Obama's Calculus in Syria

Monday, April 29, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media after meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House, March 1, 2013. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Fred Kaplan, War Stories columnist for Slate and author of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, wrote last week: "One thing that [President] Obama has made very clear in his approach to war and peace: He abhors the prospect of uncontrolled escalation." Today, he talks about the Obama administration's "red line" when it comes to Syria, and the calculation of conflict.



Fred Kaplan

Comments [7]

DTorres from Manhattan

Colin Powell will declare at the United Nations, that Syria used
Chemical Weapons.

May. 01 2013 01:16 PM

Why do we keep repeating mistakes we've made in the past, as in financing and arming the religious fundies/Islamists in Afghanistan...because we thought we could make the USSR weaker by forcing them to defend Afghanistan and then have their own version of self-chosen Vietnam?

And, of course, there was that blowback from Obama bin Laden, once "our guy" if Afghanistan, who decided to create a little problem for us on our home territory.

We also, according to several trusted analysts, funded Chechen separatists in order to make Russia weaker and to try to make it impossible for Russia to gain transit fees for oil and natural gas pipelines. WE wanted our corporations or our client states to get those fees. And we wanted, again, to weaken Russia as we felt we had weakened the USSR.

We either led in secret or "led from behind" to have Libya's Ghaddaffi government destroyed, again thinking we could the radical Islamist, the Salafists, by arming them and providing them with cover and air power. Then we helped ship Libyan weaponry and fighters to Syria in order to take out that nation. Our good friends the Saudis want to get rid of any Arab or nearby nations who are npt Sunni and fundie, and Syria was secular and had Alawite leadership.

We are so willing to create death, destruction, and chaos, as we seem to believe that when we break something we will somehow benefit. Riiiight.

I am disappointed in how our foreign policy seems to always be based on the premise that we are so powerful we can remake reality in other nations. We have no care for what happens to the people on the ground as we play our own versions of The Great Game. Mostly for oil, which we view as being ours no mattter where it's located.

We treat any nation which does bend to our will as an ingrate and outlaw, and we try to destroy them. Very few can survive our onslaughts of sanctions, "legal" actions, secret wars, etc.

May be typos as I have to run....

Apr. 29 2013 11:09 AM

The Syrian Regime has not killed 70,000 people. 70K have died as a result of the civil war. Rebels have killed soldiers and civilians. The regime has killed rebels and civilians. The vast majority have been combatants. We should focus on our own domestic problems.

Apr. 29 2013 11:05 AM
Joe from nearby

Why do the neo-cons keep trying to drag us into war?

Weren't they vanquished long ago?

Apr. 29 2013 10:53 AM
The Truth from Becky

There is no connection.

Apr. 29 2013 10:52 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

We should all agree with Barry's inaction - but for different reasons.

(Barry Obama is actually just a coward for whom commitments of any kind mean nothing. "Red lines" for him are really pink lines or, better, yellow lines.)

Let Assad USE UP all of his weapons on the "moderate freedom fighters" from al Queda and Jabhat al-Nusra ... and probably on his own people in this civil war. (China and Russia don't care.)

Then there will be nothing left for his successors to allow into the hands of terrorists to be used against OTHER countries ... say, Israel.
Use them up now, Bashar. It's easier than us taking them out, and meanwhile, you'll kill a lot of bad guys.....who are just planning to move on to...say, Israel.

Apr. 29 2013 08:33 AM
George from Brooklyn

What does Russia gain by propping up Bashar Al-Assad in Syria?

Apr. 29 2013 03:10 AM

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