Many who support President Obama’s desire to punish Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons believe that America’s and the president’s credibility is on the line.
We cannot, they argue, make it appear that words uttered by the President of the United States are nothing but empty rhetoric. Our president must be good to his word.
Which word would that be? They have been thinking of the threat Obama uttered in his famous “red line” remarks during a news conference a year or so ago. He said:
We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized….
Yesterday, to the chagrin of his supporters, President Obama took it all back. He denied that he ever said it. Apparently, he was trying to show the world how not to lead.
In his words:
First of all, I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98% of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war.
Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that—in a piece of legislation titled the Syria Accountability Act—that some of the horrendous things that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for.
Point number two, my credibility is not on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line. And America and Congress's credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important
Providing leadership, taking responsibility… these concepts are alien to the Obama mindset.
Accepting that he is President of the United States, knowing that his words have consequences… these concepts are also foreign to our president.
Perhaps Obama sees himself as president of the world. At the least, he has no notion of America’s national interest.
[For a full analysis of Obama’s rhetoric, see Jean Kaufman’s article on PJ Media.]
When it comes to the world, however, only the French have signed up for the mission.
Apparently, world leaders have taken the measure of our president and have decided not to risk their own prestige and credibility on his inconstant leadership.
Give Obama credit for one thing. He has mastered the art of denial.
There are three ways to deny:
1. I never said it.
2. If I said it, I didn’t mean it.
3. If I meant it, I didn’t know what I was saying.