WASHINGTON -- The once highly touted Arab Spring has become the Arab Summer -- scorching hot, unbearably dry and very brutal and bloody. Last weekend, as Americans prepared to celebrate Memorial Day and commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, Bashar Assad unleashed tanks, artillery and his Quds force-trained shabiha militia to kill more than 100 Syrian civilians -- most of them women and children. Though the atrocities and carnage in Syria continue, little but bluff and bluster is produced by the United Nations and the Obama administration.
In the aftermath of the May 25 massacre, 11 nations -- the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Turkey -- expelled Syrian diplomats from their capitals. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon -- on a visit to Turkey, Syria's neighbor and former ally -- told the Alliance of Civilizations in Istanbul, "The U.N. did not deploy in Syria just to bear witness to the slaughter of innocents. ... We are not there to play the role of passive observer to unspeakable atrocities."
But that's exactly what the 300 U.N. "observers" in Syria have become in the six weeks since they were deployed in support of Kofi Annan's so-called Syrian peace plan. Worse, the vicious Assad regime and its principal backers in Russia and Iran know that this is all hollow rhetoric. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- vying for the title of "The Most Traveled U.S. Secretary of State in History" -- ought to know it, too.
In Copenhagen, on "a weeklong diplomatic trip to Europe's capitals," she said the Obama administration is "committed to preventing a civil war in Syria" and baldly claimed that she is "pushing" the government in Moscow to help: "I have been telling them their policy is going to help contribute to a civil war." That kind of talk is unlikely to produce a favorable outcome in Vladimir Putin's Kremlin, no matter how many times President Barack Obama pushes the "reset button."
After 15 months of butchery -- and 13,000 dead civilians (the U.N. says it's 10,000) -- it ought to be clear to all that the U.N. can't "prevent" a civil war in Syria; it already has started. Toothless sanctions, such as last week's decision by the Obama administration to bar the Syria International Islamic Bank from doing business in the U.S., won't stop the fighting. And no one, particularly the 22.5 million people living in Syria under the sanguinary Assad regime, should expect any help from Russia or Iran.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.