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UK and France backing away from Syria strike?

The shaky coalition of Western nations promising to strike Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons is getting even shakier.  In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron is reconsidering:

David Cameron backed down and agreed to delay a military attack on Syria following a growing revolt over the UK’s rushed response to the crisis on Wednesday night.

The Prime Minister has now said he will wait for a report by United Nations weapons inspectors before seeking the approval of MPs for “direct British involvement” in the Syrian intervention.

Oh look … Cameron plans on getting the approval of Parliament before committing British troops to war.

That’s because opposition British politicians apparently play hardball while ours … well they talk and complain a lot:

Senior sources had previously suggested that Britain would take part in strikes as soon as this weekend which meant an emergency recall of Parliament was necessary on Thursday.

However, following Labour threatening not to support the action and senior military figures expressing concerns over the wisdom of the mission, the Prime Minister on Wednesday night agreed to put British involvement on hold.

The climbdown is likely to be seen as an embarrassment for Mr Cameron as he was determined to play a leading role in British military strikes, which had been expected this weekend.

France too is showing signs of waffling:

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that Syria needed a political solution, but that could only happen if the international community could halt killings like last week’s chemical attack and better support the opposition.

Hollande sounded a more cautious note than earlier in the week, when he said France stood ready to punish those behind the apparent poison gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians in Damascus.

He indicated that France was looking to Gulf Arab countries to step up their military support to the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, after Paris said this week it would do so.

Not exactly the saber rattling that was going on a few days ago.  It appears a “political solution” may be code words for “yeah, we’re climbing down too.”

Don’t expect a climbdown here.  At least not anytime soon. Not only has President Obama said he doesn’t need Congress’s approval, he’s also decided he doesn’t need to inform the American people of his decision via a televised Oval Office announcement.  However he would like the cover of a coalition (my, the shadenfreude here is delicious, isn’t it?).

If one had to guess, however, any strike this week would be sans the British and the French.  And that may be enough to delay an American strike (don’t forget, President Obama claims he hasn’t made a decision yet).

Meanwhile in the Med, tensions spiral up as Russia decides to flex a little naval muscle in the area:

Russia will “over the next few days” be sending an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the Mediterranean as the West prepares for possible strikes against Syria, the Interfax news agency said on Thursday.

“The well-known situation shaping up in the eastern Mediterranean called for certain corrections to the make-up of the naval forces,” a source in the Russian General Staff told Interfax.

Interesting.  And, if the strikes don’t happen now, who will claim to have helped call the coalition’s bluff?

As with most things concerning foreign affairs that this administration involves itself, this is turning into a debacle of major proportion.

Stay tuned.

~McQ

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31 Responses to UK and France backing away from Syria strike?

  • U.S. ramps up for invasion of Syria; Medea Benjamin hardest hit
    Yep.  Like I said…even Sen. Obama opposes Pres. Obama…

  • The secret Service was caught wrestling Obama’s Nobel Prize to the ground on the South lawn of the White House.

  • “I have no earthly idea why they’re talking so much,” said retired Admiral William Fallon, the former head of the military’s Central Command. “It’s not leaking out; it’s coming out through a hose. It’s just a complete head-scratcher.”

  • This was really a bad analysis of the situation, based more on your ODS and bias than any understanding of how the foreign policy process works.  The reality is that right now there are no certainties.  President Obama is getting options from the military, and conferring with other world leaders over the best action.  There are also secret discussions going on, probably even with the Syrian military and certainly with the Syrian opposition.   The President isn’t going to telegraph his intent via leaks to the New York Times, though he might plant some disinformation to throw off Syrian planners.
    If you’ve read the reports of how Obama makes decisions, he comes off very good, at least based on what foreign policy decision making theory says is how a President should deal with this (President Bush, on the other hand, did really poor his first term, but improved dramatically as he learned on the job).  Relax, understand that experienced experts are making plans with far more information and knowledge than any of us.   You’re criticizing something that hasn’t even happened, based on parsing a few speeches and speculating about what might happen.  That’s meaningless.

    • You’re criticizing something that hasn’t even happened, based on parsing a few speeches and speculating about what might happen.  That’s meaningless.

      You accidentally said something true.  Taking anything Obama says in a speech is…
      meaningless.

    • Wow. Talk about your Collectivist newspeak…
      >> If the White House takes international law seriously — as the State Department does — it cannot try to have it both ways. It must either argue that an “illegal but legitimate” intervention is better than doing nothing, or assert that international law has changed — strategies that I call “constructive noncompliance.” In the case of Syria, I vote for the latter.
      Since Russia and China won’t help, Mr. Obama and allied leaders should declare that international law has evolved and that they don’t need Security Council approval to intervene in Syria.<<
      From the NYT.
      Of course.  Erp could have written that glop.  If he could write.

