Obama's selective moral compass
Image via WikipediaWashington Times Editorial:
President Obama’s penchant to frame his actions in lofty terms places him in a position of having to explain why his moral compass is so selective. The contrasting U.S. policies toward Libya and Syria expose Mr. Obama’s moral conundrum.Consistency can be hard in a fast moving climate like the current Middle East. It appears that Obama did not see far enough down the road when he was explaining his reasons for going into Libya. That makes his reasons for not going into Syria all the more incoherent.
Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s regime is every bit as reprehensible as Moammar Gadhafi’s. The Syrian people are doing their best to make a bid for freedom, just as the Libyan people did. Mr. Assad has fought back with guns and tanks, killing hundreds, just like Col. Gadhafi. The Syrian people took hope from NATO’s intervention in Libya that maybe their cause would also merit foreign support. However, the United States refuses to offer the Syrian people anything more than a few nattering statements.
Mr. Obama has said there is no “Obama doctrine” at play in Libya. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said that conditions in each country must be judged on a case-by-case basis. It’s important to recall that Mr. Obama did not immediately seek United Nations authorization to intervene in Libya but only moved after the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council took the lead. These organizations are unlikely to call for intervention in Syria, so if Mr. Obama is waiting for their permission to take action, he - and the Syrian dissidents - will have a long wait.
The United States has more strategic interest in regime change in Syria than in Libya. Syria under Mr. Assad is an Iranian client state, a chief enabler of the terrorist organization Hezbollah, and the main transit route for foreign insurgents heading for Iraq. The Assad regime is a charter member of the “Shiite Crescent” anchored by Iran, even though the majority of the population is Sunni. Democracy in Syria would be a major step toward reshaping the Middle East and frustrating Iran’s plans for regional hegemony. Thus, the case for regime change in Damascus has a solid foundation in both strategic realism and human-rights idealism.
Syria is a place where enemies of the US and Israel find a home and it is a key client of the Tehran entity of religious bigots. The Damascus entity is clearly trying to restore fear among the people. That is its only hope of survival since it is unlikely that it will be able to persuade the people to like them.
The Uprising is so widespread at this point that it is putting stress on the military in making its intimidating response. Will this Friday be another day of massacre in Syria? Chances are that it will and this administration has no strategy for helping those being oppressed by the Assad apparatus.