Friday, August 30, 2013

President Obama's Off The Cuff Red Line Threat

As it looks like an attack on Syria is coming soon, I thought it important to do this repeat post Tales did in April of this year, which explains exactly where president Obama first came up with his "red line" threat.

The Emperor's Red Line Has No Color [re-post from April 30, 2013]:

You probably don't remember when President Obama first announced his "red line" warning to Syria that the use of chemical weapons by Syria or even the moving around of those chemical weapons would trigger serious action by this administration against the Al-Assad regime. "Crossing that red line", in the words of the president "would be a game changer."   The president did not make that warning from the oval office.  He made the statement on August 20, 2012 at the White House daily press briefing held by Jay Carney, the president's press spokesman.   President Obama  surprisingly came on to the platform to take over for Jay Carney and turn the press briefing into a press conference.  Also, president Obama did not have prepared remarks making his red line warning to Syria.  President Obama made his red line comment as an off the cuff response to a question from Chuck Todd of NBC News.  And it was the very last question of the press conference, so you have to wonder if the red line pronouncement would have ever been made if not for Chuck Todd's question.  Not only was Obama's red line to the Syrian regime made off the cuff, but it was made in the heat of a close presidential race when Obama was trying to show his tough foreign credential bona fides.  So, that makes one wonder if the call for a red line was a serious warning to the Assad regime or the warning was a non serious threat with a hope by president Obama that just his statement would make that red line moot because Assad would not dare cross it?

I don't want to torture you by having to watch the whole press briefing turned press conference-so, the relevant question by Chuck Todd came at the 15:35 mark and the president finally got around to answering that part of the question at the 18:32 mark to the end of the press conference.

Now we have had acknowledgement by U.S. intelligence that indeed, reports of chemical weapons use by Syria is considered credible.  So, now has the president's red line been crossed?

This from Spencer Ackerman on
"Blink and you’ll miss it, but President Obama just revised and extended his “red line” for stopping Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons against Syrian civilians."
"“We cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations,” Obama said today, per Reuters’ Jeff Mason"....
"The key word in that statement is systematic. The surprise White House acknowledgement, in a letter to senators yesterday, said that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons, particularly sarin gas “on a small scale.” ...
"The statement gives the president wiggle room"..."Combined with Obama’s call for to investigate and substantiate the assessment of the chemical use, Obama has now implied it would take a widespread use of the chemicals to prompt the U.S. to involve itself more deeply in the rebel effort to overthrow Assad".... "But even “systematic” use of chemical weapons begs the question of how much sarin and other deadly gasses Assad can use before Obama feels compelled to stop him."

It is looking like president Obama's warning to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad not to cross the red line of using or moving around chemical weapons was a bluff which Assad has called.  A bluff called which looks like will not be seriously answered by president Obama.

This post is not calling for military action in Syria.  Frankly, I don't want to see any US troops sacrificed to prop up what my turn out to be an even more dangerous and worse rebel force in Syria.  Those rebel forces which now include some Muslim brotherhood and even Al Qaeda terrorists.

This post is meant to show how an off the cuff non-serious remark by president Obama is showing weakness to Syria, the Mid East, and the entire world on America's foreign policy.  Also, by the president announcing a red line but not acting on a violation of it weakens the president's credibility.   I could give a damn about Barack Obama's credibility being weakened in the eyes of the world, but the president speaks for America.  So, this also weakens America's credibility, which I do care about.  So, I am not criticizing the lack of immediate military action by the president, but I am criticizing his making the red line comment in the first place-which obviously was not serious.

The big problem is the chemical weapons themselves.  These weapons must be accounted for and contained.  If the weapons get loose you could  have weapons of mass destruction in the hand of terrorists, the one thing Israel, the United States and all free loving people of the world fear most.   So, to keep the chemical weapons out of the hands of Muslim terrorists must be our policy.

Unfortunately, it appears the emperor has no clothes and his red line has no color.


bradley said...

To attack without the goal of destroying the chemical weapons wil have no acceptable end point! Both sides in this horrible situation are our enemies-- asad a ruthless Israel hating mass murderer and the rebels a Muslim brotherhood, al quaida American hating group--- therefore we sould take NO sides if we get involved , the SOLE purpose should be to destroy weapons of mass destruction!

Big Mike said...

I agree Brad..that should be the only purpose to attack is to destroy or take control of the WMD. Otherwise, if extremist Muslims are killing other extremist Muslims, stay out of it.