The most incredible fiasco in modern foreign policy management and the strangest and most blatant abdication of a U. S. Commander in Chief in American history has now come down to a monumental gamble on the willingness of a fickle Congress to provide the political cover to prevent a President from vacating the role of the U. S. as the indispensable leader in enforcing world order. And make no mistake, once vacated, the damage to American credibility will not be reversible for decades, if ever. We’re talking about a tipping point here.
Don’t misunderstand. As I have said before, there are plenty of reasons not to get involved in Syria, plenty of well-identified risks and unknowns. And the incompetency of this administration over the past two years has put the U. S. in a position with dwindling choices that can make a difference in the outcome. But it is clear that the risks of non-intervention outweigh those of intervention so as to offer any chance to have a role in the outcome of a civil war that is threatening to become regional and, as I have previously suggested, take on many of the characteristics of a proxy war like the Spanish Civil War of the mid-1930s. And the winners in such a scenario, without our decisive intervention, would clearly be Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, giving these enemies a dangerously dominant position in the region to the detriment of our allies, our interests, and world order.
So what is decisive intervention? Well, it’s certainly not a “shot across the bow”, a symbolic act, or even an attack aimed at deterrence of future use of chemical weapons or “changing the momentum” of the war. These efforts would be worse than no intervention. The problem is Bashar Assad and his family and the only intervention that makes sense at this point is to take out the ruling regime and be prepared for almost certain retaliation. But support for intervention must start with a President who is serious about his and America’s badly damaged credibility and exceptional role in the world. So far, this President hasn’t been, and without this level of seriousness, he has not earned our support.