Today POTUS Obama declared that it wasn’t really his red line in Syria, but the world’s red line, so, you see, it wasn’t his credibility on the line, it was the credibility of the world, and the U.S. Congress. That’s just – what’s the word I’m looking for? that’s just adorable.
He’s right, you know. Chemical weapons use is a war crime, and that’s an international no-no, and in theory you can get in real trouble for breaking the rules, mister. Here in the real world there is no red line, per se, only the words, which mean nothing until they do. You need to really sincerely piss off the movers and shakers, and also make yourself useless to any of them, before you’ll get hauled into a prison hotel and face an interminable trial. Call that “the Milošević Option”. So he’s right, after a fashion – the credibility of the nations and peoples is being put to the test; it’s just that you’d have to have been a fool to think there was any credibility there to begin with.
International Law, and international “norms” for that matter, don’t matter. Not that they shouldn’t, it’s just that they don’t, unless there’s a strategic advantage in pressing the point. That advantage may be offensive or defensive, but it’s the self-interested principle of the thing that counts, nothing more. The U.N. yawns and snores when it’s not huffing and puffing, but in general it accomplishes nothing in geopolitics. To understand the role of the U.N. in the minds of American liberals you have to understand that they see it as the prototype for a unifying planetary government, Star Trek style. You know, like when Federation bureaucrats talk about what the Tellarites say about such-and-such political matter, as if this entirety of the race speaks with one singular voice, and it’s the more primitive Federation wannabes who have any political diversity which is, of course, divisive in practice. But I digress.
Red lines are established when they are specifically declared to exist. POTUS Obama did just that, without consulting the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his cabinet, either branch of Congress, or our allies, and that’s how an American POTUS builds a coalition of support to carry out a military action, and he had a year to prepare. It looks to me as if he has been caught flat-footed, relying on the power of his word to keep Syria from using chemical weapons, and by setting that as the trigger he also hoped to avoid getting involved in the conflict entirely by setting such a high threshold.
Note that tens of thousands have been killed in this war and he’s avoided blame for it – you know, allowing it to happen. For the Liberal Left, it’s always America’s fault: we did the wrong thing, we did it too late, we did too little, we didn’t do anything, one way or another we’re to blame. Domestically, and it seems internationally, he’s gotten a pass on this. What I think he failed to realize is that it would be obvious to outside intelligence agencies that the U.S. was not preparing for a conflict. No coalition building was going on inside or outside the United States, and that doesn’t go un-noticed by Russia, Iran, or China, and they’re more than likely to pass that information along to Syria. I’m guessing that this is another example of how preparing for war is the best way to avoid it.
Still, POTUS Obama is taking the position that it’s up to everyone else in the U.N. to live up to their rhetoric about chemical weapons being off limits and their use incurring severe repercussions. That’s – adorable? No, strike that, the word I’ve been looking for is pathetic.