For all the phony bipartisanship and false attempts to bridge the gulf between liberal Democrats and Republicans, who would have thought that Muslims abusing poison gas would bring everyone together? John Boehner is finally saying yes to something Barack Obama wants without asking why the Syrian people matter more than dealing with real threats to Americans and our friend and ally, Israel.
John McCain’s overreaching enthusiasm for overthrowing the government of a sovereign nation is no surprise (see: U.S. Nation-Building Can’t Build a Better Muslim), but the willingness of other Republicans to endorse the Obama administration’s fixation on Syria is hard to fathom. Despite the overheated bombast from Washington, this is not about a national security threat. Do officials think the safest statement we can make to the world community is a symbolic gesture to prove America lives up to its word even when that word is a mistake? If so, they picked the wrong target.
Obama: strong on poison gas, weak on nuclear weapons?
There are weapons of mass destruction and there are weapons of massive destruction. In the world’s experience poison gas ranks somewhere below commercial jetliners and nuclear weapons trump just about everything.
Do liberals feel comfortable putting comparatively safe, symbolic gestures on the table while refusing to respond to real threats? Ongoing anti-Americanism after September 11 should have blown off our blinders as to how radical Middle East Muslims view America. Given Iran’s professed ambitions, John Kerry sounded like he was suffering from some sort of nuclear memory lapse when he spoke last week:
This matters also beyond the limits of Syria’s borders. It is about whether Iran, which itself has been a victim of chemical weapons attacks, will now feel emboldened, in the absence of action, to obtain nuclear weapons. It is about Hezbollah, and North Korea, and every other terrorist group or dictator that might ever again contemplate the use of weapons of mass destruction.¹
Feel emboldened? We already know that the world community is not going to do anything about Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program despite the threats to destroy Israel and belligerence dealing with nuclear inspectors. Neither will it do anything about North Korea’s showoffy demonstrations of its nuclear success. When officials in Washington talk about the eyes of the world being upon us,² did they forget that many of those eyes looked the other way when we suggested a new foray into the Muslim world?
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez sounds like he lives in a dream world where bellicose nations care about U.S. opposition to WMDs:
We will either send a message to Syria, Iran, North Korea, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and any other non-state actors that the world will not tolerate the senseless use of chemical weapons by anyone or we will choose to stand silent in the face of horrific human suffering.³
Things have changed. Our president has helped ensure that we no longer live in a world that looks to America for judgment and guidance.
Fooled by a moderate Muslim.
Western nations were eager to label Iran’s new president a moderate. Are Rouhani’s words what moderation means in the Arab world?
The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed.4
We don’t have those worries with North Korea because we know where Kim Jong-un is coming from. Last week we got machine gun executions and labor camps. Earlier in the year we got nuclear tests. No matter. Syria has become America’s chance to prove she can still say no.
Liberals and the GOP unite to create an enemy.
If the president gets his way and the GOP falls in line, Mr. Obama will succeed at uniting the Arab World by renewing its shared hatred of America. When the first picture of a dead civilian shows up on Al Jazeera, whatever punishment we dole out for using poison gas is going to turn America from a laughingstock into a pariah.
The will of the world community has proved time and again to be a flaccid threat, but America going it alone to make a symbolic gesture in defense of Muslims who may be our enemies while Iran threatens Israel with annihilation makes the U.S. look worse than weak. If liberals and conservatives come together over Syria instead of saying no to Obama’s red line, they will unite us on the world stage as fools.