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Obama trying not to take sides but willing to drop bombs nevertheless

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 12:01 am

To most Americans the decision seems so simple: What stake do we have in the internal fighting in Syria?

What in the world was President Obama thinking?

Before analyzing why his proposal was incredibly wrong, I also want to state that the isolationist tendencies that are dominating both parties right now are also dangerous to our nation’s future. Our nation does not exist in isolation, and in an increasing entangled world, our nation’s interests can be at stake in internal conflicts.

The problem with President Obama is not that he is “evil” as too many conservatives assert, but that he is a consistent type of leftist that, if we elected similar ones over a long period of time, could undermine our economic and cultural foundations so severely that recovery would be difficult. In foreign policy, all presidents take their responsibility to protect America seriously, but there are worldviews that are fundamentally different regarding how to do it. In foreign policy, major mistakes can be immediately more devastating than those relating to domestic issues.

The president failed to make a case that intervention in Syria had any compelling United States interest. His mistakenly drawn “red line” was not anchored in logical policy. His foreign policy seems to be one of internationalism, on what is good for humanity in general rather than in what is specifically good for America. He does not believe in American exceptionalism — that we are a blessed nation, unique in history, with something to offer superior to other systems. Everything is not of equal value.

It appears that intervention would have involved us in tipping the balance against Assad as leader of Syria, resulting in rebel groups associated with al-Qaida coming to power. We could then face an evil government not aimed primarily at internal abuse of power but desirous of damaging us and all our allies, in addition to internal persecution.

Idealistic liberals always hope that some sort of Western-style leaders will emerge to defeat the thugs in their coalition. We hoped Hindenburg would triumph over Hitler and Kerensky over Stalin. But those who gouge out eyes and gas people seldom lose to those who make excellent arguments and encourage people to read books.

Our system works in Western societies because we have a moral framework grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics, even if it is just a remnant in countries such as France and Germany.

When your entire strategy is based upon an advanced warning “pinprick” — trying to avoid taking sides but dropping bombs nevertheless — you potentially involve our nation in a war through overreach by acting or by demonstrating weakness by not acting. Somehow our president’s fuzzy internationalism has now put us in both positions.

He also empowered Russian leader Putin to further push his muscular, anti-American foreign policy to the forefront while looking like he is rescuing a weak American president.

President Obama is not evil, but his foreign policy is far more dangerous than his terrible domestic policies.

Mark Souder is a former 3rd District congressman.