The president’s Syria speech last night largely rehashed arguments he’s been making for weeks—laden with emotional imagery, incoherent red-lines, and chalk full of sophisticated-sounding contradictions. He built a moral, and at times compelling, case for military action, before declaring a policy of . . . wait and see. Out with the Russian Reset Button, in with the Russian Pause Button. It was a crescendo to a nothing burger. This is of course not the first time he’s done this, even in the past week. He told us it was imperative that America act, before punting the decision to Congress—and then losing the high-stakes public debate.
For those of us who believe America’s word should mean something—and therefore Assad should face some military consequence for crossing a declared (if foolish) “red line”—the president’s handling of the Syria situation has made this position nearly indefensible. The whole spectacle has left an even more weakened President Obama, and therefore an even weaker United States, on the global stage. And, as history shows us, when America is weak—and does not lead—the world is a more dangerous, and less free, place. Hence why we’re in this position in the first place.