George Will: Let’s remember that Iran is watching this red-line dance on Syria

posted at 11:21 am on August 26, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The Associated Press ran a rather uncharacteristic piece on Sunday about the several ways in which President Obama’s ideas and visions for foreign-policy accomplishments during his two terms are just not working out that well. Reality keeps butting its way in, and one analyst described the administration’s ensuing tentativeness thusly: “The president has not had a long-term strategic vision… They’re moving issue to issue and reacting as situations come up.” Obama is all about eschewing the United States’ unilateral powers in favor of the political safeties of a global coalition, and as another former Defense Department official put it, “Obama has sometimes equated ‘we have no leverage’ with ‘there’s no point to really doing anything.’”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often refrains, however, Iran has no intention of scaling back on their nefarious nuclear ambitions, and he’s been urging the United States to ramp up sanctions and let Iran know that they mean business. As George Will very aptly pointed out on ABC on Sunday, you can bet that Iran is paying plenty of attention to the President’s lack of follow-through on his big “red line” declaration about chemical weapons in Syria, and watching all of the hesitation with a very keen eye.

We have to read what he has said as he carefully stitched a loophole into what he said a year ago. He said, “a red line for us is when we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons being moved around or being utilized.” I don’t know what the metric ‘a whole bunch of’ is, but he can always say, ‘this is not a whole bunch of.’ … Our military is rightly leery of making a “gesture.” They’re not in the “gesture” business, and they have a feeling that that’s what they would be doing. Throwing, lobbing cruise-missiles, these stand-off weapons, that make us, what, feel good? Or look good? … Some people believe in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Klaus, the Loch Ness monster. Others believe in the international community. It’s a fiction. … Iran is watching this, that’s the big thing. Iran is watching this little dance of deadlines and red lines and deciding it doesn’t mean a thing.


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Lately I have the feeling the 100,000 dead in Syria is merely a prolog for a catastrophe of horrendous proportions.

rob verdi on August 26, 2013 at 11:25 AM

I don’t know what the metric ‘a whole bunch of’ is, but he can always say, ‘this is not a whole bunch of.’

You have to look at the “profit AND earnings ratios” to find out. Sometimes it’s difficult to decipher the meaning spewing out from the mouth of a moron with an IQ of 84.

Of course, nothing should be done in Syria so long as they’re killing each other at a pretty good clip. And Barky doesn’t have the power to just invade or attack anyone his little pea-brain can think up. There’s a group of cowardly douchebags called “Congress” that he has to get the okay from. Being cowardly douchebags, that’s not tough, but he still has to do it.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on August 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

When Iran gets ready to go full doomsday, maybe that will get zero’s attention.

But it’ll be too late.

tru2tx on August 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

George Will: Let’s remember that Iran is watching this red-line dance on Syria

And laughing at the arrogance, incompetence, and stupidity of a US President who was foolish enough and dumb enough to draw a red line like that.

Iran will be unimpressed by almost anything Generalissimo Dear Leader Commander-in-Chief Comrade O is likely to do. As will Putin and the rest of the bad guys running nation states in the world.

Lobbing a few cruise missiles at and/or dropping a few smart bombs on Assad and Syria to save face will not impress anyone. Rather it is a sign of weakness after all of that “red line” bluster.

farsighted on August 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Everyone, not just Iran, is watching. Drug cartels are watching. North Korea is watching. China is watching. Russia is watching. Every group with an ax to grind is watching. They all see the same clueless coward twirling in the wind. And they’re all saying thank you to the idiots that elected the Affirmative Action clown.

Flange on August 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Just because Obama drew a stupid red line in the sand doesn’t mean we should follow it up by getting involved in a situation which has no good outcomes for US interests.

If Obama had balls, no one would need to prove anything to Iran. As it is, they already know Obama is a paper tiger at best and an appeaser at worst.

DRayRaven on August 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM

We are watching the most incompetent, feckless, and naive leader on the global stage since Neville Chamberlain. Just as Chamberlain’s incompetence firmly set Europe on the path to WW2 – Barack Obama’s misplaced world view and contempt for the role of the US in that world is setting us on a catastrophic path.

