Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, makes the entirely sensible point that the Obama administration failed to respond to the crisis in Syria in an adroit manner. As Rogers points out, nothing is being done to prevent the Assad regime from continuing to slaughter the Syrian opposition via conventional weapons. I recognize that there is a special brand of awfulness that is attached to chemical weapons, and that said special brand of awfulness elicited the horror and opprobrium of the international community, but if the Obama administration and the rest of the world wanted to be outraged about what has been going on in Syria, they could have chosen to be outraged long before chemical weapons made their appearance on the scene.
And again, it is worth noting–as Rogers does–that at the end of the day, Russian influence has increased in Syria, and in the Middle East as a whole; exactly what generations of American policymakers have striven to avoid. The president had to walk back his commentary about “red lines,” which serves to harm his credibility down the road. And as Rogers points out, to the extent that it might have been valuable to maintain contacts with the Syrian opposition, the Obama administration ruined its standing with opposition leaders thanks to its bungling of Syria policy.
Other than all of that, I guess that everything has gone great with the administration’s Syria policy. But I trust that you will forgive me if I refrain from celebrating.