So when I saw a headline announcing that Obama was willing to let Syrian President Assad “surrender” his chemical weapons in order to avoid a U.S. strike, I assumed it was another parody.
It’s hard to understand how anyone could even consider this plan to be a serious option.
How can we trust the word of Assad – a man who has murdered tens of thousands of his own people, used chemical weapons, broken every international norm and law, reneged on all of his promises to the UN, U.S. officials, and international mediators, and is supported by Iran, one of the most duplicitous nations in the world?
Do we really believe that Assad would give us all of his weapons? How could we verify this? We don’t even know where the weapons are or how many Assad has. How can we take him at his word? How do we know he won’t transfer them to Russia or Iran? (If you think that’s impossible, think about how much military hardware Iran and Russia have shipped into Syria. Do you really think they can’t reverse engineer that process?)
The West is trying to avoid conflict at all costs. This is a mistaken strategy that emboldens our enemies, and will lead to serious trouble down the line. If we’re willing to engage in such a silly charade as this to avoid a missile strike in Syria, what kind of message does that send the world?
Other countries are clearly learning that they can push us and push us, and we will never blink. And when a “red line” finally is crossed, we’ll still grab onto any possible option that allows us to avoid confrontation.
How can Obama first claim military action is necessary, but now say he’s open to an approach that will let Assad go unpunished and retain some (or even most) of his chemical weapons? Obama’s, and America’s, credibility is shrinking by the second.
Obama is not a stupid man. He knows any plan to let Assad “surrender” his WMD is unfeasible and unrealistic. But the President is so desperate to avoid a conflict, that he’s apparently willing to consider it. This is shameful for the leader of the United States. America, and the free world, deserves better.
Aside from the fact that Assad can’t be trusted, the plan doesn’t even work when you really think about it. Syria is in the middle of a bloody, protracted civil war. How are the large international teams needed to secure the weapons going to get into Syria, move the stockpiles, and ensure no terrorist groups get access to them? Assad’s own forces have trouble moving around the country and securing their military objective. But international forces will somehow be able to?
This whole debacle arose thanks to an off-handed and ill-advised comment by John Kerry. President Assad and his Russian enablers seized on the remark, and are now using it to make a mockery of Kerry, Obama, and the United States.
Obama’s willingness to even consider such a plan has made the President, and America, look like rank fools. The world is upside down. Will anyone come along and right it?
David Meyers is the Opinion Editor of The Algemeiner.