Obama, the Wartime President
Without question, while policy makers claim: “all options are on the table” with regard to Syria, both options, allowing cultural and political evolution to proceed on its own or to allow President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to suppress an armed insurrection are not.
The citizens of the West through the mainstream media are convinced that Syrian opposition is a bonafide freedom movement comprised of innocuous “activists” and “protesters”, an outgrowth of legitimate unrest expressed throughout the region since the Arab Spring, which has remade the face of much of the Middle East. In the absence of a high profile alternative media we are often forced to settle for the crack shot investigative skill set of dinosaurs like Barbara Walters who merely bleat “But I saw the pictures!” of the gruesome results in the civil war raging through Syria. The media elite can’t fathom the rebellion or won’t admit it to be anything more than what we are told by the Western governments and their allies.
In reality the “movement” turns on and is embellished by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which boasts between 10,000 and 40,000 men and loosely coordinated since December 2011 by the Syrian National Council (SNC) from behind NATO lines in Turkey. The FSA and supplemental actors, however, comprise a rebellion of sordid sum: NED trained activists, Syrian army defectors, Al Qaida terrorists, Libyan generals, wahhabists deployed from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, indigenous Salafi Jihadis, agents of the Muslim Brotherhood and many falling into one or more of these categories; all framed by a thin veneer of young democracy seeking Syrians armed with cell phone cameras and Facebook. It is this latter faction western media and public officials choose to magnify for mass consumption.
Barack Obama guaranteed in early March that Asad’s “days are numbered. It’s a matter not of if, but of when,” he promised. This will be Obama’s second regime change should his plan come to fruition. To be sure, Barack Obama has no qualms about being the biggest arms broker in history or growing U.S. Special Operations forces in number and budget, deploying them in 75 countries around the world. He most assuredly has no misgivings about bypassing Congress and through NATO overthrowing a foreign power in Libya or even assassinating two American citizens without due process via his presidential issue of Modern Warfare 3.
The President even brandishes enough bravado to offend the delicate sensibilities of the GOP elite – so much for liberal political correctness. Even the boys over at The Weekly Standard are calling for a flag as the Commander in Chief “spikes the football” all over the foreign policy hawks’ end zone. Considering the disingenuous attacks over Obama’s meek foreign policy can you blame him? Why wouldn’t he tout the fact he pulled the proverbial trigger, violating sovereign Pakistani airspace to bag (or re-bag depending on who you ask) the world’s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden?
“Mother, may I” invade Syria?
What leg then does the Romney camp’s top foreign policy adviser Richard Williamson have to stand on when he claims president Obama adheres to a “Mother, may I?” consensus-seeking foreign policy when the Obama Administration doesn’t even ask representatives of the American people for the necessary powers to legally intervene abroad?
While Mr. Williamson was specifically referring to Iran, the idea promulgated by prominent Republicans and parroted by their rank and file – that Barack Obama is simply some misguided bleeding heart liberal more inclined to hug a tree than chop down a dictator has many on the self proclaimed right utterly convinced.
The fact that the peace movement under Bush evaporated as soon as Obama was elected merely illustrates the “left” operates under similar illusions. At this point the country is in full-fledged campaign mode, the goal is not to educate, but to obfuscate just long enough to get elected, after that the shock of democracy and the awe of power seems to handily take care of the rest.
It is no mistake that Barack Obama leads with the Bin Laden raid, foreign policy will be all he can win on. Virtually indistinguishable apart from shear size, Obama Care and Romney Care will undoubtedly be a moot point as Romney was of course the first, not Barack Obama, to nationalize health care in the United States. But with the economy providing Romney with a handy bludgeon he will undoubtedly need to be attacked from the right on foreign policy. Obama will also need to be seen as a wartime president in order to upstage his embattled economic policies.
With the recent ceasefire and former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s monitoring mission and six-point plan killing more than it is saving the march toward war continues unabated. Annan’s fundamentally flawed mini-Dayton Accord, predicated on the false assumption the “protestors” don’t want war rather reform favors more bellicosity. What incentive does this gaggle of armed “activists” have to sit by and allow Assad to remain in power? Their goal is to incite repression from Assad forces and later, fueled by the gullability (or complicity) of western media, use it as a pretext for further intervention.
To be sure, “a ship carrying military supplies to rebel forces was stopped and impounded by Lebanese authorities at the weekend,” reported The Telegraph on Sunday. With Russia and Iran supplying al-Assad, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey supplying and coordinating the rebels and Al-Aqaida affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group [LIFG] continuing their jihad beyond the borders of Libya with Abdul Hakim Belhadj at the helm Syria is nothing short of a powder keg. America has still yet to fully grasp meaning behind the “war on terror is over“, that those who were killing our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are now our allies.
Gen. Belhadj and “fellow veterans of [LIFG] have a long track record of using Syria as a launch pad for involvement in fighting jihad, or holy war, in Afghanistan and Iraq,” writes Richard Spencer of the Telegraph. “‘We went to Afghanistan and Iraq for jihad, we fought jihad at home and now we are fighting jihad in Syria,’ said one fighter. At the Mitiga Airbase in eastern Tripoli, where Mr Belhadj has his headquarter, the commander was seen leaving for Turkey on Thursday night. Staff members said he was travelling to meetings with Free Syrian Army.”
While Washington think tanks like the Brookings Institute equate saving Syria with regime change it also will save Barack Obama’s presidency. Taking a page from the Bush playbook, being a wartime president has its benefits. Barack Obama’s visit to Afghanistan today rather than a fulfilled promise to win the war in Afghanistan should be seen, as was the case in Iraq, as redeployment not simply a draw down. Come October it will be interesting to see where U.S. forces either under the aegis of the U.N. or more likely NATO will find themselves – surprise!