To believe Obama (on Syria) or not to believe. That is the question.

It’s not that I don’t respect all those who are so staunchly opposed to any sort of military intervention in Syria, or that I don’t understand what’s got them so upset. This was one of those rare times in President Obama’s presidency when a sizable portion of those who normally support him – both inside the Congress as well as regular everyday citizens – felt forced to state publicly that they just couldn’t stand with him this time. The overall fear seems to be that, regardless of what Obama says about a limited missile strike, this is bound to get us into another war if that missile strike goes forward. And I’ll grant it does seem to make sense that if the U.S. government launches missiles at a sovereign nation that has not launched any missiles at us then it’s pretty hard not to regard that as a declaration of war.

But in the end, what this all comes down to is a matter of trust. Whether or not I choose to believe what the President is saying. Do I believe that Obama really has the evidence that chemical weapons were used – specifically sarin gas – by the Syrian government against Syria’s own people? Do I believe that the threat of a limited missile strike is the only response option we have aside from doing nothing at all? Isn’t there a more diplomatic solution available?

If you believe Obama, then you believe that not only is there no other way, but the United States is duty-bound to enforce the internationally agreed-upon ban on the use of chemical weapons, even if some of our closest European allies such as Great Britain refuse to offer any assistance.  If you believe those who oppose the use of a military strike, the United States just can’t afford to get itself tangled up in another war in the Middle East that will tie us up for who knows how long.

But now we hear that Russia has come forward with this ‘solution’ urging Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to the international community. Not only that, but we hear that this ‘solution’ was actually something the President has been discussing with Russian President Vladimir Putin for quite awhile now. One of the best pieces I’ve read yet on this whole scenario was recently posted in PoliticusUSA by Jason Easley:

President Obama admitted that he had been discussing the international option on Syria with Putin since last year.

It turns out that all of the people on the left and right who were fooled by the pundits and hosts on cable news into believing that war was just around the corner were absolutely, completely, totally, utterly wrong. War is not around the corner. In fact, President Obama had a strategy to get Syria to the table. That strategy was to get the United States talking about striking Syria by asking Congress for authorization.

If President Obama wanted to strike Syria, he could have done so at any time. He didn’t, because military action in Syria was not what he wanted. The president wanted Syria to surrender their chemical weapons to the international community, and the best way to get Russia to listen was to turn up the heat by letting Congress debate a potential military strike on Syria.

So now it looks like just maybe the President knew what he was doing. I may not always agree with the President, but I do  trust him.



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