Is Obama secretly hoping that Congress will vote against military intervention?by Tom Streithorst / September 2, 2013 / Leave a comment
Obama didn’t want to go to war in Syria and it now looks like he has found a way of avoiding it. The pundits are agog: Assad has crossed a red line and the world’s policeman is not punishing him. The generally astute Financial Times US columnist Edward Luce thinks Obama has made a mistake, that he has ransomed the future of his presidency to two unpredictable actors, the Assad regime and the US Congress.
What we are seeing both in Washington and in Whitehall is payback for the lies that got us involved in Iraq. The Neocons brought America to war in Iraq in the hope that a spectacular victory would shock and awe the rest of the world into kowtowing to the US military. That gamble failed. All America’s expensive firepower has not created a Middle East to its liking. Embarrassingly, for almost a year, it was not even enough to secure the road between Baghdad and its airport.
In a recent poll, only 25 per cent of Americans favour intervention in Syria, even if it is proved that Bashar Assad’s regime used chemical weapons. Even the military is not tempted by this war. On this side of the pond, we underestimate the deep isolationism to the American people. Its elite does want America to continue in its role as the world’s policeman (perhaps because so few of its children serve in the military), but ordinary citizens, for the most part, do not. In my opinion, they show more sense than their ruling class. Foreign adventures have not served America well. Imagine what a better country it would be today had Lyndon Baines Johnson been able to preserve his domestic “Great Society” programmes instead of getting bogged down in Vietnam.