A week ago Saturday, the President announced that rather than strike Syria that weekend, as we all expected, he was turning the whole thing over to Congress, even though he claimed he had the power to act without their consent. So he shrank as Commander in Chief.
Last night, he took the ball from Congress and handed it to Vladimir Putin, shrinking even more and basically out-sourcing Syria from another branch of his government to our enemy.
This is both pathetic and scary.
The original purpose of the speech had been to rally public support on the eve of a scheduled Senate vote on the Syria strike. Once that vote got postponed, the speech should have been postponed as well.
You don’t ask all the networks for prime time to announce that you are postponing a vote in Congress so you can follow Putin down the primrose path.
On a 73-26 vote, the Senate passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through the rest of FY 2013, which ends September 30.
They moved money around within the Defense Department to avoid sequester-related problems, and made a number of other similar fixes, such as making sure we will have meat inspections and that the State Department can provide non-lethal aid to Syrians.
I have long believed that there should be a Kurdistan.
From “Letter from Syria,” Thomas Friedman, NYT:
“Syria is the keystone of the Middle East. If and how it cracks apart could recast this entire region. The borders of Syria have been fixed ever since the British and French colonial powers carved up the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. If Assad is toppled and you have state collapse here, Syria’s civil war could go regional and challenge all the old borders — as the Shiites of Lebanon seek to link up more with the Alawite/Shiites of Syria, the Kurds of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey try to link up with one another and create an independent Kurdistan, and the Sunnis of Iraq, Jordan and Syria draw closer to oppose the Shiites of Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.” Emphasis added.
Certainly a messy and difficult process, but one that’s worth going through to try to get it right a hundred years later.
From “Rebel Arms Flow Is Said To Benefit Jihadists In Syria,” David E. Sanger, NYT:
“Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.
“That conclusion…casts into doubt whether the White House’s strategy of minimal and indirect intervention in the Syrian conflict is accomplishing its intended purpose of helping a democratic-minded opposition topple an oppressive government, or instead may be sowing the seeds of future insurgencies hostile to the Unites States.”
We keep pretending that countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar are our friends, but when are we going to finally acknowledge that they’re not and behave accordingly?
We freed the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein, and they pay us back by letting Iran fly over their territory to arm the Syrians. Thank you, George W. Bush.
Under Hussein, the minority Sunnis ruled Iran. Now the majority Shiites have taken over to form a powerful coalition with Shiite Iran, a major supporter not just of the brutal Assad regime but of terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Not the outcome we were looking for, but one we should have seen coming once Hussein was gone.
I watched Mitt’s speech with the soft bigotry of low expectations. I thought it was overall a well-crafted speech, well-delivered, probably the best I’ve seen him. They took their sow’s ear of a candidate, and certainly didn’t turn him into a silk purse, but they fashioned a decent pigskin one.
I still can’t stand his little tight-lipped smirk that passes for a smile. You’d think someone who’s been running for president for five years would have fixed that by now.
I don’t think the speech changes anything, I still think President Obama will win. When Mitt talked about his mother’s running for the Senate and wondering why women shouldn’t have power in national affairs, he left hanging the question why we shouldn’t have power over our own bodies. He didn’t bridge the gender gap chasm.
The attack on Putin/Russia was ill-advised. We have a sitting President who is trying every day to get more cooperation from them on issues like Iran and Syria. Mittens wasn’t helping.
From “Why Russia Is Backing Syria,” Ruslan Pukhov, NYT:
“Many Russians believe that the collapse of the Assad government would be tantamount to the loss of Russia’s last client and ally in the Middle East and the final elimination of traces of former Soviet prowess there — illusory as those traces may be.
“Such attitudes are further buttressed by widespread pessimism about the eventual outcome of the Arab Spring, and the Syrian revolution in particular. Most Russian observers believe that Arab revolutions have completely destabilized the region and cleared the road to power for the Islamists. In Moscow, secular authoritarian governments are seen as the sole realistic alternative to Islamic dominance.
“The continuing struggles in Arab countries are seen as a battle by those who wear neckties against those who do not wear them. Russians have long suffered from terrorism and extremism at the hands of Islamists in the northern Caucasus, and they are therefore firmly on the side of those who wear neckties.
“To people in Moscow, Mr. Assad appears not so much as ‘a bad dictator’ but as a secular leader struggling with an uprising of Islamist barbarians.”
The Russians are backing Assad for the same reason we backed Mubarak for all those years. We both fear the Arab Street. The Russian have their bastards, and we have ours.
The Russians have never been fond of Islam. Under the Czars, the Russians viewed the Muslims in their empire as a threat to Christianity. Under the Communists, the Russians viewed the Muslims in their empire as a threat to atheism.