Former members of the Obama administration are forever trying to convince America that their performance was exemplary. It was not as measured by almost any standard. Susan Rice, the ex-president’s National Security Advisor and United Nations Ambassador, orchestrated the latest effort by Obama groupies.
It’s no wonder that Obama had such poor results in the Middle East with advisors like Rice. For some reason she decided to give her take on recent events in a New York Times op-ed titled “A Way Forward in Syria.”
For the most part, the recommendations made are non-starters.
The most stunning fact is that Obama’s reticence, or inclination not to engage Syria after Assad attacked his countrymen with poison gas, is the principal reason why the situation is now so dire.
You know the story. Obama drew a line in the sand and did nothing to back up his threats. This emboldened Assad to solicit the support of our enemies, and then he continued to wreak havoc on millions of his people.
At the time Assad was not being propped up by Russia and Iran, and now it is, making the situation exponentially more explosive. Obama passed up an opportunity to take out Assad, and now that option is really not available without escalating the conflict.
Here are the important items in Rice’s “way forward.”
America should maintain its current level of troops in Syria “to defeat Islamic State and Qaeda elements.” The current number of troop (about 2,000) and their current engagement with the enemy (limited) will only have a negligible impact on the remaining radical forces still at large. The coordination between Syrian soldiers and US troops is sketchy, and it’s hard to believe that they are working in unison to rid the country of these radical groups. It’s America’s support of rebels and Syrian Kurds that really matters. These fighters are doing most of the dirty work.
Rice suggested, Washington must help secure, rebuild and establish effective local governance in liberated areas. Nation building is difficult when the exiting federal government is cooperating, consider Iraq and Afghanistan. To throw money at local leaders to build new local governments is laughable thought when Assad is attacking them and Iran is encouraging more violence.
The US should not try to depose Assad. It would be difficult to dethrone the leader with force while Russia and Iran are protecting him. Also it would be impossible to apply the necessary firepower to defeat federal forces without also killing Russians and Iranians.
The US should make the occupation of Syria by Russia and Iran an expensive proposition. Arming and rearming the rebels will eventually stretch the financial limits of Russia and Iran. The resulting quagmire would force both to abandon Syria, which would be the beginning of the end for Assad. It also may encourage radical elements to fill the void, unfortunately.
The US must sustain its generous humanitarian assistance to Syrians. Why does every global crisis cost American taxpayers more money? Other than arming the rebels why should the US spend money to rebuild anything?
Regarding true humanitarian expenditures, why would Assad allow this to occur while he is trying to kill all the people who would benefit by aid?
Rice calls for more immigration of Syrians to the US. Refusing refugee requests by Syrians is the wiser policy for the US. Massive immigration of un-vetted individuals guarantees more expenditures by the US and increased social discord when the immigrants arrive. Where will these people settle? Who is willing to accept them? Americans will not be receptive to a potentially unstable group.
The US should pursue a negotiated settlement. With whom should the US negotiate? Assad? Russians? Iranians? Kurds? Turks? Will any of these groups accept US standing in this matter? Will our sage counsel sway any of these individuals?
President Trump has the correct strategy. Punish Assad and the Syrian government every time a weapon of mass destruction is used. Keep our soldiers safe and out of direct contact with hostiles. Better still bring them home. It’s time that America recognizes that it cannot make peace everywhere. And it’s difficult to make peace when no one really wants it.