Video: Will Obama give Assad a 45-day ultimatum first?

posted at 1:21 pm on September 6, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced his opposition yesterday to military strikes on Syria, at least as the situation stands now.  Instead, he pressed Obama to play out the string on diplomacy with a 45-day ultimatum to Bashar Assad to sign the chemical-weapons ban and presumably either give up or destroy his stockpiles.  New York Times reporter David Sanger told Morning Joe that Obama may end up trying that tactic (via The Corner):

The Obama administration might consider a plan involving an ultimatum to Syrian president Bashar Assad as a diplomatic alternative to U.S. military action, according to New York Times chief Washington correspondent David Sanger. Assad would be presented with a 45-day window to sign a chemical-weapons ban in order to avoid a missile strikes.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you see the president end up having to go some kind of version of that route,” Sanger said on Morning Joe today. “The idea was to basically put a diplomatic action and a test ahead of Assad before the U.S., and before the president, had an authorization for a strike.”

Host Joe Scarborough added that the 45-day window would also allow the U.S. “to actually come up with” an effective military plan if it was ultimately necessary.

Manchin and fellow Senate Democrat Heidi Heitkamp have already floated a resolution in the Senate to this effect, which complicates matters significantly for Obama.  Even if the Senate never takes up Manchin-Heitkamp, its very existence reminds both the Senate and the House of the rush to military action taken in this instance — and of the utter lack of action from Obama between his “red line” statement last year to the August 21st chemical-weapons attack now.  It raises three questions, each more embarrassing than the next to the White House:

  • Why hasn’t Obama already demanded this from Assad?
  • Why hasn’t Obama tried to rally the UN Security Council to demand this from Assad over the past year?
  • Why hasn’t Obama made Assad’s lack of support for the chemical-weapons ban a central issue?

If Obama wanted to force Russia and China to act, this was the play he should have made last year instead of boasting about “red lines.” Neither Russia nor China could have defended Assad’s nose-thumbing of this pact, and Obama might have had the upper hand internationally as a result.

Now, however, this is just another reminder of Obama’s lack of strategic and tactical thinking, both in diplomacy and military matters.  If Obama issues this ultimatum now, it won’t be seen as strength but as a further retreat.  Russia and China might play along anyway just to buy more time, but Obama can’t demand support on Tuesday for military action and then put the assault on hold for another 45 days and expect to hold even the thin support he has at the moment.  It would be a disaster — but the fact that he hasn’t even bothered to play this card is an almost equal political disaster, too.


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Maybe Asaad will sign the deal and appear more sane and magnificent than obama. In today’s real world fiction can’t keep up.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Video: Will Obama give Assad America a 45-day ultimatum first?

FIFY.

PappyD61 on September 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

obama and McCain’s buddies

The world jellied, against them. The NYT did a number on the crazies in DC.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Charlie H. Crist on a cross, it’s as if the entire cast of the Benny Hill show were installed as our current administration.

Bishop on September 6, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Now, however, this is just another reminder of Obama’s lack of strategic and tactical thinking, both in diplomacy and military matters. If Obama issues this ultimatum now, it won’t be seen as strength but as a further retreat. Russia and China might play along anyway just to buy more time, but Obama can’t demand support on Tuesday for military action and then put the assault on hold for another 45 days and expect to hold even the thin support he has at the moment. It would be a disaster — but the fact that he hasn’t even bothered to play this card is an almost equal political disaster, too.

obama is a disaster for the land/world, yet Schultz blames you, ‘haters’, while he ignores the fact that even OfA is against the war.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Beware cornered narcissistic sociopathic snakes.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Why hasn’t Obama already demanded this from Assad?
Why hasn’t Obama tried to rally the UN Security Council to demand this from Assad over the past year?
Why hasn’t Obama made Assad’s lack of support for the chemical-weapons ban a central issue?

Nice, Ed.

Maybe one of the GOPpers not busy selling out, will ask those questions.

kunegetikos on September 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Even good minds assume, erroneously, that obama has the best interests of the US and Israel in mind.

He does not.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM

A 45 day ultimatum? Could this perhaps be described as a “red line?”

