Saturday, April 14, 2018

Syria Strike: Consequence of Obama's Vanity and Incompetence in World Affairs

Obama played into Putin's hands on several occasions. In Syria, the deaths of innocent men, women and children were the result!

The American left insists that somehow it's inappropriate to discuss what Obama did, or did not do, as President. "He's out of office" they howl as if none of what he did had any bearing on where we are today.  Sorry but history does not permit such denial. If we don't know where we have been, how do we stop from making the same mistake?

Syria's use of chemical weapons against it's own people came into clear focus during Obama's re-election campaign on August 20, 2012. He was trying to sound tough when he declared:
OBAMA: We have been very 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.

A year later on September 4 2013 when it was obvious that Syria had continued to use chemical weapons Obama, realizing he could not get congressional approval to strike Syria, denied he had declared the red line. He insisted instead that "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line." Scrambling to recover from the fallout of that shambolic whopper Obama dispatched Secretary of State Kerry to the 5 star Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

After days of fruitless discussion Kerry and Lavrov met poolside and Lavrov relented to an agreement (text) that had more holes in it than the Swiss cheese served at dinner. But all that was overlooked in the moment where Kerry put on his best Neville Chamberlain face and assured the world he had secured his version of "peace for our time." Watch out Poland!

The agreement did allow Obama to save face but at the expense of what little credibility Obama had in leading world affairs. Russians and the Syrians were ecstatic. As Richard Spencer reports in the Daily Telegraph:
"These agreements are a victory for Syria, achieved thanks to our Russian friends," Ali Haidar, the minister for national reconciliation, told Russian media.
Russian officials were keen to put a positive spin on Mr Assad's concession, saying they had prevented a "mistake the size of Suez".

"It was going to be a disaster to intervene militarily in Syria," one Russian official said. "We saved them. Vladimir Putin, really, deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Well, why not give Putin the Nobel Peace Prize. The Prize Committee gave it to Obama based on solely on wishful thinking. Do the Norweigans want it back?

For some good background on how and why that flawed agreement came about see Peter Foster's September 2013 column in the Daily Telegraph. Foster describes how
Countless members of the foreign policy establishment instantly knew, a Faustian pact in which Mr Putin saved Mr Obama's blushes at home in exchange for a dramatic loss of American face abroad.
Nevertheless Obama has insisted that the Syrian agreement was a good deal. He insisted, along with Kerry and nearly every other top Democrat that the Syrian deal had been a success. Kerry and others repeatedly claimed that "100%" of Syria's chemical weapons had been removed and destroyed. Watch:

KERRY: "We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out."

The snarky tone in Obama's voice leaves a bitter taste after seeing the deaths of thousands of children due to chemical weapons that Obama and Democrats claimed were destroyed. Both Human Rights Watch and the Arms Control Association have continued to document the use of such weapons following Obama's victory lap. Meanwhile, the self-professed media fact checkers at Politifact can't bring themselves to call Kerry a liar even when it's as plain as the nose on your face!

Obama went on to claim another diplomatic victory in the nuclear agreement with Iran. How long before that too is exposed as a sham with horrific consequences?

Trump Pressuring Putin

OK, so we know what Obama and Kerry did created a mess that cost many innocent lives. Trump's limited strike was measured. In my view too limited and measured. But Trump is upping the diplomatic game where Obama and Kerry dropped the ball.  In his speech announcing limited strikes Trump laid the blame directly at the feet of the Russians. This has been followed at other levels with senior officials echoing the President's words.

At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council Hon. Niki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations recounted the number of times the U.S. and allies have engaged in diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis but were blocked by Russia. Haley said:
HALEY: We can all see that a Russian disinformation campaign is in full force this morning. But Russia’s desperate attempts at deflection cannot change the facts. A large body of information indicates that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons in Douma on April 7. There is clear information demonstrating Assad’s culpability.

The pictures of dead children were not fake news. They were the result of the Syrian regime’s barbaric inhumanity. And they were the result of the regime and Russia’s failure to live up to their international commitments to remove all chemical weapons from Syria. The United States, France, and the United Kingdom acted after careful evaluation of these facts.
Syria committed to abide by the Chemical Weapons Convention, meaning it could no longer have chemical weapons on its soil.

President Putin said Russia would guarantee that Syria complied. We hoped that this diplomacy would succeed in putting an end to the horror of chemical attacks in Syria. But as we see from the past year, that did not happen.

While Russia was busy protecting the regime, Assad took notice. The regime knew it could act with impunity, and it did.
Russia’s veto was the green light for the Assad regime to use these most barbaric weapons against the Syrian people, in complete violation of international law. The United States and our allies were not going to let that stand. Chemical weapons are a threat to us all. They are a unique threat, a type of weapon so evil that the international community agreed they must be banned.

We cannot stand by and let Russia trash every international norm that we stand for, and allow the use of chemical weapons to go unanswered. And just as the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons last weekend was not an isolated incident, our response is part of a new course charted last year to deter future use of chemical weapons.
The United States is deeply grateful to the United Kingdom and France for its part in the coalition to defend the prohibition of chemical weapons. We worked in lock step, we were in complete agreement. Last night, our great friends and indispensable allies shouldered a burden that benefits all of us. The civilized world owes them its thanks. In the weeks and months to come, the Security Council should take time to reflect on its role in defending the international rule of law.

The Security Council has failed in its duty to hold those who use chemical weapons to account. That failure is largely due to Russian obstruction. We call on Russia to take a hard look at the company it keeps, and live up to its responsibilities as a Permanent Member of the Council and defend the actual principles the United Nations was meant to promote.

Last night, we successfully hit the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons enterprise, and because of these actions, we are confident that we have crippled Syria’s chemical weapons program.

We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will.
No more Mr. (or Ms.) Nice Guy. You do not want to cross Niki Haley. Or Donald Trump. Finally, there is a new Sheriff in town and the world will be a better place because of it!

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