US OK With Dropping Threat of Force in UN Resolution on Syria

Was always a non-starter


hands up for self importance

As the United Nations prepares to release a report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria last month, one that's expected to blame Assad but perhaps mostly based on circumstantial evidence, the United States is signaling its willingness to support a UN Security Council resolution on the issue that doesn't include the threat of force.  The threat of force was never something the Security Council, where Russia and four other countries have veto power, was going to pass. Nevertheless, the LA Times describes the development as "indication of the White House's weak hand in the unfolding negotiations between world powers."  John Kerry and his Russian counterpart have been negotiating a deal for Bashar Assad to surrender his chemical weapons to international control ever since the secretary of state off-handedly identified that as an unlikely diplomatic solution to the situation. The Russians seized on the perceived misstep and the UN resolution will include whatever arrangement Russia and the US manage to strike.

Why is the United States in the role of chemical weapons monitor of the world? Barack Obama insists it wasn't him that drew the red line for war (a kind of "Who Killed Davey Moore?" moment), it was the world. The president claims international law demands he (on behalf of the world?) act. Yet, in fact, none of the existing international law on chemical weapons applies in this case. The president's red line is his alone, his arguments to a non-applicable (or even non-existent) international legal regime notwithstanding. The UN does, under its charter, have the authority to act in some way on the human rights violations in Syria, but the Security Council has to act with at least the apathy of its five veto-wielding members, the US, Russia, China, the UK, and France. The Obama Administration's newfound willingness to drop the non-starter that the threat of force is at the UN should mean it's ready to meander away from a very much self-made crisis. John Kerry, it seems, has already turned his attention to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, his other pet project.

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  1. Let’s get ready to meandeeerrrrrrrrr!

    1. Stop or I’ll shoot Myself!

      1. I wondered if you were referring to Blazing Saddles. That isn’t what he says.

  2. “indication of the White House’s weak hand in the unfolding negotiations between world powers.”

    And big mouth.

  3. Obumbler needs a new distraction. Who are we going to pretend to want to attack now? How about Greenland? No one has ever attacked them before and they could have weapons of mass destruction. I bet that they are secretly behind global warming and are planning on launching melting ice sheets to smash into the east coast.

  4. So will Kerry get his Peace Prize?

    1. No, it’s Hitlarys turn.

      1. Hitlary can get hers in 2017. If Al Gore can get a Peace Prize for losing to BOOOOSH! it’s unfair that Kerry won’t get one too.

        1. How about the tar and feathers prize for all of them. Now.

          1. But then who will give us our free shit?

            1. We’ll let them explain that from prison.

              1. I was thinking more along the lines of haircuts….French Revolution style.

    2. The Europeans have been dying for a chance to give it to Putin for a long time.

      1. Lew Rockwell will be overjoyed.

    3. I think Putin should beat up Barry on the playground and take his prize. Only fair…

  5. “The Obama Administration’s newfound willingness to drop the non-starter that the threat of force is at the UN should mean it’s ready to meander away from a very much self-made crisis.”

    And Assad isn’t about to stop kicking Obama while he’s down. He scores points and demoralizes his enemies every time he defies the United States.

    Last I heard, Assad was insisting that Obama stop funding the rebels before he handed over any chemical weapons, too, and in the meantime? He’s moving his chemical weapons around to some fifty sites so neither the UN nor the United States can track them……..53794.html

    Assad isn’t about to hand over anything. Why would he?

    Obama’s gonna look even dumber before this is over.

    1. Obama’s gonna look even dumber before this is over.

      This is unpossible.

      1. The true believers will babble on about Obama’s 3D Vulcan chess, but to the rest of the world, it’s pretty clear that Obama has been checkmated.

  6. This is all very funny, like Dr. Strangelove come to life. Such idiots we trust with power.

    1. It would be a lot funnier if they weren’t able to cause so much damage.

      1. It will be a lot funnier when they are wearing tar and feather suits and with their heads stuck in makeshift pillories on the national mall.

        I’ll buy you all the beer you can drink on that day just for coming to the east coast to join the celebration.

        1. I’ll buy everybody all of the GOOD beer they can drink if they come to the west coast to celebrate.

          1. They’ll make the tar and feathering a national tour.

          2. Careful, some of us are walking distance to this offer.

  7. By the way, there should be two lessons here for the ages:

    Lesson 1: Americans support foreign wars when they’re sold as wars of self-defense.

