President Assad was exultant. He declaimed of a sudden that Syria "is capable of confronting any external aggression." Within hours those of his elite military units that had hunkered down expecting the worst had returned to their strongholds, for instance on Mt. Qassioun, where they resumed their artillery attacks on the rebels. The Americans might never arrive. Dunya TV, a Pakistani state television channel roughly comparable to Iraq's Baghdad Bob, began broadcasting that two United States warships had defected, its crews in a panic over Syria's sudden military might.
What we have just seen is the work of an utter amateur trying to be the president of the United States. Barack Obama ran for the presidency promising to be the perfect multilateral president. No longer would America go it alone. He would form a worldwide coalition before taking military action. As a candidate, he blabbered on about colonialism as though the Western world were thirsting for African and South American colonies. He denounced intervention in foreign countries, especially American intervention. Now he is advocating what amounts to unilateralism and intervening in foreign lands with no particular purpose. He wants to hurt President Assad, not much more. He is a hypocrite, but on behalf of what, I cannot say.
Barack Obama operates from no grand strategy. What he will do next, no one can say. He is a total amateur, and he is going to be president for almost forty more months. At least we can count on many more great moments of presidential comedy.