what it looks like is that the Obama administration thinks a bloody civil war would be the best outcome.  Others may assume cynically that that’s an accurate read, but I don’t see it that way.  What I detect in operation is the terribly short-sighted ignorance of the 1960s radical, whose gift to mankind was rewriting history in 25 words or less.

American interests

What are US interests in Syria?  I would define them as follows (not ranked, merely numbered):

1.  Removal of the Assad regime – peacefully, to the extent possible – in favor of a new government with consensual, democratic features; understanding that Syria will not create an exact replica of either the US Constitution or a European-style parliamentary democracy.  The objective should be ensuring, as much as possible, tolerance of religious, political, and ethnic differences within a unified national polity.

2.  Separating Syria from Iran.  Syria’s new government should not be a client of Iran.  The current situation is not good for anyone else in the region, and it is certainly not good for Syria.  Representatives of the radical Iranian regime packing their bags, and leaving on the next plane out, is the desired consequence.

3.  Ensuring against an Islamist takeover of Syria.

4.  Guaranteeing that post-Assad Syria has independence from Russia and Turkey.  This doesn’t mean Syria won’t deal with Russia and Turkey; it means she will have options other than turning to them for her security.

5.  Containing, for the region, the consequences of regime-change in Syria; principally for Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq.  Under this heading, giving Hezbollah nowhere to run is one of the key objectives.  Rather than passively waiting for a realignment of regional terrorists, assist other governments – including Egypt’s – with keeping their territory inhospitable to Hezbollah.

6.  Protecting our general interests in the region, such as the maritime freedom and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean, the safety of the Suez Canal, the observance of the Israel-Egypt peace accord, the security of our NATO allies and Israel, and preventing the rise of a regional hegemon (e.g., Turkey or Russia) whose interests would be likely to run counter to ours.  The last should be done less by confronting the aspiring hegemons than by offering the option to everyone else in the region of independence from them.

No international power struggle is ever settled once and for all.  Most of the time, sound national-security policy is a matter of encouraging good and useful trends and discouraging the inevitable bad ones.  Fortunately, doing the former is an excellent method of making progress on the latter.

But what we see in Syria today is a pristine example of what happens when the US is not proactively and consciously engaged in these activities.  We may have military force deployed all over the lot, but without a positive focus on current problems, it is a rote activity.  Over time, it becomes dedicated, by default, to preserving whatever force structure and purpose we developed to address the last crisis.  That’s what is happening now, as Russia and Iran zero in on Syria – whose fate will dictate much of the geopolitical conditions of the future – while the US is preoccupied elsewhere.  Keeping escort ships, and perhaps an intelligence-collecting submarine, off the Syrian coast is not a method of influencing the outcome in Syria; it is only a method for detecting things done by others, and perhaps reacting in a very limited way.

What we will get instead

A sensible national-security posture would entail trying to influence developments in Syria.  In the absence of that posture on the part of the US, the region’s illiberal regimes will determine the outcome there.  None of them is pursuing an interest consonant with those of the United States.  Moreover, there is no such option as leaving Syria to her own devices.  Deciding against an active role in the Syrian problem means leaving Syria to Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and whatever non-state jihadists can get a toehold in the internal conflict.

Russia and Iran are arming Assad, because they want to retain their client-based position in the Eastern Med, with its aspect of a hinge-point between East and West.  Saudi Arabia and Qatar are arming the Syrian rebels, because they want to achieve a victory in Syria that both thwarts Iran and establishes them and their brand of state Islamism in the ascendant.  Turkey is helping them deliver the arms (see UK Independent link above), because if the choice is between bolstering a Saudi-led effort and an effort in which Iran and Russia are paired, Erdogan will choose the former.  No Saudi coalition can, under present conditions, challenge Erdogan’s regional vision for Turkey, but Russia and Iran can.

