As I watched the President’s speech this evening I was pleased by both his passion for maintaining fundamental norms of human behavior and his willingness to seek a diplomatic solution to the current Syrian crisis. He left no doubt as to who was responsible for the horrific events in Syria. Yet, at the same time, he discussed a rational and logical solution from a position of military strength. I finally understood the fundamental difference between a progressive approach to foreign policy and that of the neocons.
It became clear to me that the neocons see diplomacy and all of its institutions as a method of moving toward armed conflict. They simply view diplomacy as a means to an end. During the George W. Bush administration the UN and the building of international consensus through diplomacy was the vehicle through which they were able to develop support to invade Iraq. The desire to invade Iraq was a forgone conclusion, as is evident in the many documents disclosed in recent years. They merely utilized the methods and institutions of diplomacy to garner the support to achieve that goal. There was never a desire to achieve a diplomatic solution.
The progressive attitude towards the utilization of military force is quite different. The potential for the use of force must be credible, but only used when the potential for a diplomatic solution is no longer viable. The goal from the progressive perspective is to avoid military conflict, not create a groundswell of support for it by using diplomatic institutions. The progressives see diplomatic solutions as the preferred end.
It is ironic to see the very people who supported our march to Iraq with blind loyalty, and no concern about the cost or an exit strategy, are the very voices that are loudest voicing those concerns today. Yet, the neocons are true to form and are only unhappy that the President is not calling for regime change. It seems that there simply isn’t a war that they don’t love.
While I believe that Assad can not be allowed to step away from responsibility for gassing almost 1500 of his own people, nearly 400 of them children, I prefer a diplomatic solution that will avoid placing our allies in harm’s way, while diminishing the potential for a repeat performance. I also hope that there will develop a loud outcry from around the world about the abhorrent behavior of Assad. Today’s potential for a diplomatic solution would not have been possible without the credible potential use of force. But, if all else fails, I support the President’s right, with or without congressional approval to remove this danger from civilized society. We cannot allow it to happen again.
- How Bashar al-Assad’s Gamble Has Payed Off (kennedylive.wordpress.com)
- Obama Calls For A Delay In Syria Vote To Let Diplomacy Work (lezgetreal.com)
- Former Iraq Weapons Inspector Hails Diplomacy on Syria (world.time.com)
- Obama blends threat of attack, hope of diplomacy in Syria address (wvgazette.com)
- Obama befriends diplomacy in Syria (rediff.com)
- The Ghosts Of Iraq Haunt Syria (dish.andrewsullivan.com)