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Rubio on Syria and Obama’s lack of leadership

New Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been getting a lot of attention since he took office.   He has a piece in Foreign Policy magazine on line arguing that the US has an obligation to at least react to the massacres in Syria in a strong way.  He outlines precisely what President Obama should do:

U.S. President Barack Obama needs to make clear whose side America is on, back up our rhetoric with action, and clearly articulate why Syria matters to the United States.

Wow – he means actually lead for a change.  Rubio says at a minimum, this should happen:

Clearly, we should be on the side of the Syrian people longing for freedom and challenging the regime’s corrupt and repressive rule. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s hesitancy to weigh in has been mistaken for indecision at best and indifference at worst. The president needs to speak directly to the Syrian people to communicate American support for their legitimate demands, condemn Assad’s murderous campaign against innocent civilians, and sternly warn Assad and his cohorts that they cannot continue grossly violating human rights, supporting terrorism, and sowing instability among Syria’s neighbors.

Of course none of it, to this point, has.  Libya, yeah, easy pickin’s, (or so it was thought), but Syria, well, that’s the land of the “reformer”, Assad and they have heavy ties with Iran (another country about which Obama was essentially silent).

Rubio also says even more stern action should happen as well:

But his words must be backed by clear, firm actions. As ill-advised as it was to restore diplomatic relations with Syria by sending an American ambassador to Damascus last year, we should now sever ties and recall the ambassador at once. While Syria is already under heavy U.S. sanctions as a designated state sponsor of terror, we should expand sanctions to include persons identified as authorizing, planning, or participating in deplorable human rights violations against unarmed civilians. Our partners in Europe, Turkey, and the Arab Gulf share many of our interests in Syria and play a large role in that country, and the president must put the full diplomatic weight of the United States behind an effort to convince them to adopt meaningful economic and diplomatic sanctions targeting Assad and his enablers in the regime.

America has an obligation to weigh in strongly about the situation in Syria. For years, its regime has aided the terrorist operations of Hezbollah and Hamas, supported Iran’s destabilizing policies, and helped terrorists kill Americans in Iraq. The regime has not only destabilized the region but also directly acted against the national security interests of the United States. We simply cannot sit silently as innocent people peacefully challenge a regime committed to undermining the United States and its allies.

Notice that Rubio hasn’t rattled a single sabre.  He’s talking about very basic first diplomatic steps – both words and action – which don’t involve military action.  Side with the oppressed, condemn the regime’s actions, withdraw the ambassador, impose sanctions, etc.   It is a regime that supports terrorists and terrorism.  How hard is this?

Apparently pretty hard when your modus operandi is to “lead from behind”.  This must be the part of that “open hand” Obama claimed he was going to offer regimes like Syria.  That’s working out well, isn’t it?

In two short years, foreign policy has gone from bad to worse – despite all the promises of how it would be so much better under the Obama administration.  Another example of talking the talk, but not being able to walk the walk.

~McQ

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22 Responses to Rubio on Syria and Obama’s lack of leadership

  • Are we sure that is “lead from behind”, and not “lead as a behind”…???
    I mean, either works…
    There’s an old joke in Texas that applies to “leading from behind”.  It involves pushing a chain down the road.
    I like Rubio.  He will be interesting to watch.

  • …sternly warn Assad and his cohorts that they cannot continue grossly violating human rights, supporting terrorism, and sowing instability among Syria’s neighbors.

    Or else what? We’ll invade?
    We don’t have a lot of credible options right now in terms of enforcing this stuff, and Assad knows that.

    • But, IMNHO, you SAY it, rather than sucking your teeth.  Ambiguity is a killer in foreign relations and national security.