/

Doomberg on September 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Sure Assad will sign the treaty and will show a fake destruction of his chemical weapons or just destroy a part of it…

mnjg on September 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Someone who gets it, word for word.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:33 PM

These are mnjg’s buddies

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Obama could just arrest Assad, like they did this guy.

bloggless on September 6, 2013 at 1:36 PM

“We have GOT to be the only country that sends out ‘Save the Date’ attack cards.” ~ Dennis Miller

Fallon on September 6, 2013 at 1:36 PM

If Assad is a monster for having USED CWs, then what does 45 days get you?

Will the dead arise from the ground?

It makes no sense in any context.

ajacksonian on September 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM

The Obama administration might consider a plan involving an ultimatum

And six months from now: “I didn’t set an ultimatum”

BobMbx on September 6, 2013 at 1:38 PM

“I never set an ultimatum, the WORLD set an ultimatum, Congress set an ultimatum, don’t look at me.”

Bishop on September 6, 2013 at 1:39 PM

If Obama wanted to force Russia and China to act, this was the play he should have made last year instead of boasting about “red lines.” Neither Russia nor China could have defended Assad’s nose-thumbing of this pact, and Obama might have had the upper hand internationally as a result.

You don’t issue 45-day ultimatums when you have five destroyers and an LPD off the coast and an aircraft battle group within striking distance.

That isn’t the way gunboat diplomacy works. If Obama wants Assad to sign a chemical weapons ban he goes on television Tuesday and tells him that he needs to sign by noon DC time on Wednesday with international teams allowed in to begin destroying the chemical weapons no later than Friday. Otherwise bombs away.

Happy Nomad on September 6, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Instead, he pressed Obama to play out the string on diplomacy with a 45-day ultimatum to Bashar Assad to sign the chemical-weapons ban and presumably either give up or destroy his stockpiles.

This is called making it up as you go.

Manchin is also trying to soften the blow of his no vote.

They are trying to pull some plays out of the Bush I and II playbook, modifying them on the fly for the occasion — saving Dear Leader’s dignity and honor.

How about taking another shot at getting the UN on board, too? Something to do during that 45 day “ultimatum”.

Amazing what Comrade O is putting the nation through just to salve his wounded pride and ego.

How dare Assad defy him. That is, assuming it was Assad himself and not some of the Islamists he is fighting or a rogue element in his own armed forces.

farsighted on September 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Obama’s waffling has brought the US Presidency down to the level of a UN clerk.

Disgusting.

portlandon on September 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM

There gonna lose the vote.

rob verdi on September 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Let us remember folks that it took the welfare queens agitator playing President 4 days to decide on taking 4 Somali pirates stranded on a small boat in the middle of the sea… The man is simply incapable of leadership…

mnjg on September 6, 2013 at 1:44 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei1HnWwzmNk

SIGH I miss this man

gophergirl on September 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

It raises three questions, each more embarrassing than the next to the White House:

Why hasn’t Obama already demanded this from Assad?
Why hasn’t Obama tried to rally the UN Security Council to demand this from Assad over the past year?
Why hasn’t Obama made Assad’s lack of support for the chemical-weapons ban a central issue?

Because it sounds way to similar to how Bush dealt with Saddam Hussein, and because everybody knows that the we elected the Red Lyin for his hope, change, and “Smart Diplomacy”.

RushBaby on September 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

“Everybody…I mean everybody but the useless French is behind me…Hipster…You have already messed your женский (petticoats) on the world stage with silly boasts of crayola lines…Here’s how I will help you out of your current embarrassment…and What I want in exchange for my trouble…Have another Vodka…” Putin to Obama in private meeting at the Summit.

workingclass artist on September 6, 2013 at 1:46 PM

There gonna lose the vote.

rob verdi on September 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Badly.

gophergirl on September 6, 2013 at 1:47 PM

For the record, I am totally against any action by the United States against the Assad regime.

Under the current circumstances, what sort of nut case would be in favor of taking down a secular government and replacing it with jihad unleashed?

That said…

If you, as President of the United States, have convincing evidence that a nation or a nation’s leadership is embarked on mayhem against the United States or a treaty-bound ally, or has already cried havoc…and the dogs are a comin’…then you do what you have to do without delay. And be willing to 100% accept the consequences afterwards.

Hit ‘em. Hit ‘em hard. Hit ‘em to such a degree that they’ve no option but to capitulate. Dust yerself off. Get the hell out of there. Job done.

