Barack Obama assumed he would shell/bomb Syria with impunity, including having the full-throated support of key allies (e.g., the UK), the American people, and Congress. That he was wrong — and by how much he was wrong — signals the psychosis of American world policy.
Here are the top five signs of that psychosis:
1. Europe thinks we're crazy/stupid. Every Western European (ask any one you encounter) thinks we are embarked on a bizarre, interventionist, pro-Israel, anti-Muslim foreign policy that perpetuates the worldwide Islamic Jihad against America. The country most in our back pocket in our never-ending campaign against terrorism (read Islam) is the UK — and, unbelievably, its Parliament rejected joining the Americans in intervening against Assad, despite its Prime Minister's wholehearted support for the policy. Even Cameron had his eyes opened by the degree of antipathy in his country towards American foreign policy.
2. No one believes our evidence — including us. Secretary of State John Kerry carefully laid out the evidence that Assad had used germ weaponry against his own people — and everyone still questions it. Why? Because we saw how our government manipulated the evidence in order to invade Iraq, using a highly credible source — Colin Powell — to lead the way. The government will tell us anything to promote its foreign policy and larger vision of the way the world revolves around us. When asked on Meet the Press whether he welcomed a Congressional debate over the evidence, pro-administration independent Maine Senator Angus King said that he did — otherwise, he would never believe it.
3. Violating restrictions on the president's war powers is now pro forma. According to the Constitution only Congress can declare war (wonder why they put that in there?) — so U.S. presidents simply fight wars (e.g., Korea, Vietnam) without declaring them. As a result of Vietnam, Congress passed the War Powers Act requiring the President to gain approval of Congress within 60 days for any form of military engagement. And every president has declared this is unconstitutional and ignores it — without bothering to have the courts decide if they are right. Unbelievably, although Obama has been forced to debate the Syria matter in Congress, he reserves the right to act any way he chooses no matter how Congress votes.
4. The United States is a lawless international force. America is prepared to devastate Syria because Assad has violated international prohibitions against germ and chemical warfare (although these restraints are expressed as restrictions on warfare, not repression within a country). However, by doing so the U.S. itself violates international law. The sine qua non for our intervention in another country is that the United States is attacked or threatened. We long ago threw that constraint to the wind. If we cannot persuade an international tribunal (i.e., the United Nations) to rule and act against Syria, we are not simply allowed to declare ourselves right and to bomb them.
5. We're killing ourselves. Lobbing warheads into yet another Muslim country is not a good public-relations move. In June, 2012, The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes survey found the approval of Obama’s policies in Muslim-majority countries plummeted from an average 34 percent to 15 percent. Approval is lowest in Pakistan — 7 percent. Seven percent support in a country we require to be a key ally! Fifteen percent approval across a wide swath of the world that generates terrorists? But we're loved in Israel (84% approval). Why wouldn't we be? We are Israel's handmaiden. That's fine in terms of American domestic politics. But it is killing us internationally.
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"What will replace the 12 steps?"
Thursday, September 19, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)
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