Photo of the conjoined Socialist coalition of Hollande and Obama
Update: 15:30: John Kerry gave a powerful speech Friday urging intervention in Syria in response to a verified chemical attack by Assad on his own people. Kerry said 1449 people were gassed, 426 of them were children. Kerry said that we have an ‘obligation to protect,’ which is an agreement we did reach with the UN. France is the only other country willing to honor that agreement.
Kerry also said that it is in the nation’s interests. If we do nothing, we will not be believed or trusted after this.
President Obama said he has not made a decision yet.
While Mr. Obama waits for UN verification of a chemical attack and while he is considering his options, Assad has moved weapons and troops out of the area within the target range.
President Obama, who jumped right on the Syria situation about two years too late, has formed a coalition of one with France. French PM Francois Hollande also wants to punish Syria for Assad’s use of chemical weapons (at least we are fairly sure Assad fired the chemical weapons). Hollande has no interest in toppling Assad which echoes Obama’s expressed viewpoint.
Germany, Italy, Austria, Jordan, the UK, and Canada are all opting out. The newspapers are all blaming Bush and the war in Iraq instead of Obama’s inability to form a coalition. Perhaps the allies don’t want to join in because this appears to be about Obama’s ego. Mr. Obama said he will be out in three days which doesn’t sound like a serious effort.
Turkey, Poland, and Israel will assist Mr. Obama.
Obama, who couldn’t even form a coalition, wants to punish Assad but not topple him. How does this protect US interests or do anything to help the Syrian people?
Almost 100,000 died in Syria but Obama failed to notice. Now that 100 have died from a chemical attack and now that Mr. Obama is embarrassed over his red line comment, he’s noticed Syria and wants to take some minimal action such as lobbing a few missiles into Syria. He has even told the Syrians where in Damascus the missiles will hit.
The UK will not be part of the coalition because Cameron lost the vote to go to war in Parliament. It is the first time since 1782 that an MP has lost a war vote.
At least Cameron asked Parliament.
Obama isn’t bothering to ask Congress. He conferred with some in Congress on the sly and none of us are allowed to know with whom he consulted, though I’m sure we could make some educated guesses. Almost 79% of the American people want Obama to ask Congress for permission. It is Congress that is supposed to declare war, not the president.
Meanwhile, someone claiming to be Assad’s son, Hafez Assad, is now taunting Obama and daring him to strike.
We are awaiting John Kerry’s speech at about 12:30 EST to find out what actions that president might take or not. The president has signaled that he is willing to act alone.
If Mr. Obama strikes Assad’s arsenals – if he knows where they are – it would be beneficial. It’s not clear if Mr. Obama is going to do anything effective.