What is most amazing is that it seems as if the President and key members of his foreign policy team hate the US and all it stands for more than our enemies do.

Athos on August 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Yes, Iran is watching this Kabuki…as is a good portion of the rest of the world…allies and potential adversaries as well.

In the Middle East, Russia and China are holding all the good cards…and Obama tells the region not to call his bluff.

Both Russia and China are using their power and doing so mostly sub rosa…and sticking to what they promise.

We?

Not so much.

Look to Iraq…as this Syria imbroglio develops further.

Baghdad is just one false move away from turning the entire country into either another Saddam regime with three-piece suits, or a Shi’ite caliphate wherein no non-Shias will be safe…anywhere.

Because “we won” and we just had to get out of Iraq because Obama said so.

And, Iran is watching that very closely as well.

One cruise missile splashing down in Damascus…and Iran will not stand by and do nothing.

One dead Russian officer or advisor, and the tune changes…fast.

This is the result of drawing “red lines” and making pronouncements hoping against hope that such would dissuade all the bad actors into compliance.

Realpolitik this is not.

coldwarrior on August 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Because Valerie is not accountable.

meci on August 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Good point.

Oh wait – Obama has just made a statement: “present”

jake-the-goose on August 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

This elaborate foreign policy kabuki dance serves no useful function. The idea that our taking sides in the Syrian civil war is going to convince Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions is just another example of how our foreign policy elites have no clue what they’re doing. They encourage us to meddle without making us any safer.

Whatever happened to the old fashioned notion that when a country is giving you trouble, you deal with it directly? In the Cold War, we had to fight proxy battles. Nuclear weapons and all that. But Iran is not the Soviet Union, and so Syria’s domestic troubles should not be used as a proxy for dealing with it.

Pincher Martin on August 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Everyone, not just Iran, is watching. Drug cartels are watching. North Korea is watching. China is watching. Russia is watching. Every group with an ax to grind is watching. They all see the same clueless coward twirling in the wind. And they’re all saying thank you to the idiots that elected the Affirmative Action clown.

Our response to what’s going on in Syria won’t change a thing with any of those actors you mention.

Pincher Martin on August 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Iran knew Obama was a big pu$$y long ago. They don’t need to see the Obama two-step to know they could easily scare him back to any position they want.

portlandon on August 26, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Some people believe in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Klaus, the Loch Ness monster. Others believe in the international community. It’s a fiction.

I’m stashing this one, for use at just the right moment…

JohnGalt23 on August 26, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Everyone, not just Iran, is watching. Drug cartels are watching. North Korea is watching. China is watching. Russia is watching. Every group with an ax to grind is watching. They all see the same clueless coward twirling in the wind. And they’re all saying thank you to the idiots that elected the Affirmative Action clown.

Flange on August 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM

They watched the after effects of the Boston bombing and read about the NSA spying on everyone, not stopping the attacks. Our enemies know EXACTLY what sort of clueless idiots run the show here and they make plans accordingly.

Mr. Will, Zero will allow Iran to have nukes. Israel needs to come to grips with that.

dogsoldier on August 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

That was worth watching just to hear Cookie Roberts saying that UN permission isn’t needed to go to war against Syria as long as Obama gets “some sort of international sanction…”

Remember the good old days when liberals claimed that W didn’t have enough of an international coalition against Iraq.

Regardless, liberals have now claimed that UN authorization is no longer needed for going to war.

blink on August 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

The UN and its backers have an unwritten rule that they are to police the actions of US Republican presidents. Democrat presidents can pretty much do what they want.

thebrokenrattle on August 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Nobody is watching anymore, they all got the measure of Dog Eater years ago and quickly understood him to be a feckless, cowardly loser.

The evidence is all around, rogue states and despots are doing as they please knowing that Bark’s steel spine will provide a “flexible” response. Honestly I think we’re lucky that more regional conflicts haven’t broken out, conflicts that have been historically kept in check through fear of U.S. intervention.

