September 11, 2013

Obama tried to make the best of a no-win situation. Failed.

Last night president Obama spoke to the nation about the situation in Syria.  After being snookered by Putin and Assad, Obama was still trying to be all things to all people.  He agreed that the Russian proposal to have Syria turn over all of its chemical weapons to international authorities - whatever that means in practice - was a good idea.  At the same time, he pressed ahead with his ask for Congress to authorize military action.  On the surface, it seems like Obama's speech was successful. It wasn't.
  • The president appears not to have swung public opinion in his favor on Syria, at least when it comes to military action
 
 
  • Furthermore, the delay plays to Assad and Putin.  It grants them the time necessary to hide the chemical stockpiles and if the handover option is followed, Assad can retain some of his stockpile that's been buried out in the Syrian desert somewhere.
 
  • The president commented in the speech that he is not comfortable with the United States being the world's policeman.  In the same speech he said that it was important that the United States act in order to send a signal that the world will not tolerate genocide.  It sounds a lot like he's wanting America to act like the world's policeman.  The having it both ways motion Obama wants is transparent.
 
  • In his frequent references to Iraq he's trying to remind Americans that he's not Bush.  It's clear he still regards the U.S. actions in Iraq as interventionist and he's against that.  Except in the case of Libya and Egypt. 
 
  • The president still came across as reactionary and having no vision or solutions on foreign affairs.  The White House is operating on a Chinese fire drill crisis management model. It's becoming more clear to the American public, at least on foreign affairs.
The president tried to assure the public that he has a good handle on the situation.  He used phrase like "let me explain what that means' (condescending) and he threw a lot of statistics at the audience (line of sight does not mean control).  The president is in a tailspin on Syria and with a public that requires dogged determination on the economy from its leadership, Obama is once again pointed in the wrong direction.  He's out of step with the issues of the day as he has been since the days of Obamacare.  He hasn't just failed on Syria, president Obama is consistently failing in his presidency.
 
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