Pharos-Tribune

Columns

September 19, 2013

WILLIAMS: Obama played Putin like a fiddle

I’ve followed the Syrian situation closely. In last year’s economic summit, America approached Russia about joining to try to rid the world of Syria’s chemical weapons. Russia was uninterested although the two countries, despite harsh public rhetoric, never completely cut off behind-the-scenes talks.

Then the Assad regime used its poison gas, killing 1,500 of its own people, over 400 of them children. Yes, lots of people have died in the Syrian civil war and yes, dead is dead, but this is a particularly horrific way to die. It’s one most of the civilized world has agreed should never happen. By now, 178 nations have signed on to the chemical weapons treaty.

So, what was the world reaction when Assad gassed his people? A shrug of the shoulders. Except for our own president. He said the world should live up to its promises. And, of course, he’s right. If all the accords and treaties the countries of the world sign with such fanfare are all just empty words, then we may as well tear them up and disband the United Nations.

Of course, Obama got almost no support. Russia and China voted no to action in the Security Council. Britain bailed. And worst of all, the U.S. Congress displayed what has become its normal gutless, flip-flopping posture. The same senators who were crucifying the president a few weeks ago for not taking stronger measures, such as instituting a no-fly zone, were now decrying him as a warmonger. When he finally agreed to let them have their vote, they were like, “what, you expect us to come back from our vacation early?” They didn’t come back early and they didn’t vote either. They did what they wanted to do all along, which was criticize without actually having to be involved because, you know, uh, what if it turns out wrong?

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