It’s decision time! Will the USA have a decisive policy on the Middle East and Syria or will the Yanks keep floundering around? The question is long overdue. The time has come for America to decide.
Iran President Hassan Rouhani is coming to town this week and the rumor is that he might meet with either President Obama or Vice-president Joe Biden. Tightened sanctions are definitely having an effect. The hope is that his moderate tone and new offers of constructive talks on nuclear armament are more than a smoke screen. However, after former President Ahmadinejad’s irresponsible and bizarre statements negativing the Holocaust and sounding like a war monger, the Iranians are not trusted. Rouhani must prove he is not simply stalling for time. The question also remains as to whether Iran wants regional stability or is only attempting to gain traction for their rise to dominance.
But how can talks progress when American hasn’t decided where it is going? Obama and Kerry have one opinion; the vast majority of Americans have a different view. The contradiction can only lead to more confusion.
Since the end of the Cold War, nothing has challenged America’s diplomatic idealism like the chemical attacks in Syria and the continuing revolution in Egypt. The White House’s judgement, effectiveness, and consistency has been severely confronted. While Americans saluted when the flag went by on July 4th, the country’s foreign policies have never been completely consistent with the publicly espoused idealistic positions. America danced with Hosni Mubarak who was a Middle Eastern Pinochet. Eisenhower abandoned Hungary to the Russians and Ronald Reagan courted Latin American dictator’s while confronting the Soviet Union on moral grounds. The truth is that these contradictions have always been present just as they were when America retreated from Vietnam.
The continuing struggle in Syria has now pushed the envelope. What will the American policy be in countries from Libya to Dubai?
For the moment, the Russian proposal to remove chemical weapons from Syria has pulled President Obama’s backsides out of the fire. Only the threat of immediate retaliation by American missile strikes will keep this alternative from getting lost in diplomatic haggling at the United Nations where Putin stands ready to veto what he doesn’t like. The problem is that America must rise above these dilemmas and this can only happen with a comprehensive foreign policy that is recognizable by the rest of the world.
What will it be?
Rebel opposition forces now feel betrayed by American backing off of a strike. Assad has brought more time to hide his chemicals (that he says he doesn’t have). American indecision only leads to more chaos and escalating dangerous maneuvering.
These past years have stripped the United States of being seen as the sole superpower in the Middle East. Russia has turned up as a staunch ally of Syria and China stands behind them. With such backing, Assad’s fear of America diminishes. Such a scenario kicked off World War I with tragic consequences.
So, Washington, what is your policy? The time is overdue to make up your mind.