Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

  • HOME
  • Speaking Out
  • 【#210】Obama Administration Half-Hearted about Attack on Syria
Tadae Takubo

【#210】Obama Administration Half-Hearted about Attack on Syria

Tadae Takubo / 2013.09.05 (Thu)

September 2, 2013

        Why has Syria used chemical weapons even at risk of making an enemy of the rest of the world? While the question is still left to be answered, U.S. President Barack Obama may decide to attack Syria as a result of due investigations.
        But neither Britain, which in tandem with the United States attacked Iraq in 2003, nor the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will participate in the Obama-planned raid on Syria. Even in France that has pledged to join hands with the United States this time, citizens are dominantly opposed to the planned attack. President Obama has explained that the attack would be limited and end within a short period of time, imposing self-restraints on the attack. Democrat Obama who had criticized then U.S. Republican President George W. Bush's attack on Iraq as representing unilateralism, is now poised to implement his version of half-hearted unilateralism.

Lack of specific objectives
        In 1999, then Democratic President Bill Clinton employed U.S. forces as the core of NATO forces to widely strike Kosovo. The raid lasted for 75 days, leading Serbian forces to withdraw from Kosovo. Kosovo restored its autonomy and has become independent. NATO achieved its objective of humanitarian intervention.
        In contrast, the Obama administration has no specific objective regarding the planned Syrian strike. If Syria's present Assad regime is overthrown, radical Muslims including al-Qaeda terrorists may take government. What would happen to the world if weapons of mass destruction are handed over to international terrorists amid such development?
        Even if the United States implements a strike on Syria, chemical weapons in Syria can not be eliminated completely. There also is no guarantee that the strike will not inflict collateral damage on civilians. Therefore, the objective of the planned attack may be nothing more than a punitive strike which may lead Syria to pledge not to use such dangerous weapons again. President Obama should know well that the Syrian strike would end up as a halfway attack.

A limited range of advisers for Obama
        In August last year, Obama published a plan for the United States to act when the Syrian regime crosses a "red line" by moving weapons of mass destruction. In June when Syrian government forces' employment of sarin as a chemical weapon was unveiled, Obama reluctantly decided to provide small firearms and ammunition to Syrian rebels. As sarin was confirmed as having been used this time, Obama had no choice but to act.
        The Obama administration has traditionally been liberal, while American citizens are inward-looking. As massive budget deficits affect defense spending, the range of advisers for President Obama is limited, including First Lady Michelle Obama, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett. Where are they trying to lead the United States?

Tadae Takubo is Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.