Thursday, September 5, 2013

Red Lines & Reality

For most of the last week, we've discussed the looming potential for military action by the U.S. in Syria, at least mentioning the subject, if not focusing on the subject every day we've published.

We've discussed the pundit class who continue to push for military action and the world that wants America to be their Supercop. We also discussed the reticence of many in Congress to get involved, and - spurred by comments from Greg Sargent - we came up with specific examples of why the American people might be skeptical of their government, outside of the disastrous and politically polarizing war in Iraq.

While we were discussing these topics with you, the Obama Administration has continued to drag a feckless and selfish Congress and a screaming American public towards the responsibilities of a very definite red line that our nation agreed to long ago.

Excluding a few of our more intelligent media colleagues, there's been very little discussion by either pundits or politicians of the reality behind that red line. President Obama however, addressed that red line reality directly during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday. The President pointedly said, "I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line." Obama continued, "My credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line."

This argument by President Obama, and those in his administration who are tasked with carrying out his instructions - including Secretaries Kerry and Hagel - may indeed be the only valid part of the argument in favor of action against the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad.

As Al Jazeera America outlined, everyone from the Arab League to the U.K., and from China to our allies in Europe continues insisting that SOMETHING should be done to enforce international law. Even the Pope is saying that SOMETHING should be done. Meanwhile, not a single nation or non-state actor has stepped up and offered to take the same amount of risk as the U.S. in enforcing the international law on chemical weapons.

That is the red line that the world, as a collective group of nations, has decided to go beyond; Boldly, selfishly, and with sniveling cowardice - with the exception of President Obama.

No matter what you say about Obama, the one thing you cannot honestly state is that - especially in this case - he has abandoned America's moral and ethical responsibilities to agreements this nation has previously made to its citizens, or to the world at large.

As a staff, we still vehemently oppose unilateral U.S. action in Syria. We do not think any plan that will pass Congress will achieve the goal of penalizing Syria's Assad effectively for breaking international law.

As a matter of fact and principle, however, President Obama is completely and unequivocally correct in dragging Americans to accept the reality of the red line of international law.

If a significant majority of nations around the world are NOT willing to take a significant part in enforcing what they claim to be a key international law, then that international law simply does not have any validity.

That is the real red line every nation is crossing right now, including the United States.