You call this an 'achievement'?lulled the American people into complacency about the ongoing tragedy in Syria (Hat Tip: Memeorandum and many others).
Today the Islamic State is blowing up precious cultural monuments in Palmyra, and half of all Syrians have been displaced — as if, on a proportional basis, 160 million Americans had been made homeless. More than a quarter-million have been killed. Yet the “Save Darfur” signs have not given way to “Save Syria.”
One reason is that Obama — who ran for president on the promise of restoring the United States’ moral stature — has constantly reassured Americans that doing nothing is the smart and moral policy. He has argued, at times, that there was nothing the United States could do, belittling the Syrian opposition as “former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.”
He has argued that we would only make things worse — “I am more mindful probably than most,” he told the New Republic in 2013, “of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations.”
He has implied that because we can’t solve every problem, maybe we shouldn’t solve any. “How do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?” he asked (though at the time thousands were not being killed in Congo).
On those rare occasions when political pressure or the horrors of Syrian suffering threatened to overwhelm any excuse for inaction, he promised action, in statements or White House leaks: training for the opposition, a safe zone on the Turkish border. Once public attention moved on, the plans were abandoned or scaled back to meaningless proportions (training 50 soldiers per year, no action on the Turkish border).
Perversely, the worse Syria became, the more justified the president seemed for staying aloof; steps that might have helped in 2012 seemed ineffectual by 2013, and actions that could have saved lives in 2013 would not have been up to the challenge presented by 2014. The fact that the woman who wrote the book on genocide, Samantha Power, and the woman who campaigned to bomb Sudan to save the people of Darfur, Susan Rice, could apparently in good conscience stay on as U.N. ambassador and national security adviser, respectively, lent further moral credibility to U.S. abdication.
Most critically, inaction was sold not as a necessary evil but as a notable achievement: The United States at last was leading with the head, not the heart, and with modesty, not arrogance. “Realists” pointed out that the United States gets into trouble when it lets ideals or emotions rule — when it sends soldiers to feed the hungry in Somalia, for example, only to lose them, as told in “ Black Hawk Down,” and turn tail.
When Obama pulled all U.S. troops out of Iraq, critics worried there would be instability; none envisioned the emergence of a full-blown terrorist state. When he announced in August 2011 that “the time has come for President Assad to step aside,” critics worried the words might prove empty — but few imagined the extent of the catastrophe: not just the savagery of chemical weapons and “barrel bombs,” but also the Islamic State’s recruitment of thousands of foreign fighters, its spread from Libya to Afghanistan, the danger to the U.S. homeland that has alarmed U.S. intelligence officials, the refugees destabilizing Europe.Unfortunately, there are no longer any easy answers for Syria. Syrians are fleeing to Europe because they don't want to flee to Arab countries (looking at how the 'Palestinians' have been held hostage for more than six decades by their Arab brethren - including in Syria - they have no desire to follow suit) and because Europe is accessible and in some cases - notably Germany, but really all of them because of the Schengen visas - open. I don't expect this to end well. Germany is absorbing 800,000 Syrians, at least some of whom are likely to be Islamic State terrorists. But even if that were not the case, the sheer number of 'refugees' would likely change the entire character of the German population.
I'm not suggesting that the United States take them in either. I don't think that any country should take in large numbers of them. Perhaps they should be dispersed all over the world, but only after ensuring that they don't include terrorists. The sad reality is that they likely do.
Obama could have stopped Assad in his tracks four years ago. He could have supported the Nusra Front before it became radicalized. He could have left US troops in Iraq (which he dogmatically - there is no other word - insisted on withdrawing despite all indications of a resulting disaster), and thus prevented the rise of ISIS on Syria's border. Instead, he kissed up to Assad, insisting on sending an ambassador to Syria, all in the interest of the one foreign policy goal about which Obama has been consistent: Destroying the State of Israel. (God Forbid).
Read the whole thing.