It’s only been a couple of weeks since President Obama made his comments public about his desire to use military force in Syria, following the developments that Assad had used chemical weapons to murder over 1,000 men, women and children.
And I don’t know about you, but the back and forth these last few weeks has made it seem as if this debate has been going on for months. When in reality it’s been less than a month.
Well, it’s been revealed that a deal has been reached to remove chemical weapons from Syria. Chemical weapons that until just a few days ago, Syria denied even having.
So, between today and a month ago, what’s changed? Nothing—except Obama’s brilliant move on Syria.
Sure, Republicans will try and say Putin got the better end of the deal and Obama’s push for military involvement was met with such backlash that he had to tuck his tail between his legs and “give in” to public pressure.
Absolutely nothing was being done in Syria—nothing.
Then the story broke about chemical weapons being used resulting in the slow, and painful slaughter of over 1,000 Syrians.
Still, nothing was being done.
Then President Obama surprisingly decides to make his intentions public about his desire to use military force in response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
Now, at this moment President Obama doesn’t need Congressional approval for a limited military strike—per the War Powers Act. He had the authority to authorize military strikes for 60 days without Congressional approval along with another 30 days for withdrawal.
Instead, he decided to seek Congressional approval. But not instant approval—no, no. He simply made his intentions public, then allowed Congress to come back from recess at their normally scheduled time.
While waiting for Congress to return, he went on a “campaign” of sorts to explain to the American people why it was so important that we use our military in Syria. He made as many public appearances as his schedule seemed to allow for to plead his case.
During this time Republicans didn’t seem to know what the heck to do. Some who had supported military involvement in Syria suddenly opposed it. Some supported the president’s plan—though didn’t seem to do so enthusiastically. Even some who applauded the president for saying we needed to get involved suddenly changed their opinion and said they wouldn’t support his proposal.
In short, Republicans had gone “all-in” on the belief that President Obama would skip Congressional approval and “go it alone.” When he didn’t, they really didn’t know what the hell to do.
But while the right-wing circus played out, Obama continued his strong push for using our military in Syria. This quickly got Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attention, and suddenly the world was talking about Syria.
So a situation that just one month ago nobody was really discussing, was suddenly front page news on nearly every media outlet around the world.
Now after all the political posturing, a deal has been reached—in just over two weeks.
But some people want to give the credit to Republicans or Vladimir Putin? Are you kidding?
Neither of them were doing a damn thing about Syria. Neither of them seemed to really “make Syria a topic that needed to be discussed.” Sure, a few Republicans had given speeches about Syria, but they weren’t really pushing for any sort of action to be done about the reported use of chemical weapons.
It wasn’t until President Obama publicly stated that he supported military action that anything began to get done. It wasn’t until President Obama campaigned in support of military action that a deal to remove chemical weapons was discussed.
And when President Obama had the clear authority to unilaterally take military action in Syria for a very limited strike, he instead chose to take his time and seek Congressional approval. Something he knew he would never need—because he never intended to “go to war,” and didn’t truly want to use military action unless it was used as a last resort.
You can’t tell me that had Obama not made his intentions public a couple of weeks ago, we’d have this deal today. There’s no way. If President Obama hadn’t taken the action he did, nothing would have been done.
So while Republicans are still scrambling for answers, trying to spin this as some kind of victory for their party (with some even giving credit to the Russian president as opposed to our president), Obama not only managed to get Syria to admit that it possessed chemical weapons—we now have a deal where Syria will surrender these weapons so that they can be destroyed.
And he did all of that without firing one bullet, using one missile or dropping a single bomb.
So Mr. Putin, Republican critics and others who have criticized the president’s handling of this situation, all I’ve got to say to you folks is—checkmate.
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