    The Iraq War may not have been a war of self-defense, but when it was sold to the American people? We sure thought it was a war of self-defense.…..iraq_x.htm

    Hello anthrax!

    Syria is not a threat to the United States.

    Lesson 2: Dictators are more concerned about the threat posed by their own people, their own military, and their immediate neighbors than they are afraid of the United States.

    It worked that way with Saddam Hussein.

    Q: Why would Hussein refuse to capitulate to weapons inspections if he didn’t have any WMD?

    A: He was more afraid of being seen as weak by his immediate neighbors, his own officers, and his own people than he was afraid of being invaded by the United States.

    Why would it be any different with Assad, who is already dealing with an insurrection from his own people and parts of his own military?

    How do you scare a dictator when most of the people in his country are already trying to put his head on a pike?

    1. Where does Qaddafi fit in this? Gave up weapons, ended up raped and shot to death in the desert?


      1. Qaddafi was more afraid of his own people, too.

        If you can’t keep your own people down, there’s not much use in worrying about getting bombed by outsiders. It’s a rule for the ages–going back to ancient Greece at least…

        You couldn’t get more than a small contingent of Spartans to go face the Persians, why? Because it took a Spartan army to keep the Helots down. If you don’t keep the Helots down, then there isn’t going to be much of a Sparta to resist the Persians anyway.

        Isn’t that the way it looked to Gaddafi despite the Western powers allying against him? Just judging by his actions, was Gaddafi more afraid of the Western powers allied against him or was he more afraid of the rebellion in Benghazi?

        When he had to choose, he chose to put the rebellion down–and antagonize the Western powers. Maybe that didn’t work out well for him either, but it’s not having lost control of huge chunks of his country was about to improve his odds against the Western powers.

        1. It’s interesting that he gave in on the nukes, and then ended up with a rebellion, yea. Started to look the least bit soft, and they went after him.

          Also a good reason for Assad to not really give up the weapons.

          Although, I bet surviving a small pin-prick strike from the US would help him in the medium term, too.

    2. Q: Why would Hussein refuse to capitulate to weapons inspections if he didn’t have any WMD?

      Ken, this is the silliest of the silly that came out of Iraq. We know for a fucking fact that he had chemical weapon capability, at the very least. We even assisted in some of it. The idea that he had used them on the Iranians and the Kurds but then destroyed all of them and killed all the scientists in the country that could reproduce 19th Century technology and could not replace them is beyond absurd.

      This is not to say that his ability to produce chemical weapons was a good rationale for attacking.

      1. If you think whatever his capability was to manufacture WMD in the future is why the American people signed up for the shitstorm that is still Iraq ten years later?

        Then you’re completely out to lunch.

        Here’s the link I posted up top again:…..iraq_x.htm

        That’s right, some six months AFTER we invaded Iraq, some 70% of the American people still thought that Saddam Hussein was personally complicit in 9/11.

        …and that had to do with the anthrax attack, with the photos Colin Powell showed us at the UN, and the speech Bush made to the American people.

        And if you think whatever “capacity” we destroyed of Saddam Hussein’s was worth the price we paid in lives and treasure, yer outta yer mind.

  8. -US OK With Dropping Threat of Force in UN Resolution on Syria

    Not even a pinprick?

    1. It’s total capitulation on Obama’s part.

      He probably won’t even get a “trust but verify”.

      He might have to stop arming the rebels–he may have lost ground over this!

      1. He might have to stop arming the rebels

        And, uhh, let’s be clear, why the fuck is he arming the rebels in the first place?

        1. Ooo, need a new law prohibiting him from arming the rebels. Then we can have Syria-Obamacare hearings in 2015 after the CIA funds exchanges with weapons sales.

        2. I think there are good reasons for that, but that’s another thread.

          Actually, that’s been like five other threads already. Suffice it to say, I think there are good reasons to do that, that they have to do with Iran, and that we should be doing that.

          Doesn’t mean we should be getting involved in Syria directly, though. In fact, one of the reasons you arm rebels is specifically because you get to avoid being involved directly.

          1. and that we should be doing that.

            We should be arming radical Islamists. Yeah, got it.

            1. What’s your plan for dealing with Iran’s nuclear and long range missile programs again?

              Denying Iran an important ally they seem to think is crucial for their security looks like a step in the right direction to me.

              I’m not convinced the rebels are all radical Islamists, but even if they were? If arming radical Islamists is in the best interests of American security, then I’m going to advocate what’s in America’s best interests.

