The Talk: No Hysteria Over Obama’s Speech on Syria
August 19, 2011
Charles Lebovitz: Let’s move beyond the continental United States this week. President Obama finally called for Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad to resign. Was this the right move by the president?
Ross Freiman-Mendel: Yes. I often struggle with my “Ron Paul non-interventionist under no circumstances leanings” and remembering the massacres in Rwanda, for example. While I support the president’s condemnation, the United States should go no further in intervening in Syria, unlike how they have in Libya.
Chip Lebovitz: Blanket policies on any subject worry me for their lack of flexibility; however, the president’s Syria policy has been well thought out. He left most of the heavy lifting to his very popular Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and he worked to limit the Assad regime through sanctions while not riding lone ranger all over the toes of allies, like Turkey. Pragmatically, pushing for Assad’s departure any earlier would have likely achieved nothing but diminishing the power of the United States.
Ross Freiman-Mandel: Fair enough, Chip. It’s important that Turkey, and not the United States, takes the lead on the issue. While the international community will press for Assad to step down, the United States can and should do it at little to no cost with soft power and diplomacy. In the face of massive budget cuts this year, our resources can’t sustain a fourth war and increased global intervention.