President Obama’s decision to get Congressional approval before taking any military action in Syria is the right one. I doubt he’ll get much of that, so I thought I would start with it. I also don’t think it’s going to work. Never the less, he did the right thing.
He doesn’t have Constitutional authority to unilaterally attack another country and that’s what this would be, no doubt. No threat to us here, no rationale at all here, really, except humanitarian. Most people would see that as a big red flag, or the whole, “Stay out of things that don’t concern us…” school of thought.
Normally I’m a big fan of that thinking and even in this case, I’m still leaning that way, but the purely humanitarian aspect of this proposal is one of the things I like about it.
War is an ugly solution to a lot of problems, and never looks good to people – unless they’re being exterminated. To people in such a jam, even an invading force (be it man or missile) is welcome. The problem is, we don’t even have that little crumb in this situation.
IF Syria is gassing people, (1,400 just recently if the President’s intelligence is accurate) it still might not be any of our business, if the resistance there doesn’t want any part of our help. The key point, we have no credible evidence that U.S. support would be welcome, even among the Syrian resistance.
That’s why I’m worried the President is on soft ground. And why I predict he doesn’t get Congress along on this one. Identifying a majority of supporters in Congress for a war action where they don’t have any idea who they’re helping, and any clear idea of where it all might end, will be problematic. It’s not easy to make a convincing argument concerning the use of force when the above, murky scenario, is the best case.
Doing almost nothing, the U.S. strategy up to this point, while it has kept us out of a massive mess, hasn’t accomplished much either. So, the President wants permission, unity, support, a vote, a resolution, an act, a signal from the Peoples representative, Congress — that he should intervene. When he doesn’t get it, his conscience will be clear and the Constitution will be intact.
Everybody wins. Right? Not exactly if you’re one of the 400 gassed children.
He needs a new approach if he wants to look good and also save lives. President Obama needs to identify an Obama Doctrine, a clear delineation of a set of values that represent our nations thinking of what we stand for, are willing to fight for, and believe, concerning the power sharing arrangement a government should have with its people.
This doesn’t mean just elections. It means a Sovereign Constitution. It means the establishment of institutions like independent courts and respect for civil liberties, that all make up the soup of a Sovereign Democracy. That’s what we stand for, that’s what we’re all about. That’s what we are willing to use our hegemony, our money, and our moral support to facilitate, ally with, and even militarily defend.
Such a doctrine, clearly outlined, in advance of the next problem, might make it easier to justify. This hopping from crisis to crisis, always reacting, with no clear outline of our national priorities – has done the country a lot of damage and this President could change that.