Monday, September 02, 2013

Conundrum for Conservatives on Syria

Jennifer Rubin is out with her bat in hitting Obama Administration while another Conservative luminary Ed Rogers wants to pass the 'no confidence motion' on President Obama. I have no idea how did Ramesh Ponnuru judged George Bush's Iraq war, but today he says it makes much less sense to intervene in Syria than Bush's Iraq's war. Ponnuru forgets that not only Obama Administration is sharing all of their intelligence with members of Congress, in Syria we have actually seen usage of Chemical Weapons while there was no reported incidence of nuke explosion by Saddam's Iraq. It is also well established fact that Syria's Assad possess and controls Chemical Weapons. So do we still think it is 'apples to apples' comparison between Iraq and Syrian situation? Again, as expected 'partisan' allegiance colors views of these commentators. 

Jennifer Rubin argues that precisely because of such partisan debates, Presidents are expected to take foreign military interventions orthogonal to Congress. This is to argue as good as like "oh, we know Congress Members are unable to rise above their political obligations; so why go there".  To what a cynical level should we go here? Is it not job of Congressional Members to consider 'national interest' issues above partisan politics? Why are we forgetting what Tea Party Members would love to advocate - constitutionalism that Congress and President are co-equal branches of our Government? Whether Obama's decision to go to Congress for the Syrian Resolution is epochal or not, as some commentators on Left think; what is needed is Congress to be fully part of this decision. (True, for any future American action against Iranian Nukes President Obama or future American President would have to take Congress's authorization too.) If that does not happen in the prevailing environment, should we not make efforts to change that? Think about this way - it is all right for Republicans to plan 'default of America' - the single most direct threat to our national security - and all the concomitant partisan politics is OK there; but it is not OK the same politics for a foreign intervention?

Truth is Republicans feel robbed of a topic in 'cheaply criticizing President Obama forever' for the Syrian situation. If he does not act - blame him he is weak. He plans to act - either it is too late, too little or why is he taking us to another Middle East War? He does not take authorization from Congress, he is imperial. He goes for Congressional Authorization, let us pull 'no confidence vote on him'. The only way these Conservative critics are going to be happy are when like a magic President Obama makes Syrian Assad to disappear, disappear those Chemical Weapons and bring some secular political force in-charge of Syria without divisions (which after decades of efforts, Trillion Dollars and significant number of deaths in neighboring Iraq did not materialize)

President Obama can be blamed for a lack of fully coherent strategy, but the thing is not that there is any coherent policy approach available for taking. President Obama rightly avoided to get involved in Syrian Civil War so far. But now the incidence of WMD has happened. If Assad gets free from any consequences, he would do it again and usage of Chemical Weapons will be established as 'business as usual'.

It is true, after shooting an arrow, it is still possible that Assad would use Chemical Weapons yet another time. But that would mean the same / similar punitive actions will have to be applied. Assad's air force, communication and broadcasting infrastructure can be destroyed along with possible carriers of Chemical Weapons. Once Assad's air force is eliminated, America could deploy 'drones' effectively to monitor possible usage of Chemical Weapons and enforce the ban.

It is understood that Assad's military capabilities will be reinforced by Russia and Iran. But West can equally further equip rebels in not letting the balance go in favor of Assad. And finally, it is quite possible that in desperation Assad or his supporter Hezbollah could attack Israel or neighboring countries like Turkey and Jordan are pulled into the quagmire because of the continued flood of refugees.  In all of these cases, America and West will have to stand behind their allies like Israel, Turkey and Jordan. To let go these countries without help as well as to let down ally Saudi Arabia is hardly any useful for America

America does not need Middle East Oil. But it needs Middle East which is not a fertile ground for easy availability of WMDs. America needs its Middle East alliances intact to thwart dangers of Syrian-Iranian axis. All this means, not to ignore usage of Chemical Weapons and this all needs to be understood by all Americans and by Congress.

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