Syria; More Smoke and Mirrors?
September 14, 2013
Here are a couple of passages from the NY Times, today, describing what it is calling a significant decision by Obama, viz., “effectively [taking] force off the table,” a decision it is said “underscored his desire to forge a workable diplomatic compromise and avoid a strike that would be deeply unpopular at home.”
Now, given the fact that including the use of force in a UN resolution was a non-starter because Russia would veto any such resolution, it is difficult to see how Obama’s decision is significant in any way, as it “simply acknowledged the reality of the Security Council, where Russia wields a veto….” Of course, it could be described as significant if one sees that decision as another step leading up to an attack on Syria, while pacifying what the Times describes as deep feelings of opposition at home. Of course, I could be giving Obama too much “credit” for forethought but, as a Zen Buddhist might say, “we will see.” And I would point out, that as the opposition is presently so intense, waiting a couple weeks, while playing at the game of “diplomacy,” makes sense. Popular opposition to military strikes in the US – and probably elsewhere – has been known to dissipate, especially when such a mind set is being facilitated by the government.
“A significant sign of movement at the United Nations came Friday when the Obama administration effectively took force off the table in discussions over the shape of a Security Council resolution governing any deal with Syria. Although Mr. Obama reserved the right to order an American military strike without the United Nations’ backing if Syria reneges on its commitments, senior officials said he understood that Russia would never allow a Security Council resolution authorizing force.
“As a strategic matter, that statement simply acknowledged the reality on the Security Council, where Russia wields a veto and has vowed to block any military action against Syria, its ally. But Mr. Obama’s decision to concede the point early in talks underscored his desire to forge a workable diplomatic compromise and avoid a strike that would be deeply unpopular at home. It came just days after France, his strongest supporter on Syria, proposed a resolution that included a threat of military action. “