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Politico: Syria Is No-Win For Either Party In 2014

From the Politico:

Syria a no-win for either party in 2014

By ALEX ISENSTADT | September 3, 2013

Another military conflict in the Middle East is the last thing either party wants to be talking about heading into the 2014 midterm.

Once again we see how our media guardians try to protect Obama at every turn. Here the Politico is basically insisting that there’s no political advantage to be gained by the Republicans in attacking Obama over Syria.

But let’s play the old game: ‘What if it were Bush?’ And ask yourself if the Politico and the Democrat strategists would say there’s no sense in attacking a President who got us into this with his bluster about a ‘red line.’ No, we would never hear the end of what a cowboy Bush was.

And Obama has done this time and again. Such as in the case of the Arab Spring, and his demanding Mubarak step down, in spite of knowing who would replace him.

For lawmakers on the ballot next year, the decision whether to authorize a strike against Syria that President Barack Obama has forced on Congress looks like an all-risk, no-reward proposition, campaign strategists from both parties told POLITICO.

There could be a lot of reward for the Republicans to point up what an incompetent leader Mr. Obama is.

Democrats will have to choose between defying public opinion — which is deeply divided over another military intervention — or their own president. For Republicans, the vote threatens to magnify the split between hawkish neoconservatives and isolationist libertarians that’s increasingly been on display since Mitt Romney’s defeat last year…

Why should any Republicans want to get into a war to support some ‘red line’ drawn by Obama? ‘No blood for ego.’

“I don’t see anyone saying, ‘Goody, Syria. Here’s a political issue,’” said Curt Anderson, a national Republican strategist. “I don’t know why [Congress] would want anything to do with this. The polls are pretty clear on it.” …

That’s the problem with Republican strategists. They don’t ever see any issue that will help their cause. And never mind that they could seize the position held by the vast majority of the public. Let the Syrians take care of each other.

Neither party planned to make national security a central part of their midterm strategy; indeed, the election season to date has been all about domestic affairs.

Why not? Obama’s foreign policy have been almost as big of a disaster as his domestic policies.

Both sides have settled on familiar attack lines: Democrats calling Republicans tea party extremists at the root Washington dysfunction, Republicans blaming Obamacare for weighting down the economy and making life that much harder for struggling Americans.

Yes, and we wouldn’t want to change that narrative. That might disrupt the Democrats’ plans

Neither chamber is expected to change hands, but Republicans are seen as having a better shot at netting the six seats they need to take the Senate than Democrats do 17 seats it would take to flip control of the House. But it’s difficult to see how the Syria vote helps either party’s cause…

Again, what is so difficult to see? Because the news media don’t want to even think of such a thing.

Their ambivalence is reflected in public opinion. According to an NBC News poll released Friday, only 42 percent of Americans support a military strike against Syria over the suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians (the figure is slightly higher if the response is limited to launching cruise missiles).

Where is the ambivalence? The majority oppose any such attack.

The decision is especially tough for senators and House members in swing states and districts. A vote for a military strike risks alienating constituents who don’t see the point of engaging in another Middle Eastern conflict…

But members of Congress who vote “no” risk appearing timid in the face of a foreign dictator seen as taunting the United States…

He is taunting Obama, not the United States. ‘No blood for ego.’

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Politico: Syria Is No-Win For Either Party In 2014”

  1. So, the most dangerous weapon of mass destruction in this entire scenario is Obama’s mouth.

  2. captstubby

    “Let the Syrians take care of each other,”
    and ” engaging in another Middle Eastern conflict…”
    national security or election strategy;

    or
    international law.