Bishop on August 26, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Preponderance of the evidence about WMD’s was never good enough for liberals about Iraq (yes, a preponderance of the evidence about WMD’s most certainly existed). That’s one of the reasons why the Bush administration oversold our confidence regarding the WMD issue.

blink on August 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Libtards like to ignore the fact that the UN accounted for and monitored Saddam’s WMDs BEFORE we invaded. Famous UN inspectors provided televised theater of UN convoys inspecting those weapons.

Libtards also like to ignore the reports those weapons were moved to Syria.

dogsoldier on August 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Regardless, liberals have now claimed that UN authorization is no longer needed for going to war.

blink on August 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

It never was, but congressional approval IS required.

dogsoldier on August 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

They watched the after effects of the Boston bombing and read about the NSA spying on everyone, not stopping the attacks. Our enemies know EXACTLY what sort of clueless idiots run the show here and they make plans accordingly.

dogsoldier on August 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

This isn’t going to end well for us, I fear.

hawkeye54 on August 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Think about this:

His most trusted advisor: Valarie Jarret
His National Security Advisor: Susan Rice
Defense Secretary: Chuck Hagel

Where in the best of hands people.

WisRich on August 26, 2013 at 11:53 AM

It never was, but congressional approval IS required.

dogsoldier on August 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

F**kin’ A…

JohnGalt23 on August 26, 2013 at 11:55 AM

The moo-la’s look at Barky Carter and laugh and laugh and laugh…

Bruno Strozek on August 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Where s/b We’re

WisRich on August 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

You forget that the real “President of the U.S.” is Iranian.

CrazyGene on August 26, 2013 at 12:02 PM

What long term purpose is being served by such an attack? Having Al-Qaeda and their allies in power in Damascus doesn’t sound like a good idea. Assad is a far better bet with a proven track record of not attacking his neighbors.

The rebels have promised to attack Israel which sounds like a recipe for disaster.

“we are in the occupied Golan Heights, which the traitor Hafez Assad sold to Israel 40 years ago. These lands are blessed and the despicable Assad family promised to liberate them, but for 40 years the Syrian army did not fire a single bullet. We will open a military campaign against Israel. We will fire the bullets that Assad did not and we will liberate the Golan.”

- America’s allies in Syria

sharrukin on August 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Everyone notices the big mouth with nothing to back it up. All of them – friends and enemies alike – will act accordingly.

RadClown on August 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM

…and laughing to the point of hyperventilation.

slickwillie2001 on August 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM

The British might be getting the idea that they can take back America and finally get the tea tax owed them!!

Deano1952 on August 26, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Regardless, liberals have now claimed that UN authorization is no longer needed for going to war.

blink on August 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Well, good, at least the liberals are now getting one thing right.

Shump on August 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

I have an idea, let’s give both sides all the arms they think they need, get out of the way, and hope there is no one left when the firing stops.

Tater Salad on August 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Regardless, liberals have now claimed that UN authorization is no longer needed for going to war.

blink on August 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Well, good, at least the liberals are now getting one thing right.

Shump on August 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

That’s only for democratic party presidents however.

slickwillie2001 on August 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM

blink on August 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Yes, you clarified what I wrote perfectly.

dogsoldier on August 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM

At this point with Syria, because of the feckless actions by President Obama, we lose regardless of who ultimately wins the Syrian Civil War.

Assad is a far better bet with a proven track record of not attacking his neighbors.

I know a number of Lebanese who would have a significant issue with that statement – and even more Israeli’s. Assad also provided a safe haven for the Baathist thugs who waged a terror war against the Iraqi people and coalition forces. One time, I thought he was a ‘chip off of the old block’ – given Assad pere callously killed over 30K in Homs in the 1980′s – but his son is proving to be even more despicable.

The worst part about this is not that Obama is unable to reverse his incompetent and feckless foreign policy – it’s that he still doesn’t see the need to change it…and our enemies know that philosophically he dislikes what the US stands for as much as they do.

