Obama's Done on Foreign Policy
With his inept and embarrassing handling of the Syrian chemical weapons attack, President Obama for all intents and purposes neutered himself overseas for the remainder of his term.
It was bad enough that he did nothing constructive to engage with and on Syria several years ago when signs emerged that things were unraveling. But as evidenced by their entire handling of Middle East issues, or more accurately their detachment, this administration has consistently played from behind with no strategic agenda or plan. This might be expected of a new incoming administration, but not one in office for five years.
First, only an administration more interested in imagery and PR than statecraft would draw a “red line” for action that has nothing behind those words. Only a rookie administration more interested in looking tough than in being effective talks tough and regrettably out in the open about military options, when such things should only be said and finalized behind closed doors and carried out with support and maximum impact. It does no good to have your Secretary of State talk tough with nothing loaded and ready behind those words, and then spend several days thinking out loud about what you could do, only to see support erode out in the open both here and overseas because you fumbled the lift-off.
This isn’t a commentary so much on the pros and cons about an intervention in Syria, but the sad fact is that Obama has botched this so badly and so openly that he carries no weight in foreign policy for the next three years. And that by itself is a major cause for alarm.