It looks to this admittedly less than well-informed and maybe even less interested observer that our president is again showing his lack of foreign policy experience in the Syrian situation.
If the Syrian government has used poison gas against its own people, in violation of all international treaties and accords concerning warfare, there should be an outcry from all civilized governments.
The British and some others in Europe seem to be quietly trying to broker a diplomatic end to such brutality. The Russians, who appear to be the Syrian government's main arms supplier, may be working very quietly behind the scenes to do the same. Obama, on the other hand, on reports of the atrocity, leaped immediately to the conclusion that the only way to stop these actions was to initiate missal strikes against Syria. This looks to me to have been done without consultation with our allies in Europe or those who might be even a bit friendly toward the U.S. in the Middle East. In international relations, this was a major faux pas.
During the recent conference with the major world powers, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Obama a bit of an icy reception, which does not bode well for that mutual relationship in the near future when it comes to diplomatic or economic relations. During the conference someone convinced Obama that diplomacy should be primary way to go in Syria while holding a military strategy in abeyance until that becomes the only viable alternative.
I'm not sure who, or how many advisers, the president listens to when dealing with international affairs, but someone should have talked him down from his initial call for military action in response to what initially were unsubstantiated reports of the use of the chemical weapons. Similar thinking is what led the U.S., under the leadership of George W. Bush, to attack Iraq when unsubstantiated reports of weapons of mass destruction being stockpiled there first came to light and after a U.N. investigation in the area didn't find evidence of such weaponry. We're still trying to extricate ourselves from that area.
The U.S. was once, and really quite recently, considered to be the policeman for the world, with our military might being accepted in most places around the globe. This is not the case any longer, however, and more and more countries are becoming irritated at our inserting our version of how things should be into their internal squabbles. Call me a neo-isolationist, but I am one who believes that we should stay out of internal conflicts in other countries, especially in the Middle East where religious and other cultural differences make diplomacy very touchy at the least.
We as a nation need to stay out of things around the world unless we are requested by the nation in question, or we are asked to join other nations in a united effort to control a situation. Teddy Roosevelt said to walk softly but carry a big stick. To me, this means to not stir things up more than necessary, but be able to do whatever is necessary when the time comes. We should heed that advice more than ever now.