President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said Thursday, despite a stinging rejection of such action by America’s stalwart ally Britain and mounting questions from Congress.WaPo:
The Obama administration’s plan to launch a military strike against Syria is being received with serious reservations by many in the U.S. military, which is coping with the scars of two lengthy wars and a rapidly contracting budget, according to current and former officers.NY Times:
The stunning parliamentary defeat on Thursday for Prime Minister David Cameron that led him to rule out British military participation in any strike on Syria reflected British fears of rushing to act against Damascus without certain evidence.Polling on Syria can be found here.
More politics and policy below the fold.
“It has become clear over the last year that the upheavals in the Islamic and Arab world have become a clash within a civilization rather than a clash between civilizations,” Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote recently. “The Sunni versus Alawite civil war in Syria is increasingly interacting with the Sunni versus Shiite tensions in the Gulf that are edging Iraq back toward civil war. They also interact with the Sunni-Shiite, Maronite and other confessional struggles in Lebanon.”Doubts across the spectrum. But the usual players at the Washington Post can always be counted on, like David Ignatius:
Some experts even say that we are seeing the emergence of a single big conflict that could be part of a generation-long devolution, which could end up toppling regimes and redrawing the national borders that were established after World War I. The forces ripping people into polarized groups seem stronger than the forces bringing them together.
Obama needs to calibrate his military strike in Syria with two other regional players in mind: Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Iranians surely have read Obama’s caution (correctly) as a sign that he wants to avoid another war in the Middle East. Unfortunately, history tells us that an ambitious, revolutionary nation such as Iran makes compromises only under duress. U.S. action against Assad may not deter the Iranians, but it will at least make them think twice about crossing Obama’s “red line” against their acquiring nuclear weapons.In other news:
Among Egyptian generals, Saudi princes, Israeli politicians and other conservative players in the Middle East, the consensus seems to be that Obama is a weak president — and that they need to rely on themselves for security. Obama won’t change that opinion by authorizing a retaliatory strike against Syria. But if he moves sensibly, in coordination with allies, he will at least remind people that U.S. military power is not to be taken lightly.
NY Times editorial:
As a measure of the gun culture’s dangerous sway over statehouse politicians, it is hard to top the pending proposal in Missouri that would pronounce all federal gun safety laws null and void in the state and allow the arrest of federal agents who try to enforce them.LA Times:
More states likely to change pot rules, both sides say
The Justice Department announces it will not interfere with the enforcement of pot measures in Washington and Colorado, a step many see as opening a door.