There’s a reason why they’re subject to a law — as we will find out in Syria.
Advocates of U.S. military intervention in Syria argue that a failure to act would undermine our credibility. America’s credibility in the Middle East is certainly at an all-time low, but bombing Syria would only bring it lower.
Barack Obama struck the greatest blow to America’s credibility back in 2011, when he joined the mob calling for Egyptian president Mubarak’s ouster. Hosni Mubarak was widely considered our closest and most reliable friend in the Arab world, and the way we summarily threw him under the bus shocked the Saudis, the Jordanians, and other pro-American autocrats. Of course, they didn’t know Barack Obama the way we do. If they had only paused to consider how ruthlessly he abandoned his long-time spiritual mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, when it suited his interests, the Arabs would have realized that the only thing Obama is loyal to is his overweening ambition.
But Barack Obama’s betrayal was Vladimir Putin’s opportunity. The former KGB agent has long regarded his country’s fall from superpower status as a major catastrophe, and he is diligently seeking to regain lost ground. Putin’s message to the Arab world’s despots is straight-forward: The Americans may be (temporarily) stronger than we are, but they’re totally unreliable. One day they’ll nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize, the next day they’ll bring you to trial for war crimes. Russia, on the other hand, is the soul of fidelity. Once you become our friend, we stick by you through thick and thin, no matter how many atrocities you commit. So ditch the Americans, and sign up with us.
Putin’s strategy is on full display in Syria. Besides defending Assad in the Security Council, he’s also threatening to send Damascus a long-delayed shipment of Russian-manufactured S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, should the United States violate international law and attack Syria. Unfortunately, these “defensive” missiles can reach deep into Israeli air space, thereby giving them an “offensive” capability and changing the balance of power in the Middle East. So Obama’s “shot across the bow” might well end up triggering a new Arab-Israeli war.