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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It's a no-win scenario in Syria

The vast majority of Americans don’t believe that it’s in our best interests to use military force in Syria. And for the most part, I concur with the majority. However, there is one compelling reason for us to undertake this act.

Unfortunately, President Obama never took into account the famous admonition given by one of our nation’s great presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, who famously said, “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.” When Obama drew his “red line” and threatened a military response if the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he should have remembered the wisdom of Roosevelt.

As abhorrent as the use of chemical weapons is in the deaths of citizens, including hundreds of women and children, military strikes aimed at the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad will not solve the problem. Yet if no action is taken, then the U.S., and more particularly the president, will look like “knights of the big wind” or a toothless paper tiger.

And when it becomes more likely that the U.S. will have to protect what’s in our national interests, by doing such things as dealing with the nuclear threat in Iran or an already nuclear-armed North Korea, the Iranians may view us, and our president, as not credible and impotent, and will not take any of our warnings seriously.

That’s why the president may be able to get a majority vote in Congress to support a limited military response.

We’re in a no-win situation. If we fail to act, we look like the paper tiger. If we do act, and use military force, the conflict could widen and engulf us and other nations in that volatile area of the world, including our ally Israel.

It’s amazing that in his second term, Obama made such a politically naïve red-line statement. As repugnant as the Assad regime is, the president’s remarks served no useful purpose. Unfortunately, even our NATO allies see that a military response at this time isn’t the answer, so now we have a deep divide with most of those usually close allies.

Make no mistake about it: As evil as Assad’s regime is, many of those who are seeking his ouster are not friends of the U.S. and democracy. They wage war on those who are not extreme Islamists. They pose a threat to the U.S., and in many ways are even more oppressive than the Assad regime.

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