              I wish we had the option to fight our enemies only with paragons of human rights, American style democracy, and tolerant secularism; sadly, there isn’t anyone like that in this conflict that seems to be available.

              1. Giving arms to rebels in Syria isn’t going to do jack shit about Iranian missile programs.

                1. Well, Iran seems to think keeping Syria out of the hands of the rebels has something to do with Iranian security. …otherwise, they wouldn’t be working so hard to keep Syria out of the hands of the rebels.

                  I suspect they’re afraid the Arab Spring may turn into a Persian Summer, and they want to keep that shit off of their Syrian doorstep. Once again, vicious dictatorships, like the one in Iran, tend to worry, primarily, about their own people–usually more so than they worry about some external threat.

                  I don’t know that revolution would spell the end of Iran’s nuclear and long range missile programs, but if the Iranian people did turn against the vile, vicious, dictators who oppress them, it would probably be a step in the that direction.

                  I can think of some other things we should probably do, too. We should put some carrots out there at some point–maybe invite them into a free trade agreement rather than just punish them with sanctions (although forcing them to burn through their foreign reserves isn’t an entirely terrible strategy to drive them to the bargaining table).

                  What’s your strategy for dealing with their long rang missile and nuclear programs? I don’t want to invade Iran, but the strategy where we bury our heads in the sand and pretend they’re not a problem–because we don’t want them to be? That’s the worst strategy I can think of.

                  Obama isn’t even that stupid.

              2. fight our enemies

                Iran’s not our enemy.

                What’s your plan for dealing with Iran’s nuclear and long range missile programs again?

                My same strategy for dealing with the Reptilian takeover: not giving a fuck.

                I would deal with those programs in the most straightforward way possible:

                I would lift every embargo, offer them arms and spare parts, and throw me a nice party with great door prizes like baskets of quality bath soaps and little champagne bottles and shit.

                Problem solved.

                If the Saudi regime and the Bahrain regime can be our allies, I don’t really see what anyone’s problem is with the Iranians. It can’t be moral, that’s for sure.

                1. “Iran’s not our enemy.”

                  I disagree.

                  I think the only legitimate purpose of government is to protect our rights; I think the purpose of our military is to protect our rights from foreign threats; I believe that Iran does present a threat; and if our government isn’t doing anything to meet that threat, then it isn’t doing its job.

                  “I would lift every embargo, offer them arms and spare parts”

                  It would be great if our relationship with Iran were like our relationship with China, with our economies so thoroughly intertwined and mutually beneficial, that the Chinese would be destroying their own economy if they went to war with the United States.

                  But offering the Chinese arms? Why would we do that? Offer the Iranians arms, why?

                  “If the Saudi regime and the Bahrain regime can be our allies, I don’t really see what anyone’s problem is with the Iranians.”

                  One of the biggest reasons why Saudi and some others are our allies is because we’re allied against the Iranians. Our military entanglements with Saudi Arabia go back to the Iranian revolution in 1979. It’s why we supported Iraq, too. We’re not the only ones who see Iran as a threat.

              3. Denying Iran an important ally they seem to think is crucial for their security looks like a step in the right direction to me.

                Sooo, make Iran feel less secure and they’ll stop developing the one weapon that all-but-guarantees they’ll never be attacked?

                Looks like a step in the wrong direction to me.

                1. It’s an interesting observation, that they may be developing nuclear weapons because they feel less secure than they did.

                  I would argue that recent events suggest that it’s otherwise; they started feeling free to develop nuclear weapons once they started feeling more secure than they had before.

                  One of my strategic arguments against the Iraq War was that it removed a threat to Iran, and, furthermore, that being bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq made us especially vulnerable vis a vis Iran.

                  When we were running around in Iraq desperately trying to avert a civil war between Shia and Sunni, that was when a Shia political party called The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which was founded in Iran and funded by Iran, won the elections and effective control of the Iraqi government outright.


                  With the United States sitting on a powder keg in Iraq–and the end of the fuse running straight to Tehran, that’s when the Iranians suddenly decided that the time was right to go full out for nuclear weapons and long range missiles…

                  It was because we were so vulnerable, and we didn’t really pose a threat.

                2. “Looks like a step in the wrong direction to me.”

                  Also, please notice that what I’m talking about doing, in helping bring the Arab Spring to the Persian doorstep, isn’t about presenting Iran with a threat at which they’re likely to strike with long range missiles or nuclear weapons.

