The problem in this Syrian saga is that the White House isn't examining the situation according to power paradigms of dictators -- particularly Assad. It is responding to it according to the typical model of Western imperialism, and Assad knows it. That's why he continues to play to his theater and taunt Goliath by poking his chest with words such as "Obama is weak."
Herein lies the rub. On Saturday, BBC ran a story titled "Syria crisis raises question of US role in the world." According to the article, "in the details of the debate over Syria, the biggest questions and the larger picture are in danger of being lost. In essence, it's whether the world needs a super cop. And whether the US should simply assume that role."
If I were one of our lawmakers, I would emphatically tell the president: Quit taking the bait! If all the evidence about chemical weapons points straight to Assad's front door, that doesn't mean we check in our brains at the door of war and bow down to a Middle Eastern dictator's mindset.
Proof of the president's shortsightedness can be found in his naive strategy of a "limited" military campaign in Syria. What a joke and mockery to any opponent and to any rational mind! What professional fighter says, "I'm going to go into the ring and throw a series of blows and then get out"? Does the opponent have no bearing on countermeasures? You can't limit an attack when you're kicking hornets' nests or throwing matches on gasoline!
And it's not merely Assad waiting in the ring to counter the U.S. hits but also Iran, Russia, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaida, et al. And with our ally Israel -- which already is hated by most -- in the region, there's no telling the outcome. It is no exaggeration to say that a single, unilateral U.S. strike on Syria could spark fires that lead to the inferno of World War III.
Obama needs to ratchet down his and his Cabinet's need for speed in this Syrian matter, review the entire matter from Assad's autocratic mindset, seek counsel from the greatest experts on the Middle East and then refuse to engage in action in Syria without congressional and international support. Only then should the coalition decide on the best course of action against Syria -- whether that's a multinational attack on various hot spots or further arming and enabling pro-democracy resistance groups in the country or utilizing some covert actions against the regime that the world never connects to the U.S. or the international community.
The president already has confessed that the Syrian mission is "not time-sensitive" and that Assad's actions pose "no imminent, direct threat" to the U.S. The only threat there is for the U.S. at this point is to the president's pride, ego and willingness to humble himself for the sake of our military, our country's future, our standing in the world and especially our not getting entangled further in Middle Eastern affairs.
As a six-time world karate champion, I know something about fighting, winning and losing. Sometimes one has to lose a battle to win a war, if only in appearance before certain others. And the truth is, Mr. President, sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. My advice is to learn it now before it's too late for all of us.
Assad placed Obama (and, hence, America) in checkmate when he launched chemical weapons upon his people. The temptation is to blow up his chess pieces. But the right and wise move is to step away from the table, quit playing his game and form our own.
The Syrian crisis is all the more reason to call up America's spiritual reserves by observing the Day of Prayer and Repentance on Sept. 11. You can register your intent to participate and help spread the word by going to http://911dayofprayer.com. And on Sept. 12, join thousands of businesses across the U.S. in showing appreciation for U.S. military forces by providing free goods and services. To see a complete list of offers from business participants in your state, go to http://www.freedomdayusa.org/participating-businesses.html.
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