While decried by some as inattentive, there was actually something very comforting knowing that our nation’s president was playing golf and the Secretary of State was boating while coup was underway in Egypt.
Our leaders may or may not have been getting regular briefs of the downfall of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (of Islamic Brotherhood background) but any way you look at it, America wasn’t working for a regime change overtly nor does it appear we are even playing the role of an active booster there.
It was nice to see America to sit back and essentially say, “we don’t have a dog in this fight.”
At this point most Americans have had our fill of being drawn into or pushing into middle eastern conflicts. With Iraq, Afghanistan where we have been directly involved for years and in situations involving Iran and Israel where we are always front row in any situation involving our nemesis and long time ally, respectively, it’s a relief to be sitting this one out.
By all accounts Egypt’s first democratically elected president needed the boot. He had, according to news reports, done a horrible job running the land of King Tut, with western critics opining that his first duty was always advancing the Islamic Brotherhood grip on the country and only secondly, actually trying to operate one of the oldest nations on the planet.
This is a great opportunity for America to advance our western beliefs in a large country in the region simply by maintaining the position of “Good luck over there. If you need anything give us a call, but only after you get everything sorted out.”
We are not so fortunate with Syria. Unfortunately there President Barack Obama has shown all the steadfast leadership of a five-year-old on a new playground, “Let’s go here, let’s go there. No, let’s go back over there.”
After the constant reports of middle eastern uprisings of the past decade, even regular news junkies get glazed looks when another regime change or revolt makes headlines.
But Syria lies like a looming iceberg – and it’s more troubling due to the mixed signals from Washington regarding the revolution to topple an Islamic tyrant.
With a body count nearing 100,000 the ongoing conflict to depose Bashar al-Assad shows no sign of resolving itself either way.
For the U.S. policy, first we steered clear, then we agreed to provide some non-combat support and sort-of promise that we would definitely do something if the Syrian strongman resorted to chemical weapons, which he did. Then Washington said it’s not fully clear that they really used chemical weapons on their on people, then it was proven very clearly that the Syrians had used chemical attacks against the rebels. The military forces also bombed and shot numerous civilians who happened to be close to rebel areas.
So then we stepped it up with some military supplies, but definitely not a no-fly zone or troops on the ground. And in fact, the military supplies were limited over concerns that the weapons might one day be used against U.S. interests by the less than reliable rebel groups – as happened in Afghanistan. The short-term plan is to force the Syrian leader to the negotiating table with the rebels bolstered by the additional firepower.
Of course, to further complicate matters, terrorist group Hezebollah and Iran are both backing the Assad forces trying to hang on to control and Russia and China both indicated they had no beef with the rulers and didn’t support any change.
Looking at these two scenarios, let’s hope Syria winds up more like that in Egypt – where the issues can be resolved without the need for the U.S. to enter into a protracted, complicated and increasingly deadly Mid East war.