Capitol Report – Distant drums of war?
By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Being the President of the United States and presumed Leader of the Free World is never an easy job. Just ask Barack Obama, the current occupant of the Oval Office, or any of his predecessors that are still living.
Mr. Obama now finds himself between a rock and a hard place, as he mulls over his military options regarding Syria’s two-and-a-half-old civil war. The president now finds himself grappling with how to punish Syrian President Bashar al- Assad for using chemical weapons against Syrian rebels on the one hand; while not forcing him from power, on the other hand.
Last week, President Obama lobbied world leaders at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. He made the argument that a failure to act would be an addiction of the so-called indispensable role played by the United States since the end of the cold war, leaving no one to step in when international bodies fail to.
While back at home, he attempted to garner Congressional support by telephone.
It would seem that President Obama had backed himself into a corner of sorts concerning Syria.
At an August 2012 White House press conference, Mr. Obama warned that “we have been clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.
That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”
The president’s remarks, at the time, represented his strongest language on how the Unite States might respond to contain Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.
A recent chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people in Syria seemed to provide the impetus that would ultimately force the president’s hand to take some sort of military action to arrest the atrocities taking place. But, at the 11th Hour, the president may have caught a break.
A Russian diplomatic proposal to avert a United States military strike on Syria by having international monitors take control of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons has surfaced.
Mr. Obama tentatively backs the plan which, in turn, may provide him with a potential exit strategy for a Syrian military strike, but only time will tell.