Russia: The Great Peacemaker?
Tonight Barack Obama will address the nation on the showdown in Syria. We are told by Jay Carney that Obama will continue his push to convince the American people to support an “unbelievably small” strike. But over the last 24 hours, the landscape has changed. In a press conference yesterday in London, John Kerry opined how it would be nice if Syria would hand over its chemical weapons to the international community, but “he isn't about to do it and it can't be done. Obviously.” Well obviously Kerry was wrong. The Russians called his bluff and guess what? The Syrians have now accepted the Russian's proposal to put its chemical weapons stockpile under international control. France is drafting a U.N. resolution embracing this idea for Syria to give up its chemical weapons. According to Reuters, “Syria would have to put its stockpiles of chemical arms under international control and face 'extremely serious' consequences if it violated the conditions. ”So now we have the Russians acting on a diplomatic resolution to rid Assad of these horrible weapons, leaving the Obama administration scrambling and bewildered. They are trying desperately now to spin Kerry's off-the-cuff remark as being the plan all along. But if that's the case, why did the administration spend much of yesterday trying to explain away Kerry's remark as hypothetical? But now that Russia has seized control of the idea, the Obama administration is trying to take credit for it. Some pundits have accurately described this as “accidental foreign policy.” It's not even leading from behind, it's fumbling and feckless.
The Spin Cycle
All of this makes me ask the question, what, if anything, could Obama say tonight to possibly convince us to get involved in Syria? Unless real, credible evidence is presented that U.S. national interests are at stake, then Obama's effort will likely be wasted on millions of Americans who are not interested in getting involved in a civil war in the Middle East. The latest polling released yesterday from Fox News finds: “Disapproval of Obama’s handling of Syria has jumped to 60 percent, up from 40 percent in May. And more voters describe him as a “weak and indecisive leader” on foreign policy (48 percent) than a “strong and decisive leader” (42 percent). Overall, 40 percent approve of the job Obama’s doing as president, while a record-high 54 percent disapprove.” This now calls into question Obama's potency as a world leader and as a domestic legislative force. Another Fox News poll finds that 48% of Americans believe that the United States is less respected around the world today than it was five years ago. That's up ten points since last year. Also a new CNN/ORC International survey finds that Obama's approval rating on foreign policy is at an all-time low of just 40%. Only 30% approve of his handling of Syria.
There is no doubt that Syria has dominated the headlines for the better part of a few weeks. This is for good reason – It's not every day that our president launches a full-court PR press advocating for military strikes against a nation that poses no imminent threat to our national security. But before we know it, the month of September will end and this means two very important things: A continuing resolution to fund the government must pass by September 30th and the ObamaCare exchanges go into effect on October 1st. There is news today on the push to defund ObamaCare. Virtually every Republican in Washington today ran on the idea of getting rid of ObamaCare. Now that they are presented with a credible plan to do so, they shy away. This isn't what we sent these people to Washington to do and I'm glad that Tea Partiers are willing to call them out on this. A handful of lawmakers in Washington are willing to fight this battle. Those attending today's rally included Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, Congressmen Paul Broun, Steve King and Louie Gohmert. Conservative blogger Erick Erickson explains the House GOP's latest move to defund ObamaCare … but not really. He explains that Eric Cantor intends to pass two continuing resolutions: One that defunds ObamaCare and one that does not. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happens when these are sent to the Senate: The Senate will pass the CR including funding for ObamaCare and leave the other resolution to die. The fact that these Republicans are so afraid to fight on this issue of ObamaCare tells me that they don't have what it takes to stand up for conservative principles in Washington.