An article in the Daily Beast, “Is Syria Becoming a Partisan Issue?” rejects the criticism of Obama’s leadership stating that The debate over Syria is starting to become part of the partisan cut and thrust in Washington.
The debate over military intervention has cut across partisan lines, with both Democrats and Republicans describing it as a “conscience vote.” But this hasn’t stopped the issue from already being used as a handy political weapon by Republicans to clobber President Obama for his leadership, or lack thereof, on the issue. The Daily Beast
Ben Jacobs concludes his article by opining that the debate isn’t about foreign policy, but is simply an attack on the president, similar to Hillary Clinton’s attack on candidate Obama in 2008, when she raised the question about Obama’s ability to answer the White House phone at 3 a.m.
But the criticism isn’t about foreign policy. A reader would be hard-pressed to find support for any course of action in the Middle East. Instead, it is simply an attack on the president’s leadership and acumen, no different from Hillary Clinton’s famous attack ad from 2008 suggesting that Obama wasn’t equipped to answer the phone at 3 a.m. in a national security crisis.
Currently, the president leads a fractured political party and has explicitly stated that he “wouldn’t say I’m confident” that Congress will authorize the use of force against Syria, a step that his administration continues to insist was not necessary. It seems perfectly fair for his political opponents to raise questions about this. The Daily Beast
President Obama’s leadership as the leader of the free world has come under close scrutiny. Russian President Vladimir Putin, many believe, has outfoxed the American president and provided Bashar al-Assad a lifeline along with a guarantee to remain in power.
The far left is on steroids and the article misses the complete Syrian argument as it relates to Obama’s leadership. The debate was never over to strike or not to strike. There are people for and against for various reasons. Those that believethat a missile strike would have led to too many unintended consequences and others that thought that an airstrike would not have stopped the killing nor would it have isolated the chemical weapons.
The second bunch, including Republican Senator John McCain advocated severe strikes to ensure the scales were tipped in favour of the rebels affecting regime change and removing Assad from power. No strike option was a serious one, without devastating effects. What is being questioned here, and it’s not a partisan issue, it is Obama’s leadership on the issue.
He drew a red line in 2012 and ignored the first instance of a chemical attack. In fact he said that the movement of chemical assets would be a red line for the US. In the August 21st incident, after more than 100,000 people had already been killed, he came out with his tough talk and said he would strike Syria and that he didn’t need the approval of Congress under the War Powers Act. He sent Secretary of State John Kerry out to make the case and to convince the public that a strike was imminent.
That night, according to reports, Obama went for a walk, had a change of heart and decided he would pass the buck to Congress by asking for a vote. Realizing that he had no chance of winning a vote, both in the House and Senate, and the fact that the majority of the American public was against a strike, he dialed back his rhetoric and asks Congress to delay the vote. Harry Reid had already canceled a vote, presumably because it wouldn’t have passed.
Meanwhile Putin lectured him in the New York Times with his OpEd and Kerry, who made the flippant remark after a question by the media decides, presumably on the president’s instructions, to negotiate with the KGB thug, ceding control to Putin, who presumable gave the chemicals and their delivery systems to his ally Assad in first place. Thus he saved Obama’s butt.
Regardless of any indicators in the past that have pointed to Obama’s leadership deficiencies, there can be little argument that Obama backed himself in the corner with his red line rhetoric. Whether or not one believes that an airstrike would have solved the problem, it is the actions of the president after he announced his decision to strike and moved naval assets into the region that need examination here.
To claim this as a partisan issue, fails to understand the position of the leader of the free world. This is not a popularity contest. Global politics is a high stakes game and requires a strong US president.