Athos on August 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM

And Barky doesn’t have the power to just invade or attack anyone his little pea-brain can think up. There’s a group of cowardly douchebags called “Congress” that he has to get the okay from. Being cowardly douchebags, that’s not tough, but he still has to do it.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on August 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Barky will do, will continue to do, whatever action puts the US and our Allies in as compromised position and resources as possible. While claiming “it’s fair” and some other from among his lying jibberjabber.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Everyone, not just Iran, is watching. Drug cartels are watching. North Korea is watching. China is watching. Russia is watching. Every group with an ax to grind is watching. They all see the same clueless coward twirling in the wind. And they’re all saying thank you to the idiots that elected the Affirmative Action clown.

Flange on August 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM

I agree that those you mentioned there are watching. But I think Obama is their useful tool and that he does not — DOES NOT — have the best interests of the US in mind or intent.

I think they’re watching to seize the right moment with Obama’s ‘help’. Clueless underestimates his bad intentions.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM

I know a number of Lebanese who would have a significant issue with that statement

I don’t care about them.

– and even more Israeli’s.

Assad hasn’t gone to war with Israel. The rebels have promised to do exactly that. Assad has supported terrorism and so has Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc, etc.

They all support terrorism.

Assad also provided a safe haven for the Baathist thugs who waged a terror war against the Iraqi people

I don’t care about them.

and coalition forces.

Athos on August 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM

So did Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Pakistan, etc, etc.

There aren’t any good guys in the Syrian war. Just bad guys… and the best pick of the mangy lot is Assad. Al-Qaeda isn’t an improvement on Assad.

sharrukin on August 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM

with ‘there’s no point to really doing anything.’”

He’s not the leader around the world that he envisioned himself to be because he had an inflated vision of himself (he’s been delusional) from the very beginning, which was reinforced by a fawning media. He can’t just ram through his agendas and do an end run around other world leaders like he’s done with Congress. He better be very careful what he does as far as Syria is concerned, and he better be looking at the bigger picture if/when he makes a decision about whether or not to strike. He makes me nervous. He’s not a capable commander.

scalleywag on August 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

This isn’t going to end well for us, I fear.

hawkeye54 on August 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

No it won’t. Zero couldn’t care less and neither does the political/aristocratic class in DC. Until they get attacked. If two dimwits managed to paralyze half the state of Mass, imagine what a well equipped squad of terrorists could do in DC.

Don’t think our enemies haven’t drafted plans like that.

dogsoldier on August 26, 2013 at 12:55 PM

I don’t care about them.

Contemptible…

Assad hasn’t gone to war with Israel.

Actually he has, using Hizbollah as his proxy.

Al-Qaeda isn’t an improvement on Assad.

Which is why I repeat my opening line of that post – one line you apparently have a challenge in comprehending…

At this point with Syria, because of the feckless actions by President Obama, we lose regardless of who ultimately wins the Syrian Civil War.

When both sides are evil – there is no acceptable lesser of two evils.

The time is long past for US involvement or picking a winner – all that is left is to prepare for the ramifications of whomever ends up being the winner – neither will be a friend of the US.

Athos on August 26, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM

I agree with you that obozo is truly anti-American and a tool, just not their tool, I think his cabal would prefer to be in charge of a transformed America. If that fails then a destroyed America is their second option. These other groups are waiting for the right time, but not for his intentional help. His cluelessness stems from the notion that he and his cronies think they can manage all this without having a bigger badder group knock them off.

Flange on August 26, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Contemptible…

Cry me a river.

Assad hasn’t gone to war with Israel.

Actually he has, using Hizbollah as his proxy.

You mean those poor Lebanese desperate to kill Israelis I have no sympathy for?

As I said Saudi Arabia has also supports them as well as the PLO. They are called allies for some reason.

Al-Qaeda isn’t an improvement on Assad.

At this point with Syria, because of the feckless actions by President Obama, we lose regardless of who ultimately wins the Syrian Civil War.

There was no point in time when backing the rebels made sense. This crap always happens as it did in Libya, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, etc.

When both sides are evil – there is no acceptable lesser of two evils.

The time is long past for US involvement or picking a winner – all that is left is to prepare for the ramifications of whomever ends up being the winner – neither will be a friend of the US.