    The art of foreign intervention
    After 1945, the traditional bias of international law in favour of governments
    and against insurgents came increasingly into question. But it
    proved difficult to arrive at a consensus on whether to change the
    traditional rules and, if so, in what manner. If governments and insurgents
    were to be placed on a par, there were two ways in which this could
    be brought about. One was to place further restrictions on foreign intervention
    by prohibiting foreign countries from assisting either side – i.e., by
    mandating a sort of law of neutrality or recognition of belligerency that
    would be automatically applicable to civil conflicts generally. Within the
    Institute of International Law, there was support for such a total ban on
    intervention in internal conflicts. The Institute eventually endorsed this
    position in 1975, reversing the stance that it had taken in 1900 (which had
    allowed aid to the government side). Many of its members, however,
    resisted the change, contending that there was no support in state practice
    for it.
    The other way of eliminating the bias in favour of governments was to
    remove all restrictions on foreign intervention by allowing foreign
    countries to assist either the insurgents or the government, at their
    option. Certainly, when Cold-War considerations were at stake, the
    major powers sometimes showed little hesitation in supporting rebellions
    against governments. The Soviet Union, for example, supported
    insurgents against the Greek government in the 1940s, and against the
    South Vietnamese government from 1954 to 1975. In 1954, the United
    States provided assistance to insurgents in the overthrow of a left-wing
    government in Guatemala which was thought to be unduly sympathetic
    to Communism. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was further American
    backing for rebel forces in Angola, Afghanistan and Nicaragua, with
    various degrees of openness. In the 1980s, the United States even produced
    a more or less explicit position, known as the Reagan Doctrine
    (after President Ronald Reagan), to the effect that assistance to insurgent
    groups was permissible if the government that they were fighting
    against was of a Marxist-Leninist character. There was a distinct whiff
    of classical just-war thinking in this stance: holding that the rights of
    parties in an armed conflict were a function of the underlying justice of
    the cause for which they fought.
    In addition to Cold-War considerations, the humanitarian revolution
    provided support for allowing foreign assistance to insurgents, in appropriate
    circumstances. Specifically, it was contended by some that it
    should be lawful for foreign states to assist rebels who fought for the
    recognition and exercise of legally recognised fundamental human
    rights. Some went even further and contended that, in situations of
    gross violations of human rights by governments, foreign states were
    permitted to intervene directly with armed force to compel a change of
    policy (usually meaning, at the same time, forcing a change of government).
    It has been observed that there was at least some precedent for
    this doctrine of humanitarian intervention in the nineteenth century.
    Some lawyers maintained that it continued to be permitted after 1945.
    State practice in this area was highly equivocal (to put it mildly); but
    there were several cases of intervention which had at least a substantial
    human-rights component, even if other interests were present as well.
    Examples included the Indian intervention in Pakistan in 1971–2, in the
    face of large-scale abuses of human rights in East Bengal – an operation
    that led to the creation of the new state of Bangladesh. In 1979, Tanzania
    overthrew the notoriously brutal regime of Idi Amin in neighbouring
    Uganda. The best example of a humanitarian intervention to protect a
    civilian population against repression by its own government occurred
    in 1999, when a coalition of Western powers – in a manner distinctly
    reminiscent of the Concert of Europe actions in the nineteenth century –
    mounted an aerial-warfare campaign against the Federal Republic of
    Yugoslavia, to force it to halt atrocities in the province of Kosovo.
    Judicial bodies, however, declined to endorse any of these proposed
    changes. Most notably, the World Court, in its judgment in the case of
    Nicaragua v. United States in 1986, expressly reiterated the principle that
    intervention in civil strife was allowable at the request of the government.
    At the same time, the Court held there to be no general right of
    intervention on behalf of insurgent groups in foreign states. The
    Reagan Doctrine in particular was effectively (if only implicitly)
    rejected. ‘The Court cannot contemplate’, it pronounced, ‘the creation
    of a new rule opening up a right of intervention by one State against
    another on the ground that the latter has opted for some particular
    ideology or political system’. At the same time, the Court carefully
    declined to provide any encouragement to supporters of humanitarian
    intervention, although it held back from making a definitive general
    pronouncement on the question. The question of the lawfulness of
    humanitarian intervention therefore remained tantalisingly unresolved
    by the early twenty-first century, with every prospect of continuing to be
    well-nigh the most controversial issue in the whole of international law.

    WAR AND THE LAW OF NAT IONS

    Stephen C. Neff 2005


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