web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



The Perils of Barack

We don’t know what their thinking is on the choice between evils: the evil of intervening or the evil of failing to after defining a red line.
train tracks

Rubin may well be right.  I would have simply agreed with him a couple of days ago, when the rumors about an impending attack on Assad were first flying.  But then, as a counterpoint to the continued bombastic vagueness of Team Obama, Cameron, Merkel, and Hollande began talking in serious and concrete terms about military action.  (The latest I’ve seen is Australia’s Kevin Rudd chiming in.)

I am concerned about their categorical approach given the very real hazards of trying to shove an intervention down Russia’s throat – but it defies logic to think that they have all simply lost their minds, and are speaking so specifically and determinedly of an action they have no intention of taking.  It looks to me like they really mean it.  The drumbeat from Europe sounds similar to the one that struck up in March 2011, prior to the Libya operation.

Of course, if they – and we – draw back now, after bustling about so energetically, the geopolitical egg on our faces will take years to scrape off, and the world as we know it will perish from sheer, embarrassed unsustainability anyway.  The cynical pundits are all right about that.

Breaking with rationality in warfare

A third way of framing the Syria problem is in terms of what the main objective could be.  Military specialists have spoken clearly about the kinds of target sets we could choose, if our desire is somewhere close on the spectrum to encouraging the demise of the Assad regime.  Most analysts are disdainful of the idea of simply punishing Assad, with no larger motive.  They rightly point out that, since we would incur the same outrage from Russia and Iran with a small, meaningless strike as with a bigger one, we’d be better off to get what we can out of it.  Go for the bigger prize.

But Obama has a joker to play in this hand: the same one he played in Libya.  Our passive-aggressive stance there was constrained by the concept of “non-hostile kinetic military action,” which was meant to try and protect innocent civilians, while yet effacing itself from any hint of trying to force a particular political outcome; i.e., help one faction or another win the war.  Samantha Power has long been a high-profile advocate of the concept of a “responsibility to protect,” which would basically amount to an obligation on the part of a nation like the United States to shoot, regardless of any other feature or consideration of a given conflict.

That is indisputably a recipe for disaster down the road.  But it was essentially the basis on which the Obama administration undertook the intervention in Libya, under the aegis of Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and Valerie Jarrett.  It is problematic – idiotic? – as a rubric for planning an operation in Syria, where its potential for having any meaning, given how well armed the rebels and the regime both are, is even less than it was in Libya.  But as a political mantra, responsibility to protect (or, perhaps, “atrocity prevention,” another banner with the Power stamp on it) is tailor-made for the aftermath of a chemical weapons attack on civilians.  There is no reason to imagine that John Kerry or Chuck Hagel will shift the locus of strategic thinking in the administration away from its earlier patterns.

With these three frameworks laid out, we circle back to the problem that the U.S. administration has addressed none of them before the public or Congress.  We don’t know how much or if Team Obama, or our eager allies, have thought about what it will mean to the peace to cross Russia and Iran with a military action in Syria.  For all we can tell, it has not even occurred to them.

We don’t know what their thinking is on the choice between evils:  the evil of intervening or the evil of failing to after defining a red line.

And we don’t know what the driving objective of an intervention would be.  That said, we do have an informative (if disquieting) data point from 2011.

Given all these factors, most of us can form a pretty solid opinion of whether we should intervene, and if so, for what purpose.  What I have been unable to predict is what Obama is going to do.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

3 Responses to “The Perils of Barack”

  1. For Israel says:

    Umm, for a President who seems to be purposely destroying American, and who doesn’t seem to keen on Israel, what would be the “best” option. Strike Syria.

  2. For Israel says:

    Umm, for a President who seems to be purposely destroying American, and who doesn’t seem to keen on Israel, what would be the “best” option. Strike Syria.

  3. Thi is a reality show media, Obama, Cameron, Holande and Merkel get out from Syria, let the kill each other.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

People test Israel every day to see how serious we really are in knowing when we are right.

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Map of ISIS in Iraq

ISIS has no intention of “marching on” Baghdad. The Sunni affiliates of ISIS are going to disrupt life there.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Who will he take to the dance?

Oslo’s moment of unchallenged American supremacy and the illusion of unforced global stasis, passed.

Could the Obamas be any more “let ‘em eat cake”?

The Obama administration wants to take over the short-term financial services industry.

The topics are “The Reagan Strategy,” and the “Iran Time Bomb.”

Maybe it’s a tad undiplomatic to announce it publicly before telling Israel’s prime minister about it?

Nobody wants a wind turbine in his back yard.

Monday, November 11, Russia’s Slava-class missile cruiser Varyag pulled into Alexandria for the Russian navy’s first port visit in Egypt since 1992.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/the-perils-of-barack/2013/08/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: