Waiting for Obama - particularly painful for Turkey
Well played. This would be the only thing that can be said for the diplomatic game conducted both in domestic and international politics by the U.S. president for his upcoming meaningless war on Syria. Putting the strong anti-U.S. sentiment aside, despite the Herculean difficulties of doing so, Barack Obama, an American president who took power with a peace-themed campaign but who is now preparing for his second calamitous war after Libya, pursued a well-played turn regarding his decision to attack Syria.
Haunted by his predecessor George W. Bush’s ridiculously poor decisions for not even for one but two wars and the following failures based on farcical intelligence, Obama has been trying to drag the whole American public via its representatives into giving the go-ahead for an operation in Syria. With his move to pass the responsibility for the bloodshed into the hands of Congress, the U.S. president is looking to net some legitimacy for a war that even he does not believe in.
Waiting for a blessing from Congress, despite having the authority to hit the button for a war, is something that Obama is also counting on, like his now-alienated British ally, David Cameron, after his failure to get the approval of the House of Commons for the Syrian war. Amid the high-running skepticism about embarking upon a new war with Syria in both political and military circles (even the conservative Tea Party and liberal progressive minorities have been united in opposition), Obama is hoping for a “No,” so he will be able to tell his war-mongering allies that he is bound to his people’s will. Going to war despite popular opposition would be the very same sin committed by the “dictator” in Damascus.
This is the play staged for the American public, as well as the would-be domestic challengers to the U.S. president. The second act is to stall the allies vigorously calling for a war. Let’s move on to that.
While pretending that he is troubled by his responsibilities to the American public for support in a war against a “villain” killing his own people, Obama is in fact engaging in a tactic turning international balances upside-down by making the war-mongering chorus wait for his next move, instead of him waiting for their aid for his call to war. So, the anti-Syria camp, which has seen a decrease in support for the Syrian war, is hopelessly awaiting attack orders from the U.S. president.
Speaking of a decrease in support for a pointless battle in Syria, the desperate wait is particularly painful for Turkey and its senior officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, since they all see losing more time against the Syrian “dictator” as a setback, or even an insult, in their aggressive domestic and neo-Ottomanist regional policies. Even while the main Western supporters of war have been keeping a low-profile over diving into a conflict amid the reluctance of the United Nations, Turkish officials have been bold enough to publicly lobby for a battle, as if they are blinded to a potential backlash from Syria.
The only reasonable explanation for Turkey’s high spirit for a war would be that it has already been pulled into the Syrian quagmire and has long been suffering from the spillover. However, this is not the conclusion Turkish officials would agree on despite the growing reports of casualties in the south and southeast of Turkey.
Finally, not everyone is in a Godotian wait for Obama. Russia, one of the few backers of the “evil” in Damascus, is also involved in a well-played diplomatic game against the United States for the Syrian war. Reaching his peak during the G-20 summit at home in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a clear platform for the world to see that supporters of a war are few in number. The opposition of the Russian-led camp has put more skepticism into the minds of those reluctant for a war, representing a diplomatic victory.
But scoring goals on the table does not necessarily mean an actual win and with still-fresh experiences in the past, Russia’s political and diplomatic defiance and resistance will not stop Obama once he decides, or is actually forced to decide, to go to war. Having been dealt heavy blows particularly in the wars in Iraq and Libya, Russia has higher stakes in Syria to lose, and thus would offer an on-the-ground game-changer as a bet.
No matter what the cost is, the wait for Obama will eventually end with a futile war under the old motto of a “dictator” killing his own people. Perhaps, there will be no U.S. boots on the ground, but has modern history ever witnessed any leader who did not have the blood of his own people on his hands?
That’s the very basic point for those who still believe the war is all about the innocents in Syria and their “dictator.”