Never in the entire history of the United States of America has a President made a very public threat, acted all gangsta tough, and then waffled and backed down, promising that he’d get even tougher, later…mayber next week…if that’s OK with the bad guy…and then he’d onlty slap him around a little, maybe if that was needed…and then only if everybody else approved…and there’d be no hard feeligns.

Barry…you f’n dumb azz…you built this entire sitation we have today.

It wasn’t the GOP.

It isn’t Congress.

It is not the fault of the American people.

No.

You shot your mouth off over a year ago.

You shot it off again two weeks ago.

It is yours, baby…all on you.

Put on your big boy pants or get off the stage.

You do us, the citizens of the United States, no favors by trying to act tough.

You are or you are not.

You are not.

coldwarrior on September 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Obama be all like: Okay, okay… this is my real red line. I mean it this time.

THE. REAL. RED. LINE.

Nah, don’t you dare cross this newest red line… or.. uhhh.. ummm… uhhh… Uhhh. Uh.

/Pull him off the stage. He’s an international embarrassment.

Key West Reader on September 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM

The man is simply incapable of leadership…

mnjg on September 6, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Six months of the troops hanging out in Afghanistan while the man dithered over a grand strategy wasn’t enough of a tell?

Happy Nomad on September 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Charlie H. Crist on a cross, it’s as if the entire cast of the Benny Hill show were installed as our current administration.

Bishop on September 6, 2013 at 1:28 PM

HA!

workingclass artist on September 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Wait, wait for a second.
Sign this document within 45 days or we start to bomb and kill your people ?

I heard this this morning and thought it a joke.

There is not a legal person in the world who accept such a signature as binding.
“Under duress” quickly comes to mind.

Jabberwock on September 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

bloggless,LMAO.Thanks.

celtic warrior on September 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

He can sign it with a red crayon with crossed fingers behind his back and then what?

moonsbreath on September 6, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Everything I told my liberal friends about Obama, all the way back in 2007 when he first jumped into the race has come to pass. Hes a complete failure domestically and internationally. He is a bumbling inept fool that has turned the USA into a complete ioke.

Jack_Burton on September 6, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Obama’s waffling has brought the US Presidency down to the level of a UN clerk.

Disgusting.

portlandon on September 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM

And on the eve of 9/11. There is some serious smellage going on here.

Key West Reader on September 6, 2013 at 1:52 PM

This time I realllllly mean it…. Thank you ,Barack Obama

sandee on September 6, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Mike Huckabee ‘chatting’ about 2016 bid

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee said Thursday that he has “not ruled out” a presidential bid in 2016.

“Am I informally chatting with people, asking if they think there’s any value in my taking it to another level? I’m having those conversations,” he said.

Huckabee was initially speaking with POLITICO more broadly about the 2016 election before interjecting, “I haven’t ruled it out.”

“At this point, I’m trying to ascertain, what’s the opportunity, what’s the field, where the names are,” he said, adding that a run “may not be a possibility.”

I’m sure President Huckabee would be just what the doctor ordered……

…..said no one, EVER.

PappyD61 on September 6, 2013 at 1:54 PM

It raises three questions, each more embarrassing than the next to the White House:

Questions not being asked specifically and directly to Obama, by anyone.

Obama’s dithering incompetence needs to be publicly highlighted. He needs to be lit up like a Christmas tree, on national television, in a format akin to British Parliament.

Both Obama and his argument would wilt like soft serve ice cream.

Cavalry on September 6, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Seriously this is a damn joke. It’s Dog Eater moving little unit icons around on a battle screen somewhere, hoping he can figure out a way to exit from the mess his mouth created; egotistical runt.

Bishop on September 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

There will be no vote in the senate/congress, if they know that it won’t pass…to retain a semblance of ‘respect’ for the land, not for the narcissistic sociopathic cornered teenager in chief.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:56 PM

However I am very much pro-Israel and I believe that Israel is our biggest ally in the region… mnjg on September 6, 2013 at 10:26 AM

What has Israel ever done for us, I ask again?

Akzed on September 6, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Akzed on September 6, 2013 at 1:57 PM

I don’t think he wants any action in Syria.

His stupidity, however, will bring more blood soon.

He/Hillary/McCain, and all who are with them have it on their souls.

There’s a good reason why you hear little from Hillary and Biden now.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Will Obama give Assad a 45-day ultimatum first?

