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Monday, June 24, 2013

Bill Keller, "Inching Into Syria": Our Incredible Shrinking President

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Inching Into Syria" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/opinion/keller-inching-into-syria.html?pagewanted=all), Bill Keller tells us of the hope inspired among Syrian rebels following the June 13 White House announcement that the US would supply them with light weapons and ammunition. Keller writes:

"Whether this fresh whiff of faith in America is justified, only the president can tell us, and I wish he would."

. . . .

"What we know is that without our involvement several things are likely: The slaughter will continue. The menacing alliance of Iran, Hezbollah and Syria, stoked by Russia, will be empowered and emboldened. America’s influence on issues like Iran’s nuclear program will be seriously diminished. Jordan and Lebanon and Iraq will be destabilized. Bloodied Syria will be more than ever a breeding ground of terror."

. . . .

"Nobody, except perhaps our enemies, wants to see American troops in Syria. Our aim should be to make life so miserable for Assad and his friends that he agrees, or his sponsors agree, that it is time to stop the killing, send Assad and his circle into exile, and move from blood bath to diplomacy. Is that achievable? I honestly don’t know. But given the certain costs of doing nothing, I think it’s worth a try. I wish I knew whether President Obama felt the same."

"Only the president can tell us, and I wish he would." Interesting. Compare Keller's musings with the conclusion of Thomas Friedman's recent op-ed entitled "Syria Scorecard" (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2013/06/thomas-friedman-syria-scorecard-hundred.html):

"And that’s why I’d like to hear which option Obama is pursing [sic] and why he thinks it would succeed."

Our incredible shrinking president, besieged with scandal at home and crises overseas, has lately been making himself scarce (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2013/06/the-incredible-shrinking-president-he.html). Go find him in Tanzania.

Regarding Syria, what is the president thinking? Which option is he pursuing?

Answer: The president is contemplating how he can continue to avoid making a decision, after making a mockery of himself with purported "red lines," all in keeping with his foreign policy of "leading from behind." The option being pursued in a single word? Procrastination.

C'est tout.

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