Reality holds US back from war, for now

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-9-2 0:53:01

US President Barack Obama declared on August 31 a "limited strike" on Syria pending Congress' approval, which cannot be made until September 9. Both the US and the international community are saying that Obama has shown unexpected hesitation and predict that tension in the Middle East will probably be eased. It is possible that the US will give up on the strike.

President Obama has the right to launch air strikes without consulting Congress. But the reason he finds "trouble" in seeking approval from Congress, which has been criticized by John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, as being too weak, is that such a decision is being made on very shaky ground. The UK, its strong ally, has already withdrawn, leaving only France to cover its back. The air strike, if launched, will send Uncle Sam into a "naked" war. Without enough support, Obama has passed the ball to Congress.

The US is gradually losing the support of the international community for starting wars. Such a tendency is no coincidence. On the contrary, it shows the superpower's declining strength, and shows that the rest of the world has realized that wars will not address the intertwined problems of the Middle East.

Obama's counterpart in Russia, Vladimir Putin, demanded that the US present evidence to prove Syrian government troops used chemical weapons.

Such a request is much more powerful than Obama's ambiguous proof. Before the Iraq War, the US fooled the whole world with fake evidence. The so-called evidence this time, as media reports, is nothing more than part of a phone-call recording provided by Israeli intelligence.

Washington has been too confident in its ability to lead, thinking that a single wave of its flag will spur its Western allies to charge, and the rest of the world will resentfully fall into line. However, the White House has miscalculated the situation. With the heavy blow from Britain and morale now high among Syrian government troops, the US will not win the war easily or exit smoothly if it resorts to an air strike.

Although it is still possible that Congress will say yes, Obama will not be able to erase the consequences of his "hesitation" in the Middle East. The US has shown its Achilles' heel, losing more support and lacking real resolve to carry forward its intervention policy.

After Egypt's "Arab Spring" backfired, Obama has only managed to imbue the air strike against Syria with an ambiguous political goal. Obama's "hesitation" has made the already shattered opinions in the Western sphere more difficult to put back together.

If the US finally gives up on the air strike, it means the US' deterrence will be reduced. It also reflects the realism in the US. The world's media also emphasized that Putin reminded Obama that he is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, which shows that peace should prevail.

Posted in: Editorial

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