WHO radio talk-show host Simon Conway provided the expected contemptible dismissal of President Obama’s handling of the Syrian crisis with his “America is the laughingstock of the world” claims (Political Mercury, Sept. 19). Conway said he had more respect for Putin than Obama, a shocking comment considering Putin criticized Obama for describing America as an exceptional nation. Does Conway agree with Putin that we don’t deserve to be called exceptional? Conway’s disrespect for the President seems to overwhelm any sense of reality about the President’s success in Syria.
It’s a bit premature, but it appears at this juncture that the President has accomplished a number of his goals in Syria without firing a shot. His threat of military action brought Syria, Russia and the U.N. to the negotiating table. The President’s goal was to elevate the significance of Syria’s use of chemical weapons as an unacceptable violation of international norms. In order to engage the Russians, Syria’s ally, he was forced to raise the threat of military action against Syria. He succeeded, with the help of Russia, to get Syria to agree to allow the removal and disposal of its chemical weapons. In addition, with the U.N. empowered by Obama’s actions, there appears to be a good chance for Geneva negotiations to proceed toward a cease fire in Syria.
President Obama is using cautious, deliberative and diplomatic leadership in an attempt to put the world on a course toward eliminating Syria’s chemical stock pile and a chance for a negotiated peace. Obama suffered critics on both sides — on the right, for his caution, and on the left, for his military threats — but, at this point, it looks like his balance between the two was nearly flawless.
Rick Smith