The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s startling Sept. 11 op-ed article in The New York Times was sobering evidence that President Obama’s self-created Syrian debacle has fostered the appearance of a sea change in international affairs – a sea change to America’s detriment.
Mr. Putin, heretofore known as a ruthless KGB thug, was enabled by President Obama’s ineptness to deliver in the Times a statesmanlike plea for the rule of law in international affairs as well as a stinging rebuke of what he described as the American self-image of “exceptionalism” that has led it to act unilaterally when it felt like it.
Would anyone have cared what Mr. Putin thought about these things had President Obama not laid down his Syrian “red line” and then folded when Syria seemingly ignored it? But this was not all, by any means.
We are not saying Mr. Obama should have resorted to military action simply to boost U.S. credibility in international affairs. Yet it is hard to imagine at this point that other countries – Iran, for example – view American blandishments as having the ring of truth to them. The same holds true for Israel and other U.S. allies that have been urged to forgo taking action on their own in defense of their national interests and instead rely on the U.S.
And then there was the president’s about-face in deciding to seek Congressional approval before he would act on his “red line” promise. Actually, it is not difficult to understand why Mr. Obama decided to go to Congress for authorization regarding the use of force against Syria. While presidents, including President Obama, have taken military action against other countries without Congressional pre-approval, each of those situations was recognized as justifiable under international law.
President Reagan sent Marines into Grenada on the grounds that he had to act to protect American citizens there. President Clinton bombed Kosovo in order to stop the massacre of civilians there. And the bombing of Libya by Mr. Obama was authorized by the UN Security Council.
But an attack on Syria over its use of chemical weapons has not been explained as a preventative measure designed to stymie any further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. From the start, President Obama cited the need to punish Mr. Assad’s government if it resorted to chemical weapons. Prevention was not part of his initial formulation.
Indeed, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said, “The president believed that it was important to enhance the legitimacy of any action that would be taken by the executive to seek Congressional approval of that action and have it be seen, again as a matter of legitimacy both domestically and internationally, that there was a unified American response to the horrendous violation of the international norm against chemical weapons use.”
Mr. Obama himself said the U.S. should “get out of the habit” of having American presidents “stretch the boundaries of his authority as far as he can,” while members of Congress “snipe” from the sidelines.
But no matter the level of the president’s concern over possibly facing war-crime accusations, he risked, by turning to Congress without knowing beforehand whether there was domestic support for still another war, telegraphing to the world that the U.S. had no stomach to live up to its promises. And not only did he meet a wall of Congressional resistance, his dithering allowed popular revulsion to grow against any military action.
Recognizing the damage he had done to his personal – and the country’s – credibility, President Obama said last Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that while his administration’s diplomatic approach to Syria’s chemical weapons showed Iran that diplomacy was still possible, the mullahs shouldn’t assume that military action was off the table. The Iranians, he said, understand that their nuclear pursuit is “a far larger issue for us” than Syria’s use of chemical weapons.
But the damage had already been done. Vladimir Putin is now the go-to guy for foreign leaders seeking to circumvent their international responsibilities. Why, even the president of the United States turned to him when a fast foot-from-mouth extraction was needed.
Despite the vast disparity in military and economic strength between their respective countries, the Russian president is now viewed as Mr. Obama’s equal on the international scene.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-emergent-mr-putin/2013/09/17/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: