Mar 15, 2016

A moral failure | Arab News

United States President Barack Obama’s approach with regard to the Middle East is undoubtedly controversial. In an article run by the Atlantic, Jeffery Goldberg refers to a set of convictions that have come to define Obama’s inaction in the Syrian conflict. The Middle East lost its importance for the Americans and that the United States could do little to make the region a better place. For Obama, Goldberg argues, American attempts to fix all problems may drag it into unnecessary wars. Furthermore, Assad regime’s threat to American interests is not greater than the threat posed by Daesh.
Of course, Obama’s inaction against the Syrian regime is not without stinging criticism from within America and from allies as well. Many insist that Obama’s strategy of a cautious “hands-off” approach has made America less feared. And yet, the argument that American disengagement from the Middle East would precipitate its decline does not resonate well with Obama. All along, he has remained committed to his convictions.
The problem with Obama’s approach of inaction is that the president himself has turned into a political analyst rather than a decision-maker. For instance, he kept saying “there is no military solution in Syria.” But as we can see these days, the Russian president may prove him wrong. Since the military intervention of Russia, the military balance on the ground shifted remarkably to the extent that Russia may dictate the terms of any future solution in Syria. It is hard to point out to one achievement of Obama administration. 
Despite the declaration of the truce on Feb. 27, Russian aircraft continued their operations and Assad’s troops never stopped violating the terms of the truce. On top of that, it is hard to believe that Russia is not buying time and that it adopted the method of talk for the sake of talk so as to continue bombing.
It transpired that Obama’s insistence on the “no military solution” is nothing but an excuse for inaction. In contrast to Obama, the Russian strong man genuinely believed that a political solution is not in the offing and therefore he is bent to decide the matters on the battlefield. When Barack Obama failed to enforce his “red-line” back in August 2013, the rest of the world took notice. Not only did he let down his allies, but also pro-Assad powers — Iran and Russia in particular — realized that they could do whatever they wanted to. And until this moment, Obama says that his country will not turn a blind eye to Assad’s crimes.
Historians will debate in the future whether or not Obama has done the right thing. But one thing is crystal clear: The credibility of the United States is at stake. It remains to be seen whether other countries will believe what the United States has to say. Fortunately, the rest of the world has not tested Obama in other crises. It should not be surprising if other leaders ignite regional conflicts based on the calculation that America will not walk its walk.
Let me be straightforward and say that the American administration has failed morally. A superpower should not bluff when the lives of millions are at stak

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