                  I would like to see the oppressed people of Iran rise up against their own government, which is oppressing them.

                  Certainly, if Iran’s reaction to that happening would be to lob a long range nuclear missile at us or our allies, then I’d rather the “Persian Summer” happened before they can test a nuclear device rather than after.

                  1. I’m going to go with Ron Paul being right on this one, Ken.

                    Why wouldn’t Iran want a nuclear weapon? The US invaded and occupied 2 of their neighbors and we keep up this imperialistic attitude and are constantly threatening them.

                    You do know, this totally hostile attitude of our government is starting to turn inward now, as was inevitable?

                    Iran is only our enemy because we made them our enemy.

                    The bottom line is that the progressives, who are in control here, and have been for decades, think they need to socially engineer the world. That is the real problem.

                    I have to agree with Fluffy here. Stop the damn aggression and start engaging with these people, see what happens. Because what we are doing now is clearly not the solution.

                    1. “Iran is only our enemy because we made them our enemy.”

                      The Iranian regime has been our enemy since they sided with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

                      They may have been hostile to us because of what we did in 1953 and because of our support for the Shah during the Cold War, but it’s ridiculous to suggest that we shouldn’t have resisted Soviet Expansion during the Cold War–just like it would be ridiculous to suggest that we shouldn’t have resisted Japanese military expansion while we were fighting World War II.

                      Anyway, regardless of how they came to be our enemies, they are our enemies now, and we should continue to treat them as such so long as they are.

                      There’s certainly no reason to think detente is going to work with the mullahs the same way it worked with the Soviet Union.

                      Also, again, please see my points above:

                      1) The Iranians didn’t start going hard on nuclear arms and long range missiles until we were in such a vulnerable position, we no longer presented a realistic threat.

                      This isn’t a case of Iran being so afraid that the U.S. is going to attack them that they feel the need for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them; this is a case of there being very little, realistically, the United States can do to stop them–so let’s make hay while the cat’s away.

                      2. I’m not advocating attacking Iran. I’m advocating helping Syrian rebels overthrow an important Iranian ally.

                    2. The Iranian regime has been our enemy since they sided with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.we assassinated their elected prime minister to appease the British.

                      Fixed that.

                    3. Actually, what I wrote was…

                      “The Iranian regime has been our enemy since they sided with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

                      They may have been hostile to us because of what we did in 1953″

            , yeah, I mentioned the coup in 1953 in the very next sentence. When the world was picking sides in the Cold War, they decided to go with our enemy.

                      Anyway, it’s easy to relax here in the post-Cold War world, complaining about the things people did back then to win it. No doubt, we made some mistakes, some that we certainly regret, but that’s no reason to pretend the Iranian threat would go away if we just lost the Iranians’ number and never called them again.

                      I hope it’s getting across that I’m not advocating invading Iran. I’m talking about helping some rebels overthrow their vicious dictator in the hope of leaving Iran even that much more vulnerable, and I’m hoping that the Iranian people will someday rise up and overthrow their government, too.

                      There certainly isn’t anything un-libertarian about hoping people will rise up and overthrow their oppressive dictator.

          2. Take the Chinese route- arm anyone who will pay for it.

  9. So if Syria uses chemical weapons again Obama’s policy is what exactly?

    1. That’s an excellent question.

      His policy is to deny it ever happened, and to get the press to ignore it.

    2. Set a red line for some hilariously large amount, and claim that was the original location of the original red line? “The red line is 250,000 gallons of sarin. Per day. You’d better not cross that line, Bashar.”

      1. Yeah, he’ll just move the goal posts.

        So, I hate to say it, but I agree with Hillary’s Clitdong. I mean I hate to say it because I can’t help but wonder if someday it might be used to discredit me as a witness in a court case or somethin’.

        “Mr. Shultz, isn’t it true you once went on the record agreeing with someone named ‘Hillary’s Clitdong'”?

        “Obama was trying to get us involved in Syria, and I was…”

        “Just answer the question!”

        But then I’m already on the record feelin’ the same way as Masturbatin’ Pete, so…I guess that ship’s done sailed.

        1. “So you admit you willing associate with people using aliases such as Hillary’s Clitdong and Masturbatin’ Pete, as well as known war criminals, pseudonyms based on racist tropes, and alcoholics?”

          Something something no female libertarians.

