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View Diary: Taking Occam's Razor to the Syria diplomacy debacle (104 comments)

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  •  Your position makes little sense to me (2+ / 0-)
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    LanceBoyle, the autonomist

    As I stated in a reply to another comment, I think that there are two fundamental camps here. One camp (yours) thinks that Obama is dead-set on attacking and has been foiled (at least temporarily), and the other thinks that Obama never wanted war and had to figure out a politically viable way to avoid (not prevent - avoid) war.

    There are a few basic questions that I'd like to ask of someone who believes that Obama is dead-set on attacking Syria:

    1. If Obama is so dead-set on attacking, why hasn't he attacked already? What more pretext could he possibly need than Assad crossing a previously-stated "red line"?

    2. If the administration is so dead-set on attacking, why exactly are they being stopped by the Russian proposal? What mysterious force does that proposal have that has brought the Obama war machine grinding to a frustrated halt?

    3. Finally, what then was Kerry's quote, exactly? You state it was neither diplomacy nor a gaffe, i.e., it was neither intentional nor unintentional. I see this as dodging the very salient point that it is highly unlikely that Kerry made up that statement on the spot. Anyway, if it was neither diplomacy nor a gaffe, what was it?

    In the end, I think that a lot of left-leaning people - and I am definitely one - have come to view Obama's actions with well-deserved skepticism. Recently, it seems that this skepticism has begun crusting over into something hard and unmovable - a belief that Obama is essentially the same as Bush, and that Syria is the same as Iraq, etc. It's my belief that people who are afflicted with the resulting crusted-over eyes are having trouble differentiating between the truly idiotic and ultimately tragic warmongering rhetoric and actions of Bush, and the tough-talking but as-of-yet action-free rhetoric of Obama.

    The case that I am making is that Obama is engaging in diplomacy and wants no part of a war. Tough talk is part of diplomacy with certain countries. If the President does indeed short-circuit or otherwise sabotage the apparent diplomatic solution in order to attack Syria, then I'll be the first to be outraged and I'll certainly own up to being wrong.

    •  Many paths to the same destination (0+ / 0-)

      Just because the White House and military are "dead set" on attacking, that doesn't mean they are going to risk the large public opposition to this battle as well as the resulting costs of yet more war.  They needed to make a case for Syria that would get the public on their side and they largely failed at that.  

      But it is fact that like Iran and Iraq, Syria is on a list of countries the US feels it needs to invade/attack out of some sense of personal interest.

      While the Russian proposal has now stopped the war drums, I'm not totally convinced yet that they won't be ramping up again in the near future.   However, may I remind you that initially Kerry came out saying that the 30 day disarming proposal was not enough and threatened that it should happen sooner.  So it didn't stop them dead in their tracks.  

      Meanwhile, from a political POV and public perception, it probably would have been a huge mistake if Kerry came out saying "they aren't going to turn over their chemical weapons" and Syria does exactly that and are attacked anyway.  Maybe if there was more public support for invading syria, they would have done it regardless.  But when 70+ percent oppose...it is going to be a tough sell.

      As for diplomacy vs a gaffe, I think Kerry, much like Bush Co before him, was making a case to villainize Syria as much as possible.  Maybe he knew there was a plan already floated by Russia/Syria, maybe not.  I personally don't think it is out of the question that when making the case to villainize Syria, the administration would say "It's not like they are going to just hand over their weapons".  Bush said the same about Iraq...and there were no WMDs.  Not to mention lies about weapon inspectors, etc.

      I think it was just a comment made to support a case.  That is the simplest explanation...the Occam's Razor.  Not some overly complicated scheme to trick Russia/Syria into diplomacy.  Not a gaffe either.  If you want to make the case for war, you have to convince people that the opponent isn't going to just change overnight or magically do the right.  You tell people that they aren't going to hand over their chemical weapons, or stop being violent dictators.  You make the case that blood is on their hands and will continue to be that way unless you step in.  

      I think it makes sense for the White House to cover their bases, be ready for both a battle and peaceful negotiations.  What I don't think makes sense is this false dichotemy of "gaffe or brilliance".  It reminds me of when Bush was president and people would defend him with "Either he is an idiot or he's an evil genius!  Which is it? Can't be both!"   I agree it can't be both...but that doesn't mean it must, by necessity, be either.  

      My own belief is that the WH was preparing for war and very much ready to attack but needed to improve public support.  They weren't going to risk another Iraq, especially with such low opinion polling on the subject.  When Syria agreed to diplomacy, the WH was smart enough to change their plans, at least for now, because that was the smarter political move...do what the people wanted.

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