It was only a matter of time before our polarized politics threatened to destroy a president’s authority and call into question our country’s ability to act in the world. Will Congress let that happen?He means Syria. He means war. He means bombing a sovereign nation. He seems to think acting in the world means blowing things up.
Dionne writes about dropping bombs and killing people, many no doubt civilian innocents, but all he can see is questions about a president's authority. To Dionne, bombing Syria to save Syria isn't about about Syria, it's about us.
Members of Obama’s party have to understand the risks of forcing him to walk away from a red line that he drew for good reason.Members of the human race have to understand the risks of killing people and making another country's civil war even worse because of hubris and arrogance.
The question now is whether Congress really wants to incapacitate the president for three long years.Actually, the question is whether Congress wants to bomb a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked us, is no threat to attack us, and has no clear good guys to replace the bad guy whose presumed bad actions are the ostensible reason for bombing. The question isn't about politically incapacitating an American president, it's about physically incapacitating and killing Syrians.
More on E.J. Dionne's take on Syria below the fold.
He must do something very difficult: show that his approach could succeed, over time, in replacing Assad with a new government without enmeshing the United States in a land conflict involving troops on the ground.Actually, "could succeed" is a despicably low standard for starting a war. He has to show that his approach likely would succeed, and that replacing Assad likely wouldn't lead to a deeper and uglier civil war, with Assad's chemical weapons made less secure, and thus likely to fall into the hands of any of the many extremist groups that seem well-situated to prevail, should Assad fall. Without enmeshing the United States in a land conflict involving troops on the ground.
The administration’s view is that only a negotiated settlement will produce anything like a decent and stable outcome in Syria — and that only forceful U.S. action now will put the United States in a position to get the parties to the table. It’s not tidy or an easy sell, but it’s a plausible path consistent with what the United States can and can’t do.Yes. It's not tidy or easy because it's as plausible as was the claim that the Iraqis would greet us with flowers, after the bombing and invasion of Iraq.
Dionne doesn't bother trying to explain how bombing Syria will put the United States in a position to bring to the table the disparate Syrian rebel groups, many of whom already hate the United States, indeed it's such a plausible path that Dionne doesn't even bother trying to begin to explain it. Perhaps that's because what happens after the bombing isn't as important to Dionne as is ensuring that the bombing commence. So that the president isn't incapacitated in his ability to assert his authority. To blow things up.
If we want to avoid becoming a second-class nation, we have to stop behaving like one.Here, Dionne is right. But not in the way he thinks. Because Dionne seems to think class is about the blunt capacity to inflict massive violence. It apparently hasn't occurred to him that class might have something to do with knowing when not to commit violence at all.