The civil war developing in Syria is not a war for the good of the Syrian people.  It’s a war for the influence of outsiders over Syria and the Eastern Med.  It’s not as simple as “Sunni Saudi Arabia and Turkey versus Shia Iran,” nor is it as simple as “Russia has a port in Syria.”  There are multiple factors at work, one of which for Russia is that Iran, radical as she is, is a client and a devil Russia has cards to play against, whereas Sunni Salafists are already a major security problem for Russia, and would only gain courage and momentum from participating in a victory in Syria.  Russia doesn’t want Turkey to be “the winner” in the Syrian outcome either, largely because such a victory would encourage Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman aspirations and empower his bid for leadership in geopolitical Islamism.

The Saudis, meanwhile, badly need a Saudi-sponsored victory to consolidate their stature with Muslims throughout the Middle East and South Asia.  Jihadists despise the Saudi regime, considering it sclerotic, corrupt, and sold out to the West.  Abdullah of Jordan has similar problems, but these monarchs and the Emir of Qatar would have an important and prestigious victory in kicking the non-Islamist Assad out of Syria, in favor of a regime in which their brand of Islamists could obtain central power.  (It is a serious question, of course, how well they could control follow-on developments.)

What we are seeing in Syria is the regional jockeying I predicted in 2009 in my blog series “The Next Phase of World War IV” (including parts two, three, and four).  Part of the ultimate objective is what I have called the “Race to Jerusalem”:  the competition among Islamist groups and governments to plant the flag of Islam in Jerusalem and claim justification for leading the caliphate.  Gaining strategic position around Israel is a key element of this competition, and Syria is one of the most important geographic redoubts.  Neither the armed states Iran or Saudi Arabia, nor the non-state jihadists among the Syrian rebels, will give Syria up without a fight.

But Russia won’t sit by either and let one brand of Islamism assume control of Syria without a Russian say-so.  This stance has made Israel, Russia, and Greece allies of convenience, since the worst outcome from the perspective of any of them is a Sunni Islamist takeover of Syria, which would encourage terrorists and probably empower Erdogan.

Reality bites

None of this would be foreordained if the US took an active role in fostering the best future for Syria.  It is important for Americans to understand that the more we recuse ourselves from the conflict in Syria, the more its outcome is guaranteed to be determined by a foreign power at the expense of the Syrian people.  We have just about reached the stage at which what’s going on in Syria is not a “Syrian civil war,” but a proxy war between regional powers, whose objectives will frustrate, and in some cases even defeat outright, every single one of the US interests in the Syrian crisis.

Civil war; children and old people mowed down like animals; arms and paramilitary troops flooding into the country; ruthless power struggles between corrupt despots on third-party territory – this is your world, when American power isn’t being exercised.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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1. Removal of the Assad regime – peacefully, to the extent possible – in favor of a new government with consensual, democratic features; understanding that Syria will not create an exact replica of either the US Constitution or a European-style parliamentary democracy. The objective should be ensuring, as much as possible, tolerance of religious, political, and ethnic differences within a unified national polity.

That’s a fantasy. I’ve never disagreed with you so completely. :)

Axe on June 17, 2012 at 5:35 PM

J.E….

… a question.

Obowma has left complete and total waste in his wake as POTUS…

… He is incompetent, narcissitic, surrounded himself with marxist/socialist who have no real world experience, only knows how to re-read speeches off his teleprompter, and ask for money.

How could Obowma add anything positive to this situation…?

Seven Percent Solution on June 17, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Psst:

Obama is a worthless waste of skin. His interests are his own. He will send food stamps.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 5:51 PM

I hope both sides kill each other off completely, I hate thugs and theocrats.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 5:52 PM

What nobody is really talking about (becasuse it might hurt its re-election), is the fact that Russia is sending military aid to the Assad regime.

And preezey plays teh golf. Who da man?

Answer: Not. Obama.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Hey, you whackjobs on the Progressive left…….

Doesn’t the “interventionist” U.S. Foreign policy of Baracka Obama sound an awful lot like that of the idjit Bush?

just checkin’.

