“I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching,” the president said in a speech at the National Defense University, in Washington. “The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable."Obama has been quoted as saying he doesn't bluff. Are we to assume that means another war will be automatic if the crazy-necked dictator sprays chemicals on his population? Obama is already on record as bragging about ending the war in Iraq and responsibly winding another down in Afghanistan; can he afford to start one in Syria?
Or does it matter? He knows that no matter what he does the media will be there to either 1) not report it, or 2) glorify it, while blaming Bush for anything that goes wrong.
While I'm no expert by any stretch it seems the WMD red line rhetoric is a box-in. If Assad calls the apparent bluff and uses WMD and we don't respond Obama will de-legitimize both himself and the United States position. If we do engage it figures to be extremely messy considering both Russia and China--and of course Israel and the surrounding Arab countries--are greatly interested in the outcome and likely involved behind the scenes, with the same outcome not preferred by all players. Meanwhile Iran's centrifuges spin.
And how about this wild and crazy wildcard scenario--what if some of the chem-weapons Assad is playing with originated in Iraq and Assad makes it known to the US that if we engage he will spill the beans, threatening Obama's dumb war position? Would Obama call that bluff now that he's gained a second term? It would certainly help Hillary's status. One might think it would also help Bush's legacy, that is if the white house press didn't manage to convince everyone the WMDs that weren't in Iraq are in Syria because Bush invaded Iraq to get rid of the WMDs, which was dumb. Don't discount such things.
Whatever the case it's a good thing Christmas is coming. When is Charlie Brown on?