Saturday, October 3, 2015

Obamaspeak on Syria: New wine in old bottle


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Obama estimates that rather than being a display of Russian strength or assertiveness, the military intervention in Syria is a sign of weakness, “because his [Putin’s] client, Mr. Assad was crumbling. And it was insufficient for him [Putin] simply to send them arms and money; now he’s got to put in his own planes and his own pilots”. 
The point is, Obama sees the Russian operations in Syria as aimed principally at weakening the opposition to Assad and not as a fight against the Islamic State.
The narrative is that Assad stares at defeat, while all expert opinion suggests otherwise. Obama still imagines there is a ‘moderate Syrian opposition’ the US can work with and that Assad must amicably make way for this opposition.
Obama probably knows he is holding on to a world of make-believe as part of public diplomacy. The US’ regional allies would expect him to stick to the narrative. On the other hand, what options does he have under the circumstances?
Obama underscored that Washington will neither cooperate nor militarily oppose the Russian operations in Syria. Instead, he chooses to thoroughly disagree with Putin’s decision and will keep harping on the need for a political solution to the conflict.
Actually, Obama is making a virtue out of necessity. He admitted candidly about the US’ limitations in getting into any military involvement in Syria. For one thing, he is not sure the US has the “resources and the capacity to make a serious impact”.
Again, the US’ hands are full with the ongoing fight against the Islamic State, the involvement in Iraq and its commitments in Afghanistan. Besides, Syrian question is of such complexity that “no amount of US military engagement will solve the problem.”
In the ultimate analysis, therefore, “we [US] will find ourselves either doing just a little bit and not making a difference, and losing credibility that way, or finding ourselves drawn in deeper and deeper into a situation that we can’t sustain”. ...

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