Global Policy Studies & International Security

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

The economy is slow, domestic scandals grip the land, and the President wants action against WMD’s in the Middle East. What year is this, 2003?

America finds itself debating the merits of military intervention again, this time in Syria. Great rifts in both parties have been opened, showing signs of weathered support for a continual state of war that has existed since Sept. 11, 2001.

President Obama’s recent speech on the debate over military intervention in Syria reeks of a series of defeats he has suffered since winning re-election in November. Make no mistake: the back-and-forth debate on Syria is a glaring sign that Obama has firmly settled into place as a lame duck. By calling on Congress to approve retaliation on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for alleged chemical weapons use, Obama silently admitted that retaliation would be unpopular if exercised through executive action. His strategy was not in wise deference to the Constitution; instead, it was an example of the fear of commitment that Obama has displayed time and time again to the international community. While he proclaimed a belief that America should not be the policeman of the world, America continues to be involved in covert wars around the globe. Luckily, Americans largely saw Obama’s change of course for what it was: the President did not want to suffer the backlash from acting unilaterally as President George W. Bush did in 2003.

For the first time in memorable history, anti-war Democrats have been held to the fire and called to decide if they would support the leader of their party or not. In the media and online, the answer has been obscure. How could the President of “hope and change” follow the path blazed by President Bush? This perception of betrayal has Democrats around the country either washing their hands of President Obama or making excuses. Not to be outdone, Senate Republicans such as John McCain (R-AZ) have also jumped aboard the war bandwagon. No one ever accused them of meeting a war that they did not like.

Arguments from both sides have been largely based on emotional ploys that dance on the graves of the Syrian children lost in the horror of war. While anyone with a conscience abhors the needless loss of life, the reaction has been calls for America to drop tons of high explosives in populated areas of Syria, possibly killing more civilians. Though it may seem like political maneuvering here in the United States, bombing Syria has tangible consequences abroad that President Obama is not ready to accept.

As a nation, we must reject a blind commitment to serving as the world’s guarantor of peace. Although the loss of innocent life is horrible for anyone to witness, the time has come to call on nations of the world to stand up and take responsibility for their own actions and the actions of their regional neighbors. American lives lost in defense of Syrian civilians are just as unacceptable as Syrians lives lost in their own war. And as usual, the most vocal citizens calling for intervention do not stand to risk their own lives in the process. America’s overwhelming opposition to war in Syria has painted President Obama into a corner: now he must choose between American citizens or Syrian citizens.

It is time for Americans to stand their ground and deny Washington’s willingness to bankrupt this nation in favor of an undefined Syrian opposition that may or may not ally with America later. We have paid that bloody price before and must never pay it again.

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