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News Opinion

Obama's Middle East policy coherent and effective

Jonah Goldberg's muddled perspective ("Obama's blunder has handed Assad a huge victory," Sept. 18) on the administration's action regarding the Bashar Assad regime's use of chemical weapons is more reflective of his political views than the reality of the situation.

Apparently, because America has not yet taken military action Mr. Goldberg throws up his hands and declares that President Barack Obama is "blundering," has no policy toward Syria and "handed Assad a huge victory." Nonsense. In my view, the administration has pursued a consistent policy in the Middle East that dictators should give way to a more democratic government, that American military intervention on the ground in Middle East civil wars is unwise (although limited air support and arming rebels seeking to overthrow dictators may be warranted), that the prior administration's attempts at "nation building" in America's image by use of military force in the Middle East have not worked, and use of weapons of mass destruction by brutal regimes is unacceptable.

This policy has proven successful in Libya and Egypt, has led to ending American occupation of Iraq, and has forged an agreement with Russia to end President Assad's use of chemical weapons to kill combatants, women and children in Syria's civil war. Mr. Goldberg's notion that the administration's use of diplomacy and threat of limited air strikes (to degrade Syria's chemical stockpile) to effectuate this policy makes President Assad our "partner" and a credible member of the international community further ignores our continued efforts short of deeper military involvement to "get rid" of Mr. Assad.

Beyond merely criticizing President Obama, Mr. Goldberg fails to state what his policy would be and conveniently ignores that others on the right are very divided on whether America should engage in deeper involvement in Syria. I, for one, am pleased to see that American pressure (diplomacy and threat of force) and willingness to work with Russia has, perhaps, produced a better outcome without loss of American lives and resources, an improvement over the prior administration's all-too-quick resort to use of military might to break things without a coherent plan to deal with the aftermath.

James Crawford, Pasadena

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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