The Syria Nightmare
Former Obama Ambassador Blasts Syria Policy Failures
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  • qet

    I strongly doubt that anything the US could have done would have resulted in al-Qaeda being unable to “compete with the moderates.” al-Qaeda is not merely a supply and command network. It offers a purpose, something in which to believe, something with a far stronger appeal than some vague, undefined notion of a quasi-democratic, quasi-pluralist constitutional order according to foreign (i.e., Western) cultural and political ideals.

    In WW2, Chiang Kai-shek spent more time fighting Mao and the Chinese Communists than he did fighting the Japanese, using our military aid to do it. The Communists won despite the US supply of arms because they offered something to their followers that Chiang could not offer to his. US funding, training and arming of the Contras for years did not result in an overthrow of the Sandanistas.

    Talk is easy and diplomats like Ford specialize in it. I am not a fan of this Administration or its foreign policy, but I have always wondered, and still wonder, how anyone could believe that US military intervention there–whether directly or through proxies like the alleged “moderates”–would have solved anything, even if started early in the conflict. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the US would have had to escalate its involvement into direct action in support of its chosen faction, and even if it did not, after a year or three “world opinion” would have decided regardless that the US was at fault and responsible for all of the killing and atrocities etc. The “coalition of world opinion” that assembled during the Iraq war and constantly opposed and undermined the US would have reassembled over a Syria effort. Like the Sun flipping its magnetic field, the poles of the geopolitical field would have become: the US is killing Muslims again, neocolonialism, war for oil, racism, etc., insensitive to the subtle and historically-determined issues and distinctions within the Muslim world, yada yada yada. Syria-trained jihadis are returning home to the US and we worry, but in the other scenario, arms we supplied to “moderates” would inevitably have found their way into the hands of “extremists” and we would be all outraged about that today instead.
    In short–this situation is a Gordian knot that cannot even be cut.

    • Bruce

      Obama is hapless and a Marxist, but even a competent president would have had no good alternatives. And look what happens to moderates in countries where we support them and then leave. Al Qaeda has great fun butchering them and putting their children in ovens etc. There are competent ways to stay out and incompetent ways. This buffoon did it the incompetent way, but Syria was probably not salvageable. Were the moderates really moderate or were they like the moderates in Egypt, during the glorious Arab Spring?

    • rheddles

      Well, it certainly can’t be ameliorated if you don’t even try.

  • Misanthrope

    I can guarantee Obama’s “do-nothing” policy does not go against the counsel of his only advisor who matters – Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett.

    • Fred Garvin

      Mr. Non Sequitur:
      Are you equally upset that Sen. McCain’s birthplace is in Panama? Or Sen. Cruz’s in Canada?

      • Misanthrope

        The article stated Obama’s decision went against his councilors’ advice. Valerie Jarrett is inarguably his most influential advisor. I offered the opinion that her background a) influences her advice, and b) makes her favorably disposed to Iran. That opinion may be wrong (though that is doubtful, given Obama’s indifference to Iran’s nuclear program and support of terrorists), but that hardly makes it an incongruous or unwarranted conclusion.
        I’m unfamiliar with Senator McCain’s or Cruz’s attempts to determine US policy toward Panama and Canada. If you’re unable to enlighten me on those efforts, I’m afraid the title of Mr. Non Sequitur passes to you.

        • Fred Garvin

          1. McCain as pretty damned favorable toward Operation Enduring Freedom.
          2. Jarrett left Iran at the age of five. She was not involved in nuclear negotiations with Iran. That allegation seems to be single-sourced from Yediot Ahronot, an Israeli right-wing rag owned by the American traitor Sheldon Adelson.
          3. Obama has not supported terrorists. Those who advocate aiding the “moderate” Muslim insurgents in Syria–now they wish to support terrorists.
          4. I married a Canadian. They cannot be trusted, eh?

          • Misanthrope

            1. Supporting a military operation is not at all the same thing as deciding policy. You are not only Mr. Non Sequitur – you are also Captain Irrelevant.
            2. To suggest the President’s most influential advisor plays no role in the administration’s policy decisions toward Iran is just plain stupid. Stop embarrassing yourself.
            3. Obama has actively supported the Muslim Brotherhood, and gone out of his way to avoid harming other Islamic terror groups – though he doesn’t seem to have a problem with dropping an occasional bomb on innocent civilians. Your second sentence here makes no sense – learn to write effectively.
            4. Actually, I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like.

      • A US military base in Panama?

  • amcalabrese

    It is not our war. How about we stay out. No more red lines no one plans to enforce or threats or anything. Just offer a nice conference room for the two sides to talk in and leave it at that. Both sides are awful and whomever wins means an enemy of ours is sitting in Damascus

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Look, Muslims have declared Western Christian civilization their enemy. Obama has stumbled into the right strategy in Syria, a time honored strategy called “Divide and Conquer”. As long as the Shiites and Sunnis are focused on killing each other, there will be fewer resources available to attack innocent westerners and this will save lives. The “Divide and Conquer” strategy was used by the Byzantine Empire to great effect, by getting the barbarians on its borders to fight each other. This allowed the Empire to survive long after its power had declined.

    So let them fight, in fact make sure to prolong the fight until even the bloody minded Muslims are sick of the bloodshed.

  • Clearly Assad is the lessor of the three evils.

    Like Saddam, he will rule his country as ‘he’ needs to, not as outsiders believe it should be run. He knows the threats his people face from terrorist groups and he brings stability to the region.

    If Assad should threaten other countries, then let him know he will be forcibly removed.

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