  10. We’re gonna trust this Assad fellow that he’s turned in all of his weapons?
    Is someone gonna check under the mattress?

    1. Yeah, Putin’s volunteered for that job.

      And the fact that he’s the one selling them weapons? that won’t cloud his judgement, I’m sure.

  11. Ben Affleck in…Good Will Batman

    1. That wasn’t really Batman.

      1. It’s not your fault.

      2. Spoiler alert.

  12. GOP Congressman gets in Twitter fight with ‘Free Willy’ star over Obamacare satire

    Jason James Richter, who played the lead role of Jesse in the 1990s blockbuster Free Willy, slammed Republicans Thursday for using the movie’s iconic poster in an anti-ObamaCare graphic.
    Republican Congressman Tim Griffin of Arkansas posted the image of the poster on his Facebook page Thursday with the title “FREE AMERICA FROM OBAMACARE.” The post contained a link at the bottom to, the Republican House Conference official page chaired by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers of Washington. The story also linked to an article about SeaWorld saying that they would be cutting employee hours most likely to avoid offering employees medical insurance under ObamaCare.
    “I think it’s terrible. To many thought to convey in 140 characters. Shameful comes to mind though,” Richter told BuzzFeed via Twitter.
    In a follow-up tweet, Richter again said the use of the film for partisan political gain was “shameful.”
    “The film holds a special place for a lot of people. To use the iconic poster image to further a political agenda is shameful.”

    Ironic since Free Willy is a mediocre 90s movie that’s mostly endured in pop culture because it’s a frequent target of satire.

    1. I thought Free Willie was President Bubba’s Biography

    1. There are currently no regulations governing the temperatures of hot beverages at restaurants ? something the Marchants wants to see.

      While Lisa Marchant has not filed a lawsuit against Tim Hortons, she wants to see governments develop safe beverage temperature rules.

      One wonders how Canadian civilization has endured so long.

      Government needs to wage a War on Kinetic Energy!

      1. We don’t have “American Style” lawsuits in this country. We just demand government fix any problem!

      2. “While Lisa Marchant has not filed a lawsuit against Tim Hortons, she wants to see governments develop safe beverage temperature rules.”

        They probably already exist in the locale’s health standards, and she’s too damn lazy to look for it.
        On top of that, if the standard is 90*C, does she have any idea what that means (other than the gov’t says ‘good’)?

    2. Yeah heard that story. Moron that Marchant.

      Surprised no one referenced Kramer and Jackie.

  13. ‘Ikea monkey‘ Darwin will not be returned to its owner

    1. Really seems like the ultimate Fark headline. Ya’know, if it was still 2004.

      1. what’s a fark?

        1. Exactly right.

  14. Well the newest Star Trek is terrible.

    I have no childhood attachment to any of Star Trek series and enjoyed the first movie of the Reboot but that was just awful. Only brightspot is it has inspired my apathetic to Star Trek wife to watch TOS as I promised that the Khan storyline is far superior in the old series/movie is way more interesting. God what a mess.

    1. What I disliked about it the most was how it relegates the relationship between Kirk and Bones to the backburner in favor of the forced Spock-Uhura romance.

      As the Red Letter Media guy pointed out, they wanted to Not-Gay the Spock-Kir dynamic since men can’t have close personal relationships in movies anymore without it being homoerotic.

      1. I haven’t even watched Into Darkness, but, well, it’s Plinkett time.

        1. He makes that observation in his review of the first Abrams Star Trek, which he actually enjoyed for what it was as well-made action flick.

          But Into Darkness is an insult to the intelligence of the audience.

          1. Pretty much my takeaway from it, yea.

            We’re going to do a *lot* of fan service…. poorly.

          2. Seriously, the first movie was a good action flick. Into Darkness is just terrible. It has a haphazard plot and just TERRIBLE dialogue. And it fucking insulted a non-fanboy with it’s ruining of the old show. Uhura-Spock is retarded, all the Scotty and McCoy comedic relief was awful, Khan even with the awesome Benedict Cumberbatch was lame, and fuck the goddamn Kirk/Spock reversal plotline at the end. Fuck it. The Khan part was the worst because he’s such an awesome character that they could have done something with him.

            1. I couldn’t even finish it, lasted about half an hour. What I find annoying is how Spock turned into a whiny little bitch. He has a permanent butthurt expression.

    2. I don’t have too much of a dog in the fight, having only a passing interest in the franchise. I was shocked by how bad Into Darkness was.

