Skip to main content

It seems like President Obama was looking past the debate, to more pressing matters.

What could have been more important to President Obama, than this debate with an empty suit?

Tensions between Syria and Turkey have escalated.

There had been some speculation that Ankara might ask NATO to invoke Article 5, which states that any armed attack against one member of the alliance is an attack against them all. But NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this was not discussed.
Unfortunately, the above quote is from June 26th, when Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance plane. It is unfortunate, because the most recent escalation has almost certainly led to discussions about Article 5.

Fast forward to the Day of the First Presidential Debate. While the Very Important People were focused on President Obama's verbal joust with the empty suit, critically important events were occurring out of focus on the other side of the world:

Turkish armed forces have launched artillery attacks on a Syrian area near its border in response to a [Syrian] mortar attack which killed five members of the same family in southeastern Turkey.

Turkish state media has said that Turkey resumed cross-border artillery strikes at Syrian targets on Thursday.

President Obama is almost certainly more concerned and focused on the implications if Turkey and Syria get into a full blown war. If Turkey invokes NATO Article 5, then NATO is at war with Syria. How much will it damage relations with Russia?

The Russians will almost certainly not go to war against NATO; but Assad is their only close ally in the Middle East. If Russia lets him go (without a fight), then it will signal a final transformation of Russia's Middle Eastern policy into one that is more aligned with the West. That would appear to be Russia's most rational course of action. There is a very good chance that Russia will follow the rational course:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged Syria on Thursday to state publicly that a mortar bomb attack on the Turkish border was accidental and would not be repeated, RIA Novosti news agency said.
...but Iran is the wild card. If NATO goes to war with Syria, there is a chance that Iran would become involved. From the Obama Administration's point of view, that cannot be allowed to happen. If NATO ends up in a shooting war with Iran, then all hell can break loose; because the Iranian leadership will be tempted to use the same gambit that the Iraqi leadership used in the First Gulf War: widen the war by attacking Israel. The Iraqi gambit failed, because Israel did not retaliate. But that gambit is much more likely to succeed now, because Netanyahu would almost surely use an Iranian attack as a pretext for attacking the Iranian nuclear program.

So if President Obama was off his game during the debate, it was because he had more pressing matters on his mind: avoiding a war in the Middle East that involves NATO, Syria, Iran and Israel. It's easy to see why that would be more important to him, than winning an argument with an empty suit.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Ottoe, GainesT1958, Thumb, Grassroots Mom, filkertom, mwm341, Bob Love, greenbird, Emerson, dengre, donna in evanston, Wintermute, cotterperson, LEP, eeff, dsb, dash888, eyeswideopen, concernedamerican, parker parrot, Wee Mama, wonkydonkey, jem6x, twcollier, ask, mkfarkus, calistan, wishingwell, larryrant, PeteZerria, Cedwyn, jted, Lilyvt, ksuwildkat, ninothemindboggler, Mxwll, Noodles, defluxion10, 313to212, walkshills, econlibVA, peterj911, mungley, Sybil Liberty, bibble, G2geek, Tinfoil Hat, OpherGopher, ChemBob, Dobber, boofdah, owlbear1, imfunnytoo, Ice Blue, sunbro, kaliope, peacestpete, Ekaterin, kkjohnson, accio, reddbierd, kishik, martini, Debbie in ME, BlueInARedState, hungrycoyote, Gorette, Dvalkure, TalkieToaster, cRedd, Rosaura, boatsie, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Stripe, SD Goat, daeros, Nulwee, DBunn, FlamingoGrrl, Cat Whisperer, yoduuuh do or do not, cobaltbay, beth meacham, jeanette0605, Zappa Fan, cyncynical, bobswern, jhop7, M Sullivan, BasharH, Da Rock, oxon, Empower Ink, jwinIL14, MKinTN, CroneWit, revm3up, mconvente, TX Freethinker, Senor Unoball, Foundmyvoice, dadadata, mikeconwell, beltane, Lujane, Ocelopotamus, Cassandra Waites, hwmnbn, pademocrat, triplepoint, Neosho, vernonbc, sewaneepat, emidesu, Nica24, briefer, dzog, scrambler, Diogenes2008, prettygirlxoxoxo, litoralis, greengemini, ronnied, Carol in San Antonio, Gorilla in the room, Zotz, BlueInRedCincy, Shelley99, stevenwag, sfarkash, mahakali overdrive, eXtina, Anima, womankind, tellthestories, DerAmi, sharonsz, soaglow, Berliner2, JanG, Onomastic, Jane Lew, Barbara Marquardt, Hill Jill, coquiero, asterkitty, Word Alchemy, Cinnamon Rollover, thomask, JWK, SueM1121, marianevans, Reinvented Daddy, wintergreen8694, bluedust, sound of progress, poliwrangler, Vatexia, blackjackal, jadt65, DRo, mikeVA, Prairie D, KiB, RhodaA, tb92, 2thanks, shanesnana, My Name Isnt Earl, ccellist, doroma, cassandracarolina, james321, Kavalor, history first, Robynhood too, Blue Bell Bookworm, DamselleFly, Laura Wnderer, pragmaticidealist, PatLDC, OregonWetDog, BLou Islander, theriverrust

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site