PappyD61 on June 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM

If Syria threatens US national security, let’s just stop messing around and nuke them already. Otherwise, if anybody wants to get involved, plane tickets are available, at your own expense, of course.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Answer: Not. Obama.Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM

That makes a helluva bumper sticker.

VegasRick on June 17, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Oh, and can I get a witness in the Amen corner of MSNBC that is going to go all bat bleep crazy on Obama and Hillary for shilling for justifiable intervention over dead civilians?

Oh they did scream and holler what that evil Bush was a “war criminal” for going into Iraq and Afghanistan?

But just crickets from Maddow, Schultzie and Morning Joe GOP-Ho.

PappyD61 on June 17, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Syria has been in the Russian sphere as long as I can remember, of course they’re arming Assad, just like the USA arms Saudi Arabia, which finances a lot of the Islamic terrorism and recruiting around the world.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 5:59 PM

There doesn’t seem to be any “good” side to these wars. What will the guy who wins in Egypt do to/for the country — they never seem to follow their pledges; their only goal is to get rich and visit casinos and have lots of women.

Who won in Libya, are there great reforms going on? I believe they are still rooting out Gaddafi followers.

The only positive thing that has happened in Iraq is increased oil production and no American deaths. They are still killing each other. This is what we have to look forward in Afghanistan.

KenInIL on June 17, 2012 at 5:59 PM

3. Ensuring against an Islamist takeover of Syria.

Not-going-to-happen.

Placed in evidence: the purity of secular Muslim Bros in Eqypt.

Just let Israel nuke them, get it over and move on.

PappyD61 on June 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Syria has been in the Russian sphere as long as I can remember, of course they’re arming Assad, just like the USA arms Saudi Arabia, which finances a lot of the Islamic terrorism and recruiting around the world.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 5:59 PM

I think the point of this post is that America is without a leader. He bizzy.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:02 PM

I think the point of this post is that America is without a leader. He bizzy.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Better to have Obama playing golf than getting the US involved in another civil war between two groups of people who are both the enemies of freedom and liberty.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:06 PM

The only reason D’s and R’s want to start another war is to distract from the sham the 2012 election is.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Civil war; children and old people mowed down like animals; arms and paramilitary troops flooding into the country; ruthless power struggles between corrupt despots on third-party territory – this is your world, when American power isn’t being exercised.

… I didn’t notice when it happened, but I can’t find anything in me that answers to that word-police argument.

[everything else redacted for being way overheated]

[must be too close: recusing myself]

Axe on June 17, 2012 at 6:08 PM

I don’t want a proxy war with Russia and we can’t afford it anyway. In tumultuous times like these wars can get out of control and turn into world wars.

Syria is Russia’s problem as far as I’m concerned.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Better to have Obama playing golf than getting the US involved in another civil war between two groups of people who are both the enemies of freedom and liberty.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:06 PM

So WTH is he doing in Africa?

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Meanwhile, the #Obamafail continues in Libya.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:14 PM

So WTH is he doing in Africa?

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Don’t expect me to defend Obamney, I don’t want anything to do with either one of them, and I don’t want anything to do with the thugs and Islamists in Syria, either, and certainly not as a means to distract the American people from the consequences of our own corrupt, out-of-control government.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Black Africans forced to eat Libya’s flag.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Meanwhile, the #Obamafail continues in Libya.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:14 PM

You have no idea how relieved the GOP was when Obama bombed Libya, changing the subject from spending cuts and debt ceiling increases to helping our new Al Qaeda allies advance their cause, cheered by McCain and Rubio among other GOP idiots.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:21 PM

More Obama Libya fail

He can’t afford to go to Syria.