Athos on August 26, 2013 at 1:01 PM

And Assad is a better bet than Al-Qaeda. He has the support of the minority in Syria and that makes him weaker than the Sunni’s who would have the support of the majority and be dominated by Al-Qaeda and friends.

sharrukin on August 26, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM

I agree with you that obozo is truly anti-American and a tool, just not their tool, I think his cabal would prefer to be in charge of a transformed America. If that fails then a destroyed America is their second option. These other groups are waiting for the right time, but not for his intentional help. His cluelessness stems from the notion that he and his cronies think they can manage all this without having a bigger badder group knock them off.

Flange on August 26, 2013 at 1:01 PM

More as to why I wrote what I did at 12:40 PM is that, as “a useful tool” or even a silent partner, so to speak, with what I’d generalize as a global criminal org (Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, drug cartels, maybe Russia, China…Muslim Bros/Islam, Communism) is that Obama, Jarrett, their key cheerleaders, cabinet members, etc., these are the class-arrogance types who have long assumed they’re in some “untouchable” economic/academic/celebrity luxury and are due to retreat to various enclaves well stocked and protected regardless of the outcome of their wrong and anti-American deeds.

Meaning, they don’t fear the loss of the US but actually assume it’ll be a reward of their long-preached goals and ideology. So they’re, so to speak, “happy to help” those who are “watching and waiting” for the moment to strike against the USA.

Obama doesn’t seem too concerned with his legacy because, like the usual Communist/Marxist/sneakybas*ard, he knows the writing of that is under the control of the Left. And his future is well stocked because of his wealthy associates.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM

In “Audacity of Hope” he writes: “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” The quote comes from page 261 of the paperback edition of “The Audacity of Hope.

His goals, intents and desires are not with the national security and defense of the USA. And that applies to the people he has chosen as his Cabinet and advisers.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 1:25 PM

In all honesty I don’t really care what the Iranians think. They are inferior nation without a chance of hell of winning anything, with a traditional history of losing. A sort of Islamic version of France.

Obama has made as ass of himself with this red line business, but he would make the right decision if he stayed out. I am worried that some conservatives are being drawn into this debate only to be set up to look like Republicans (see McCain, others) want to get involved in Syria, That way Precious can then portray himself as the one who kept us out, even though he already has sort of got us involved by arming the wrong side.

Just look at the polls and see what a winner that would be. Note to Conservatives, stop talking about Syria, or at least don’t criticize Obama for not getting involved. Let Obama sink himself on this one…

William Eaton on August 26, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM

It sounds like we’re basically in agreement, with any differences being in the smaller details.

Flange on August 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM

It sounds like we’re basically in agreement, with any differences being in the smaller details.

Flange on August 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM

DITTO.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Syria can solve its own conflict.

Obama allowed Iran to settle its own crooked power schemes without intervention.

Enough dying for ingrate Muslims.

profitsbeard on August 26, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Army Major Hassan would make a better president than this Affirmative Action- boosted jackanapes. Unfortunately when you bluff in life (red line on chemical weapons, there is always someone who will call your bluff and then you are faced with a no win situation.

1 Fold when your bluff is called and cause you country to lose respect and look like a blustering coward.
2 Pitch the United States into a no-win scenario in a none-of-our business civil war where BOTH sides are as evil as Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th. fame. This will cost American lives. Subject us to criticism every time a civilian croaks. Wind up costing multi-billions for NO return on our investment. 4 Plus we will be presented the wreckage bill and be ordered by the UN to pay for reconstruction of damaged infrastructure. And all this accruing to a nation 17 trillion dollars in debt (and counting) and with both Army and USMC being emasculated by Political Correctness.

There are times, when your bluff is called when you MUST walk away with your tail dragging between your legs. But why bluff in the first place?

MaiDee on August 26, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Gee this is a tough one???

Assad Regime versus Islamic Terrorist and one side being accused of using chemical weapons.

Can’t they both lose.

This reminds me of the Iran/Iraq War it was a win/win also.

The only winning strategy is to stay out of it (or only send George “the fop” Will.

Natebo on August 26, 2013 at 5:59 PM