Why even ask this question? Why do people keep including Obama in this discussion about Syria?
Obama didn’t draw any red lines; the world did. His credibility is not on the line; America’s and the world’s is. Obama is not involved in this Syria thing at all.

TarheelBen on September 6, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Seriously this is a damn joke. It’s Dog Eater moving little unit icons around on a battle screen somewhere, hoping he can figure out a way to exit from the mess his mouth created; egotistical runt.

Bishop on September 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Yep!

Hey Valerieee….I wanna new drug…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6uEMOeDZsA

workingclass artist on September 6, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Will Obama give Assad a 45-day ultimatum first?

Better yet, will he email Assad a detailed plan of the attack?

jimver on September 6, 2013 at 2:01 PM

And if the Syrians refuse the ultimatum then Bark will draw a red line in the sand. If the Syrians cross that red line he will issue an ultima….wait…

Bishop on September 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Will Obama give Assad a 45-day ultimatum first?

To paraphrase Dennis Miller, “We’re the only country that starts a war by sending a ‘Save the Date’ card.”

Akzed on September 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM

“You didn’t build that… I didn’t draw that…”

Akzed on September 6, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Someone who gets it, word for word.

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2013 at 1:33 PM

I agree. So few are getting it. As Saul Alinsky said, “the issue is never the issue.” This isn’t about Syria or chemical weapons. It’s about a wider agenda of deconstructive transformation, the long-term campaign against Israel, and domestic turbulence.

Obama reminds me of the Columbia professors in the 60s who quietly abetted the radicals as they occupied the university and created chaos. Obama wants chaos, and orchestrating the reaction to it among low information voters to his advantage.

rrpjr on September 6, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Seriously this is a damn joke. It’s Dog Eater moving little unit icons around on a battle screen somewhere, hoping he can figure out a way to exit from the mess his mouth created; egotistical runt.

Bishop on September 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Yeah, meanwhile the Russians are moving something around too… Russia sends warship with ‘special cargo’ to Syria

jimver on September 6, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Obama’s plans in life like detail.

MontanaMmmm on September 6, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Obama’s plans in life like detail.

MontanaMmmm on September 6, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Lool :) and yet…Obama: ‘I didn’t draw that’…

jimver on September 6, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Could we get Obama to sign an agreement that he won’t draw with red crayons anymore? Or even open his mouth?

Maybe all this really will go away if he procrastinates long enough.

Procrastination is underrated as a solution to many problems… things work out.

Aren’t you glad I’m not President? Of course delegation is a strength too… Obama has few people of any knowledge to delegate too. I would do better at that by far.

petunia on September 6, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Dictatorbama draws another PINK LINE.

Pork-Chop on September 6, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Yeah, meanwhile the Russians are moving something around too… Russia sends warship with ‘special cargo’ to Syria

jimver on September 6, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I was in Sevastopol last month and saw their Black Sea Fleet. Not too shabby and very close to Syria.

oceansidecon on September 6, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Huh. Based on stuff like this, it’s almost as if the guy came into office with no experience in running anything but his mouth.

changer1701 on September 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Mr. Obama, it’s time to bring this to a head. Send a harsh letter today!

Mason on September 6, 2013 at 2:40 PM

A 45 day ultimatum? Could this perhaps be described as a “red line?”

/

Doomberg on September 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM

These idiots will never learn. Assad has no option but to fight. If he gives up, he will have no sanctuary from war crimes prosecution. So this proposal actually gives him six weeks to prepare, to re-deploy assets amongst the civilian population, and to harden anything that isn’t easily moved.

In the meantime, less than a week from the anniversary of his deadly dereliction of duty in Benghazi, we still don’t know where he was that night, and he has everyone talking about Syria.

novaculus on September 6, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Wow! I’m scared. YIKES – what an amateur.

MN J on September 6, 2013 at 2:57 PM

A 45 day warning followed in 60 days by a “Sternly Worded Letter”.
That’ll show ‘em.

countrybumpkin on September 6, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Waffling like a high school freshman girl trying to decide which of 2 sport’s studs she wants to go to the Prom with…

hillsoftx on September 6, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Screw 45-day ultimatums.
Let’s wait until after the 2014 elections.

n0doz on September 6, 2013 at 3:13 PM