Sunday, April 9, 2017

Politico: Obama’s Red Line, Revisited

In authorizing a missile strike on the Syrian airbase used to launch a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, Donald Trump all of a sudden became presidential. Unfortunately, nothing unites people behind a president more than military action and prospects of war.

However, “Reversing existing policy to impulsively bomb another country after seeing footage of dead Syrian children on Fox News is not acting presidential. If the sight of the dead children really did affect Trump, he would have paired his bombing with an announcement about admitting refugees so they won’t be subjected to further threats from the Assad regime,” writes Robert Reich.

“And he would have responded to the pleas of the Newtown, Connecticut School Board to acknowledge that 20 children and six adults were murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, and denounce his supporter, Alex Jones, who continues to claim the tragedy was a hoax.

“Trump isn’t acting presidential. He’s still acting like Trump – impulsive, vindictive, superficial, inconsistent, and hypocritical.”

Unlike his predecessor, President Obama, Trump’s response was impulsive. Obama’s decisions were methodically thought out and well considered prior to making decisions.
Obama has been taking heat over his controversial statement that if chemical weapons are used in Syria or anywhere else in the world, it was crossing a 'red line’ that would not be tolerated. When Syria was accused of using chemical weapons, Obama didn’t follow through with his warning and did not respond militarily. As a consequence, he was described as a weak president. It was said that the United States had lost its credibility. Obama didn’t follow through for two reasons: it was not adequately confirmed that the Assad regime was responsible for the chemical attack--the United Nations at the time suspected that Syrian rebels carried out sarin gas attacks which had been blamed on Assad, and there were reports of false U.S. Intelligence. Moreover, the delicate nuclear weapons negotiations with Iran would be put in jeopardy.

What Obama did instead was to propose with Russia an international effort to document and destroy Syria’s chemical stocks. It was a decision that did more to eliminate future attacks than any bombing would have accomplished.

So why weren’t Syrians chemicals destroyed? The N.Y. Times says it’s complicated.

If “ . . . war hawks in the Obama administration had had their way, the United States would have launched military attacks on another Mideast country based on what now appears to have been false intelligence, if not outright lies.”

A sound decision, not an impulsive decision, is being presidential. What presidents should do is put the best interest of Americans first.

Obama’s Red Line, Revisited