So now it’s Assad’s government in Syria that has crossed the Rubicon. What shall the Emperor do?! Should he listen to voices coming from Russia, China… and elsewhere, who are warning the US from taking unilateral military action… or should he follow the advice of that dime-store oracle in Washington: John McCain.
As our Gullible-in-Chief weighs another critical foreign policy decision – this time to step into the moving sands of Syria – I am inclined to follow the advice that a friend, a retired academic, gave me back in 2008 as the presidential election gave us a choice between two candidates, both likely to pass on into history as duds: Barack Obama and John McCain. In this day and age, my friend told me, when we need to confront a major government decision, an “almost always” safe thing is to do the “un-McCain thing.” Art, a former history professor, was (he is since passed away) totally convinced that McCain was a great barometer, a leading indicator, of what not to do or follow, whether in matters of morality or politics (domestic or foreign). If McCain is advocating “A”, make sure your choice is “Z”, Art would say, and you’ll likely bat over .900.
It was Art’s contention that McCain, given his lack of grey matter, over-abundance of ignorance in most any field, low moral standards and personal recklessness, had little choice but to pick the goofy lady from Alaska, so he would not be outshone by a running mate during the presidential campaign. And Sarah Palin was perfectly sculpted to serve as his vice-presidential candidate.
Today, Wednesday, August 28, on the probable eve of yet another stupid, catastrophic decision by the White House, we ponder if we have become a victim of our own false pride and love-of-empire, declaring we are forced to act when we are not. Drawing a line in the sand, establishing specific boundaries and delivering an ultimatum, as President Obama had done with Assad’s regime in Syria should not imply a retribution likely to have dire consequences for millions of people… and an entire region. Consequences, all possible consequences, must be weighed in a rational humanitarian fashion, and not just in a purely, strategic military way. And that would be true even if the UN certified, in an indisputable way, evidence of chemical attacks directed by Assad personally or by his staff. Yet, it is unlikely that such indisputable proof will exist before any criminal “shock and awe” salvos are launched by the Pentagon.
Obama will not have any loss of face by waiting for such indisputable evidence, and then by determining a course of action with a long term humanitarian approach – doing it in concert with the UN and/or explicit international consent and approval. One cannot even fathom the embarrassment and eventual consequences for the US if, after taking unilateral action – Britain and France being US wing-nations do not a coalition make – such chemical attacks were found to be perpetrated or instigated by groups or nations that would benefit from Assad’s fall from power… a few of them come to mind that are best kept in obscurity at this time.
This moment in history could be one which will bring to light whether Barack Obama does possess the stature of a statesman, or is simply wearing the vestments conferred by the Empire, just like his incapable predecessor did when criminally, and foolishly, invading Iraq.
At a time when we claim to be seeking a permanent solution to the circular situation which exists between Israel and Palestine (Palestinians), it is incongruous to reality that we fail to see what is happening all around the Middle East. The old United Arab Republic, Syria and Egypt, have over 90 million people divided and fighting, whether in open civil war or through socioeconomic confrontation. It has less to do with political regimes, and so-called dictatorships such as those of Mubarak and Assad, and more to do with the existing distribution of wealth and power. And equity may or may not come through dialogue (hopefully) or civil struggle (unfortunately).
As for doltish Senator John McCain, he would not just be content with a few salvos of cruise missiles against specific, critical targets… as he contends Obama will limit his action. McCain, like his brother-in-arms George W. Bush did in Iraq, would have the US “liberate” the Syrian people under Assad’s yoke.
Maybe from beyond the grave, my friend Art can muster a few seconds’ audience with Obama to show McCain as the leading indicator for America’s impending disaster in the Middle East. But such thinking in my part is just as delusional as the idea that America could ever assist in, much less broker, bringing peace to the Middle East.
© 2013 Ben Tanosborn
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