He was a “community agitator”; now he’s a World Agitator.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Black Africans forced to eat Libya’s flag.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Yes, by the allies of Obama and the GOP.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:24 PM

You have no idea how relieved the GOP was when Obama bombed Libya, changing the subject from spending cuts and debt ceiling increases to helping our new Al Qaeda allies advance their cause, cheered by McCain and Rubio among other GOP idiots.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:21 PM

I don’t believe you. Rock, as I recall, going into Libya was an Obama idea, to divert attention from his own failing domestic agenda. This was on the heels of him ousting Mubarak. The man is a stupidiot. On that, I am certain we can agree.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Black Africans forced to eat Libya’s flag.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM
Yes, by the allies of Obama and the GOP.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:24 PM

OK, I get it now.

I still respect you but I hope you’re wrong, but something inside says you might be right. I dunno. I’m just trying to get out of this bizzarro world that a bunch of tards voted in in 2008. It’ll take decades to fix this sh*t.

I’m buying a barge.

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Ignoring the responsibilities of his job, one decision at a time.

The Rogue Tomato on June 17, 2012 at 6:29 PM

How about: Pay the Kurds a lot of cash, give them lots of small arms to smuggle to their cousins in Syria, and ask them to take the eastern part of Syria independent and grab as many of the phosphate mines as possible to get rid of Syrian chem/bio/nuclear source material?

That is just as workable as anything else, and puts a relatively fierce and competent ethnic group into the mix to start shaking up the old Shia/Sunni stuff and remind all the Arabs and Persians that they aren’t such hot stuff on the battlefield.

Once the idea of turning Iraq into a part of Greater Kurdistan starts to filter into things, then you will have a whole different set of worries… much better than these idiotic ones we have lived with for 30 years and more. Also easier to understand. But then that is playing global politics the old fashioned way and instead of trying to shape outcomes you shape events more to your liking and let the outcomes take care of themselves. And way easier to do than this ‘Nation Building’ stupidity that, at best, gives you one chance in six or seven of a semi-good outcome.

ajacksonian on June 17, 2012 at 6:30 PM

As of now, I plan on just not voting for President in November. But crap like this just might make me write-in for Ron Paul.

I am so sick of this Neo-Con buzzshnit.

sartana on June 17, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Why would any republican or anyone who has clue one about Islam would
want to get involved in Syria is beyond me.

Unless they want a repeat of the 2008 election in 2012….

William Eaton on June 17, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:25 PM

You’re wrong, there was little if any opposition from the Republican Party, aside from a few members of congress like Rand Paul, but there were cheerleaders like McCain and Rubio. The GOP didn’t raise a fuss, like you’d expect, because they were so relieved for the distraction from spending cuts.

You’re kidding yourself if you think Obama did it alone. Libya was and remains tacitly bi-partisan.

The Arab Spring and the bombing of Libya is what took attention away from the debt ceiling fight.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:27 PM

I wish I were wrong, too, but I don’t think so.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:41 PM

I wonder if anyone has looked at the Syria question from another perspective?

As bad as the death toll and misery is, Syria and Jordan are two holdouts against the rising tide of Sharia-driven Islamification of the Middle East.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

LizardLips on June 17, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Putin.

Bmore on June 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:27 PM
I wish I were wrong, too, but I don’t think so.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Well, you can swim up to my barge. If the GOP and the DNC and the UN approve. !

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 6:50 PM

I wonder if anyone has looked at the Syria question from another perspective?

As bad as the death toll and misery is, Syria and Jordan are two holdouts against the rising tide of Sharia-driven Islamification of the Middle East.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

LizardLips on June 17, 2012 at 6:46 PM

As bad as it is, I kind of agree with you. It seems no matter what we do, no matter who we back, no matter what is involved, it always comes down to some Islamist sect ending up ruling after we get done doing what we do.

And then everyone hating us anyway. Or we back the wrong guy, or we believe we can make a democracy out of bull crap. Or we give them money for the military only to see it swallowed by coruption.

Better we stay out of it for once and let the chips fall where they may. I’m tired of fighting over nothing.

Scoreboard44 on June 17, 2012 at 6:53 PM

We are not guaranteeing right now that Syria can operate in a safe space and make choices based on what her people want.

Why the hell should we? Are we suppose to be world dhimmi policemen to make the world safe for more shariah? This is an anti-American and anti-Western Civilization abomination. BTW, Muslim people want Islamic Law (Shariah) and Islamic world domination. If you want to “guaranteeing right now that Syria can operate in a safe space and make choices based on what her people want”, then go form your own private army and go over there and get to it. Good luck at getting many recruits for your cause in America. Don’t forget to write.

VorDaj on June 17, 2012 at 6:55 PM

“Our experience in Lebanon led to the adoption by the administration of a set of principles to guide America in the application of military force abroad, and I would recommend it to future Presidents. The policy we adopted included these principles:
1. The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest.
2. If the decision is made to commit our forces to combat abroad, it must be done with the clear intent and support needed to win. It should not be a halfway or tentative commitment, and there must be clearly defined and realistic objectives.
3. Before we commit our troops to combat, there must be reasonable assurance that the cause we are fighting for and the actions we take will have the support of the American people and Congress.
4. Even after all these other tests are met, our troops should be committed to combat abroad only as a last resort, when no other choice is available.” - Ronald Reagan!!!

VorDaj on June 17, 2012 at 6:58 PM

As of now, I plan on just not voting for President in November. But crap like this just might make me write-in for Ron Paul.

I am so sick of this Neo-Con buzzshnit.

sartana on June 17, 2012 at 6:31 PM

These Chickenhawks are mentally deranged. They hate America and they hate the troops. Ronald Reagan would kick them into Kingdom Come.

VorDaj on June 17, 2012 at 7:01 PM

I just can’t see any good outcome of our involvement in Syria. No national interest is served and, unfortunately, the brutality that is occurring is being committed by both sides. It really would be more in our national interest to have a secular regime in charge than one governed by Sharia. We are affected by the deaths of women and children in Syria, but must also realize those same women and, as they grow up, children would be equally happy committing the same atrocities on the families of the other side. At this point, I’d be more concerned that Syrian Christians and members of other faiths are able to get out safely because if the Sharia parties take over, they will be decimated.

… and expecting that anything Jugears would do could be helpful is a dream at best.

AZfederalist on June 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Any thoughts on this analysis about Syria vis a vis Russia?
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/michaelweiss/100165022/why-the-west-misreads-putin-on-syria/

onlineanalyst on June 17, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Any thoughts on this analysis about Syria vis a vis Russia?
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/michaelweiss/100165022/why-the-west-misreads-putin-on-syria/

onlineanalyst on June 17, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Syria is a proxy.

Russia seeks America’s defeat.

/ObamaGolf

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 7:25 PM

At this point, I’d be more concerned that Syrian Christians and members of other faiths are able to get out safely because if the Sharia parties take over, they will be decimated.

AZfederalist on June 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Exactly, and those minorities will suffer under Sharia. They in particular benefit from a secular regime. Perhaps the response to the Arab Spring should be to finally expel the terrorist Palestinian culture from Israel and let the refugees from the Arab Spring settle there instead, along with Israelis. Out with the bad, in with the good.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 7:28 PM

AZfederalist on June 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM

What’s the difference between Syria and Libya?

Shia and Sunni.

What sect does Obama subscribe to?

Key West Reader on June 17, 2012 at 7:28 PM

No sense taking sides since nobody is on ours. Arm the jihadis and those arms will be turned on us and Israel. Actually get rid of the dictator and the jihadis will slaughter the Christians before attacking Israel.

Laurence on June 17, 2012 at 7:33 PM

If anybody wants to get involved in new civil wars between crappy people on the other side of the world, vote for Obama or Romney.

What, you thought you had a choice?

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 7:37 PM

While the ruling class wants everybody to keep an eye on their right hand and watch them beat the war drums for Syria and Iran, Russian client states, people need to keep their eyes on the left hand instead.

