Over the past several years, the Obama administration has presided over, and in some cases contributed to, the deterioration of the Middle East. In Syria, faux red lines, empty rhetoric, and staggering indecisiveness have empowered Bashar al-Assad’s regime to murder hundreds of thousands of its own people with chemical weapons and barrel bombs. Millions more have been forced to flee the country altogether, precipitating a global humanitarian crisis that is threatening the safety and stability of key U.S. allies.
Yesterday, the UN shelved peace talks aimed at ending the civil war in Syria. It represents the latest in a string of failures resulting from President Obama’s weak leadership abroad. This August will mark five years since the president called on Assad to relinquish power. However, to the dismay of opposition forces but satisfaction of Iran and Russia, the administration has recently signaled a potential role for Assad in Syria’s future.
These tensions reached a tipping point in recent weeks, culminating in the collapse of peace efforts in Geneva. Just how bad has it become? See for yourself:
- Obama losing credibility with Syrian opposition leaders
“In the past few days, Secretary of State John Kerry and his aides have flown to Riyadh, engaged in a flurry of phone calls and issued public statements in a bid to persuade opposition leaders to show up for Friday’s talks. But opposition leaders, through their own public statements and leaks to the press, suggested they worry the United States is caving to the demands of Assad’s two main patrons, Russia and Iran.” (POLITICO, 1/27/16)
- The United States botched the Syria talks before they even began
“Success in Geneva is unlikely, however–but not because of opposition intransigence. Rather, the Obama administration itself has increased the odds of failures. Its recent tilt toward Russia’s position on the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad–accepting that he might have a role in a future political transition–has undermined prospects of success, damaged U.S. credibility with the opposition, and further eroded America’s leverage in the Middle East. This shift in U.S. policy has almost certainly made a negotiated settlement in Geneva less likely. Even worse, it could well spur the continued escalation of the Syrian conflict.” (Foreign Policy, 2/1/16)
- Mr. Kerry continues to lecture as Syrians continue to starve to death
“The people of Madaya, a Syrian town besieged by the government, are still starving . . . . Secretary of State John F. Kerry has been denouncing this atrocity in recent days. ‘People are dying; children are suffering not as an accident of war, but as the consequence of an intentional tactic–surrender or starve,’ he said Sunday. ‘And that tactic is directly contrary to the law of the war.’ Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s handling of the Syrian crisis appears to be enabling those very war crimes.” (Washington Post, 2/2/16)
This is the result of a make-it-up-as-you-go foreign policy. It’s what happens when the United States kowtows to Vladimir Putin and the Ayatollah. And it’s why we need a commander-in-chief willing to restore American influence abroad, defeat ISIS, confront radical Islamic terrorism, and do everything necessary to protect our homeland.