      • It’s an easy win for Rubio, even though he knows there’s no way we invade.  But Baracky set himself up for it oh so beautifully

  • To the extent that Syria is a problem for Captain Bullsh*t (and MiniTru will do everything to ensure that it ISN’T), it is one of his own making: he blathered and yapped about R2P and our unique capability and humanitarianism and all that crap with regard to Libya, in effect making a US policy that we wouldn’t stand for bloody suppression of dissidents around the world.  Had he kept his damned mouth shut and done what previous presidents have done (ignore it and hope it goes away), he wouldn’t have this problem.

    Hell, had he squashed Godaffy, he might not have the problem because it’s reasonable to assume that Assad would tread at least a little more lightly lest he also get an express delivery from the USAF.

    But he fouled up: he talked big and did nothing.  So, he looks like a weak hypocrite.  Who’s afraid of that?

    • This is just the latest. Even domestic policy shows his weakness, and as we now know (i.e., the Soviets watching how Reagan handled the air traffic controller’s strike), the world watches that.

      Consider Obama giving Congress the ultimatum to have health care hammered out BEFORE summer recess. It was more like 6 months later when it was all worked out. Yet there was no consequence, none. I’m not much of a leader, but I understand that leaders have to follow through, or else everyone will realize they are phonies who can’t lead.

  • So, he looks like a weak hypocrite.  Who’s afraid of that?

    The USA…???  From where I sit, things get more dangerous all the time.

    • My dad used to tell me about a reporter seized in (IIRC) Argentina. The reporter eventually got word to the US (throught the Brit embassy, the story went, because the US embassy did nothing), and Teddy sent a battleship.

      The Argentine’s were given 24 ours to get the reporter on the deck of the warship, or else the shelling would commence. They got him there safely.

      Not sure if it is true. But it is something my dad told me several times as a kid . . .

  • I don’t pay attention to the MSM any more as they enrage me, but I assumed we had already taken those steps.
    That is pathetic that we have not done so.
    Also, a note on Libya and Syria. In Libya the protesters quickly became armed, and the conflict broke into civil war. I am not sure if Gaddafi started it, or not, but at least he is fighting armed opposition. In Syria, they’re just shooting unarmed people.
     

  • “they’re just shooting unarmed people.”

    They’re following the UN R2P process really.
    Let me lay that out at a high level -
    A Right to Protect implies a Right to Kill (R2K).  Obviously you kill the people who are trying to kill the people you have a R2P.
    Syria is just exercising the UN approved R2K in UN style, that is, they’re attacking people who can’t effectively defend themselves from attack, and those people might try and destroy the government they are trying to protect.

    The shooting of unarmed people is a corollary of the Right To Protect – you see, as UN implementation of R2P demonstrates, you only have a right to protect people from people who really can’t strike back effectively, that’s why we have a Right to Protect Libyans, but we don’t have a Right to Protect Syrians.

    Therefore, we can kill Libyans who attack civilians, because we’re pretty sure we can kick the crap out of them fast.  Whereas we can’t attack Syrians, because THEY might put up a fight.
    The Syrians are pretty sure they can kick the crap out of unarmed civilians really fast, as the UN planned to do to Q-daffy.

    It’s all very UN.  If it exposes R2P as the typical selectively enforced UN posturing bluff that it is, oh well.

  • I think I know why they call it a ‘right’ to protect. Excercising a right is not mandatory, you can pick and choose when you wish to excercise it. Now if it was a ‘duty’ to protect, that would be a little different. I guess O actually learned something at law school after all.

    • Excellent point about “right” to protect.  It’s crap, and the events in Syria are exposing it as such.

      I wonder if anybody will ask Ban-ki Moon (sp?) about that.  Somehow, I doubt it.

  • Let’s not forget that Syria’s appointment to the UN Human Rights Council will be approved by the General Assembly next week. That’s the same body that the administration decided to re-join post Jan 2009.

  • Are we sure that is “lead from behind”, and not “lead as a behind”…???
    I mean, either works…
    There’s an old joke in Texas that applies to “leading from behind”.  It involves pushing a chain down the road.
    I like Rubio.  He will be interesting to watch.

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