President Obama’s Shrewd Move

*Posted by Joe Wooddell

Wow! I never saw it coming. I wondered how he was going to get out of it. Obama put himself between a rock and a hard place: he drew a “red line” in the Middle Eastern sand, stating in April that if Bashar Al-Asad used chemical weapons it would be a “game changer” in terms of U.S. involvement in Syria. Well, reports are saying that Asad has in fact done so (although this is disputed). But if Obama bombs military targets in Syria it could now also be seen as helping an Al-Qaeda backed group of so-called “rebels,” as well as put Israel and Iran in a more heated situation. What a nightmare. At least Asad left us alone over here in the West. Al-Qaeda’s goal seems to be to take over the world and institute Sharia law everywhere! (For some helpful info regarding Al-Qaeda see here, and for information regarding the Hamas Charter see here.)

What does Obama intend to do? He announced Saturday that, after “careful deliberation,” he would seek Congressional approval to engage Syria militarily, targeting “Syrian regime targets.” He stated that such engagement would not be “open ended,” that there would be “no boots on the ground,” that any operations would be “limited in duration and scope,” and that the aim would be to “hold the Asad regime accountable for using chemical weapons.”

Obama hopes such action will “deter this type of behavior” and “degrade” their “capacity to carry out chemical attacks.” Obama said that while he felt all of this was important, he also realized that he is “President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy,” that U.S. power is “rooted not just in military might but in our example of being a government of, by, and for the people.” Therefore, he would “seek authorization for the use of force,” recognizing that “Congress wants to be heard,” to which Obama declared, “I absolutely agree.”

This is an interesting move since Obama felt no need earlier in his presidency to gain congressional approval before using force in places like Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. (Please, before responding with, “Bush did the same thing!” we’re not talking about Bush right now; he’s been out of office for almost five years.) And don’t forget that the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), though passed by a strict partisan vote in Congress (despite a majority opposition among Americans) and upheld by a favorable Supreme Court ruling, has been questioned by many scholars and average Americans as unconstitutional, and by economists as not only impractical but destructive.

Apparently, however, Obama is now willing to respect the republic’s Constitution, realizing that according to the founding document, Congress alone has the power to declare war (Art. 1, Sec. 8). Given his past behavior, though, my own view is that it’s a brilliant (perhaps “shrewd” is a better description) political maneuver allowing him to save face and put the responsibility on someone else at the same time.

However, my personal prayer is that at the same time God will direct our politicians to do what is best for the country, even if the politicians don’t do it for the right reasons. This latest move by Obama might prove to be just that: a God-send. Perhaps it will set a precedent for himself, as well as for future Presidents, to take the Constitution seriously in subsequent actions, military or otherwise. This is the best-case scenario. If not, I can’t see how we are any worse off than before.

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One Response to President Obama’s Shrewd Move

  1. David Niederkorn says:

    Excellent analysis Joe. Few are aware–or are willing to discuss–that the Syrian rebellion has been hijacked by extreme Islamists, despite–perhaps–legitimate initial rebellion by true locals. There seems–on my view–to be no supportable side here. But, as for the President, he indeed has played a most shrewd move by punting to Congress.

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