On the Perils of Imperialism

Ahmed, Hisham H.
Date Written:  2013-11-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2013
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20281

Barak Obama's September 10, 2013 address, originally meant to mobilize Congress in support of an authorization for using military force against Syria, turned into a "life-saving" speech for Obama avoiding embarrassment and political defeat.



In his contradictory and not so impressive 2013 September 10 address, Obama deepened the state of public confusion. On one hand, he said that launching a "targeted military strike" against the Syrian regime would be motivated by his determination to protect the national security of the United States. On the other hand, he pointed out that the Syrian regime does not possess the capability to pose a credible threat to the United States.

In fact, this is in part why a strike on Syria is fraught with many dangers, risks and in fact threats to American interests. First, such an attack does not enjoy the support of the U.S. public, according to many opinion polls and surveys, and no wonder. For most people, the ghosts of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the deceptions involved particularly in the case of Iraq, still live — wars that have brought more economic, human and political problems than the promised security.

In addition, people are understandably fearful that despite all assurances to the contrary, nobody can guarantee that an attack on Syria would not take the United States onto a slippery path of uncertainty and perhaps calamity. For the ordinary American who bore the brunt of a worsening economy while witnessing spending on warfare consume some $4 trillion, addressing underlying domestic problems like education, health care and unemployment is more of a priority.

Secondly, the contemplated strike did not enjoy the support of Congress. Perhaps it is unusual for a crisis to so greatly cross normal partisan lines: Some of Obama’s ardent supporters of a strike are Republican, like John McCain, while some of the most ardent opponents are Republican as well. The same could be said about members of Obama's own party.

Third, even some of the most loyal U.S. allies, like Britain, do not support the idea of a military strike as the vote in the British House of Commons, repudiating Prime Minister Cameron, showed. Only the French president stated that France would participate in military action.

Finally, international public opinion as well as the UN Security Council were clearly not in support of military strikes on Syria.

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