      Wrath of Khan was one of the most perfect movies ever made from a script writing standpoint. Every character arc paid off, the battle sequences felt like they had consequence, and every victory along the way was earned. Despite not having actors with any real talent, the director was able to squeeze out real emotion along the way.

      The new movie? You never got the sense of any long friendship between Kirk and Spock to pay off the “death” sequence. Neither Khan nor Peter Weller’s character had any real motivation to speak of. There was no cat and mouse game of tactics, no sense of scale (it seems like the Enterprise is always just about twenty minutes away from any spot in the galaxy). As bad as it was, it was made worse by continually reminding us about Wrath of Khan, and how much better a film that was.

      I liked the first Star Trek reboot just fine (although the third act sucked balls). This one, however, makes me think I’ll skip whatever they put out next.

    1. related: Queue to first McDonalds in Moscow in 1990

    2. Imagine if they made that today. Imagine the reaction on Jez. Across Gawker, really.

      Needs more Putin. I’d assume shirtless, on horseback, hunting.

  15. Excellent story of locals taking back their towns from drug cartels.…..130919996/

    When they didn’t have guns they were slaves, once they got guns they were free.

    And as a bonus the article points out the malicious ineptness of the government.

    1. They brought in Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, and friends?

      1. Wisely, they instead brought in
        Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune and Seiji Miyaguchi. The swords freaked the hell out of the cartel.

  16. Weekend OT post:

    So I’ve been doing data analytics on a consultant basis for several months now, and Friday I had lunch with one of the FTE’s at the site.

    He asked me what my background was, and was somewhat shocked when I told him that I was a poli sci major in college.

    “I assumed you were some kind of math guy,” he said.

    And I explained to him that to me, queries aren’t math. They’re philosophy.

    Business rules are syllogisms. Stored procedures are proofs.

    What code gets used more than IF THEN or CASE WHEN ELSE? And to me, that’s not really “math”.

    And it struck me last night when I hung around here for a little while that maybe this accounts for the large number of programmer types that turn up whenever you get more than two libertarians in one place. People look for personality-based explanations for that, and usually come up with something like, “Well, libertarians are autistic so they get all the computer nerds!” But I’m now thinking that they’ve got the wrong side of the brain, there. Maybe the computer guys are all philosophers without knowing it, and they are attracted to libertarianism because it is a philosophy.

    1. Perhaps in part but also because geeks deal in facts. They solve problems based on what is actually occurring not based on feelings. Plus they need to think in systematic terms, for example understanding how the structure of the db relates to the queries that need to run which are driven by the requirements of the application.

      This results in seeing the unintended consequences of policies which might seem good but are ultimately harmful.

  17. Curious, was the Bush administration ever check mated like Obama was with Putin?

    1. Maybe not checkmated, but in chess terms, when the FSR Georgia thing happened, the right choice to make was to resign from the game, because the administration surely knew what western media weren’t initially reporting, that Saakashvili was out of control and had brought disaster upon the country by his own doing.

    2. Boy wonder is lucky he has Putin there to tell him what to do since he obviously doesn’t have a clue. As for Bush, Putin hypnotized him with his soul eyes.

    3. Curious, was the Bush administration ever check mated like Obama was with Putin?

      Not that I’m aware of. The last foreign policy situation similar to this that I can think of is the Iran Hostage crisis in the late ’70’s. That’s the last time an American President looked completely hapless.

      This is a situation where the President of the US has basically no remaining good choices, despite starting with a relatively free hand. At this point there is little likelihood of Obama gaining any type of control.

      Clinton or Reagan would have fired off a quick 1-2 day military strike and been done with it. Either Bush would have created some kind of coalition and probably a UN agreement. And if they felt like they couldn’t they would have done a routine public denouncement of the chemical attack and pushed for tighter sanctions.

      Obama just kind of stumbled his way through this crisis in a fashion that has managed to disappoint or piss off just about everyone.

    4. It’s hard to checkmate somebody like Bush on foreign policy, because it largely consisted of “Let’s invade the fuck out of everything!”

      If the Bush Administration ever checkmated itself, it was over issues like the photos from Abu Ghraib. It was over stuff like his weak response to Katrina.

      And just to be clear, I don’t think Putin pulled the wool over Obama’s eyes; I think Obama did this to himself. Give credit where credit is due.

      Obama could have made a speech saying, “You know, I was wrong to make that red line statement”, and avoided the whole Putin thing.

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