Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Obama Dare

I did not pay much attention to the Syrian civil war (probably like most Americans) until I heard that the army of President Bashar al-Assad was accused of using chemical weapons against civilians; I watched with interest the world's reaction (or inaction) to this horrific event.

Likewise, I followed President Obama's efforts to rally our allies behind a military response--with limited success--and his calls for Congress to sign a resolution that would support the use "targeted strikes" against Syria. This week the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of Obama's request.

I am not sure which side of the issue that I fall down on: using military strikes in response to the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons (which it says was carried out by rebel forces) or staying out of the conflict in the face of a lukewarm international response.

Public opinion polls indicate that a majority of Americans oppose military action.

Those who argue against taking military action cite several reasons, including the fact that atrocities have occurred in other nations and the U.S. has not taken action. Likewise, others believe that the President will entangle us in another drawn out war on foreign soil.

Some political analysts say that the U. S. should not continue to be the watchdog for the rest of the world.

Obama's position is that the international consensus against the use of chemical weapons demands a swift response.

World politics is thorny and complicated, and the president must consider the interests/views of many stakeholders/groups--the public, our allies, Congress, other Middle Eastern nations, diplomats, and our foes (mainly North Korea and Iran).

Whatever the outcome, President Obama can expect criticism, but isn't this the price anyone who sits in the Oval Office must pay for the privilege of serving?