Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reluctant Warrior

Obama is giving a rather convincing imitation of a president who does not want to use military force in Syria. My concern takes two forms; first is that he is a very convincing actor and we have fallen for his impersonations many times, the second is that even if he does not want to use force he has Susan Rice and Samantha Power screaming at him that “people are dying and WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING“ and he may not have the courage to resist them. Remember Libya; and people weren't even dying - yet.

“Doing something” about people dying involves, of course, missiles, bombs and various other miscellaneous forms of high explosives. We resolve the evil of people dying by making sure that even more people die.

He may also have backed himself into a corner with all of his own unthinking “tough words” about “red lines” and “Assad must go” nonsense. These are all words issued to maintain his own image as “tough on national security” to assuage the political right, even though they didn’t vote for him and their legislators will not vote for his policies until Hell freezes over, and probably not even then.

He doesn’t waste his breath catering to the people who did vote for him, and Democratic legislators will vote for his policies regardless of how many wars he starts or whatever else he does.

Not to mention that Syria has nothing to do with our national security.

It doesn’t help that Hagel is posturing and strutting about the positioning and prior use of cruise missiles, because if Obama doesn’t use those missiles than it will look like his Secretary of Defense is tougher than he is.

Actually, my cat Molly is tougher than Obama, but...

Finally, all of Obama’s posturing about not wanting to use military force could merely be a smoke screen to later provide him with a “reluctant warrior” stance when he does use force. “I never wanted to do this and held out as long as I could, but I no longer had any choice.” That gives him the best of both worlds, a new war to satisfy the neocons, and a position that does not alienate his “liberal base.”

He is, after all, renowned for three dimensional chess.


  1. I t makes him look like a hypocrite (which he is, actually), and a mealy mouth politician (insert your own opinion here) and of course, spineless and useless on the world stage. I wonder if the cheering crowds as the 'campaigner-in-chief' in Europe et al got to him. Not to mention the Nobel Peace prize, which maybe he's trying to live up to now. Well, he didn't really deserve it then, and he's certainly done nothing since then. Poor America. At least with Bush there was something, even if hateful, not we're just a laughingstock.

  2. Anonymous12:43 PM

    I wish someone could show me a decisive
    policy choice in the Mideast where when push came to shove, the neolibs didn't mirror the neocons exactly.
    Juan Cole said both Snowden and Manning deserved the Nobel more than Obama.