Syria is no threat to us, but government corruption is.

FloatingRock on June 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Just waiting for the Muslim Brotherhood to gain more power in the region…
Muslim Brotherhood = Obama’s “Acorn” of the Middle East.

albill on June 17, 2012 at 7:54 PM

This essay is fantasy with no explanations as to how of anything.

We don’t get to determine Syria’s future and there will always be a regional power struggle. Better the devil we know than the one we don’t. We should stay out of Syria’s civil war and just hope that Assad wins rather than the death to America Muslim rebels. Assad, at least, was an ally during the Gulf war.

Chessplayer on June 17, 2012 at 7:58 PM

As Daniel Pipes says
Stay out of the Syrian Morass

Chessplayer on June 17, 2012 at 8:01 PM

JED, I am telling you right now that your (1) above will not happen: islamists win no matter what. Iran was another matter and Obama lifted not a finger.

I agree completely that the US under Obama is failing miserably in its foreign policy in every fashion. (Not to mention domestic policy.)

However, what kind of intervention could possible be taken to avoid a new sharia state from emerging?

Or do we save the country only to have it bite our feeding hand?

A conundrum.

Sherman1864 on June 17, 2012 at 8:32 PM

To the author (J.E.Dyer):

(1) How are going to convince the American people that we should get involved in Syria? The American people are for the most part still ticked off that we got nothing from our trillion dollar adventure into Iraq, not to mentions several thousand dead American soldiers. A majority of Americans want the U.S. to leave Afghanistan now. Many Americans don’t like the Islamic world, and Islam, and for good reason. They don’t want to see their limited supply of brave soldiers and money get wasted again in that part of the world.

(2) How are you going to pay for it? You may have not noticed but we have a “slight” budget problem in America today. I tend to think our debt problem is somewhat more important than Syria.

(3) How are you going to prevent the progressive left from taking advantage politically? The Iraq war was partially responsible for the 2006 and 2008 election debacles which gave us leftwing political rule in this country. You know it is hard enough trying to convince Americans that we need to reduce government spending at home when we are gallivanting around the Islamic world wasting trillions of tax dollars in order to save Muslims from each other.

(4) How are you going to prevent China from taking advantage? We have bigger problems in Asia where we have a militarily powerful and technologically sophisticated China growing bolder and more assertive each day. That part of the world is strategically far more important to the United States where we have real allies and friends, you know friends who don’t fly planes into our buildings and who actually want to fight for democracy, with secular constitutions/bill of rights, and freedom in their part of the world. We don’t have unlimited resources (money) and we don’t have unlimited brave soldiers (dead soldiers don’t win wars). Sometimes you have to pick and choose, just like we did in the Cold War.

Conclusion: I can give at least five more, but I will let you and others who read this digest the first four. You seem to think that money and soldiers grow on trees, and that we can solve all the problems in this world…Reality bites…we can’t…

William Eaton on June 17, 2012 at 9:46 PM

J.E.,

Your conclusions about Syria, like those of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio could not be more flat-on-its-face wrong and dangerously misguided.

A little dose of reality.

Cary on June 17, 2012 at 9:53 PM

…more leading from behind.

KOOLAID2 on June 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Then again, taking on iran nukes with Israel would put some very healthy fear into the region and beyond:

Boy would this make Obama look tough. Do the right thing and garner some votes?

Two birds with one stone.

Obama is desperate and maybe desperate enough to “evolve”
to this action.

Should he not act I think the new Romney president would.

Just the threat of a Romney presidency might chill our foes’ bones.

Hmm…reminds me of the transition from Carter to Reagan:

And all was needed was the change of administrations….

I wonder if Obama will take my advice?

Sherman1864 on June 18, 2012 at 3:40 AM

As a proxy to Iran it would be nice to see Assad fall.

And where can we contribute to get that creepy Obama face off the internet?

AshleyTKing on June 18, 2012 at 4:05 AM