    • Good lord, your OMC (Obama Man Crush) is so huge I’m surprised you haven’t left your job and offered to go to the White House and wash his keister every morning in the shower and help him put on his boxers.

      You think a colonel’s job is driving jeeps?   I think McQ is a lot more qualified to prepare a briefing based on the limited info available than you are, you doltish slug.

      Two days ago the leaders of Britain, France and the US were parading up in down in front of their men waving their swords like cartoon stick figures and proclaiming they were going to go teach Assad a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget.   Barry the boy king was all set to mount his hobby horse to lead the charge from behind as he does so well.

      Cooler, military heads, and probably some actual foreign relations experts probably rained on Valerie and Baracks big war adventure parade and now all he’s worried about is what he’s going to do so he doesn’t look the like the foolish inexperienced asshat he is. His decisions don’t EVER come quickly, there’s not a single thing of this type he’s decided within a leader like time frame.   He’s always 3 days behind the leadership curve when he does anything at all.

      Secret Discusssions….Wow, you THINK? there are secret discussions going on?   woo hooo.   You sure are clever!   Telegraph?  Obama, as one military expert said, is not just leaking information, he’s spraying it out with a fire hose, desperately hoping that Assad is going to pee his pants and die from fear.   Tough talking Barry, the guy you see in the bar talking about ass kicking and when it comes down to it, is out the door, leaving his buddies and his coat behind.

      Your entire analysis is crap from the first sentence to the last.  As the joke in the movie goes, we’re all stupider for having even read it.   Boy King Barry mis-read Assad, he mis-read Putin.  They’re not afraid of him.  They’re ruthless in a way that the dirty Chicago politician in the White House couldn’t hope to understand.  They’re both men, and their laughing at the threats of President Mom Pants.

      YOU got exactly what you’ve always wanted, a declining world power led by a man who doesn’t have the first good clue on how to utilize the power we do have.  We’re well on the way to exactly where he’s been taking us, exactly where you’ve always hoped we would be.  Mao’s paper tiger, in the the…paper.  So stuff it, you should be thrilled, this is what you’ve sought.  The result of your favorite President and his atrocious joke policies, you loathsome wretch.

      Here’s a bet that within 24 hours we’re announcing a stand down and a reconsideration of the ‘red line’.  We’re about to tell Assad we’re very very angry, and he’s been very very bad, and if he does it again, well…..he just better not do it again or we sure will be mad.

    • Boom, Britain backs out, vote for war fails.    Based on that, Hollande is next.

      Boy King Barry doesn’t have the stones to go this alone, it’ll be a diplomatic disaster, not to mention a military joke.

    • This was really a bad analysis of the situation, based more on your ODS and bias than any understanding of how the foreign policy process works. At least, I assume it is. I didn’t really read the post, so don’t expect me to respond to any of your so-called points. I already know they are wrong, because Obama is just dreamy, and you ex-military basket cases can’t see it.

      The reality is that right now there are no certainties. Which isn’t either a vapid, meaningless, generic statement to try and sound smart without actually reading your post and responding to it. It’s rich, creamy analysis from someone with both godlike powers of political science and Dalai Lama-powered quantum spirituality. How can you even think of arguing with such a combination?

      President Obama is getting options from the military, and conferring with other world leaders over the best action. While he is definitely not paying much attention to those Republican extremists in Congress, thank goodness. Because he doesn’t have to. Shut up about the Constitution, don’t even start. You guys are always bringing that stupid constitutional stuff up, even after I’ve told you a thousand times that it’s a living document that must be constantly re-interpreted to give wise pragmatic leftists moderates like Obama whatever they need, while clamping down on those wild and crazy limited government types.

      Yes, Obama has no need to get Congressional approval. Even though Bush did it and we still claimed his decision was illegitmate and the biggest foreign policy mistake in history. That’s different. In the name of quantum spirituality, I decree it to be so.

      There are also secret discussions going on, probably even with the Syrian military and certainly with the Syrian opposition. Yep, seeeecret stuff that none of us would ever understand, especially ex-military basket cases. Well, OK, those us with doctorates from places with “advanced” in the name might understand them if we knew. But we trust Obama implicitly. He thinks like us, and we know any decision he makes is automatically the right thing. He’s a wise, pragmatic moderate, you know, not a leftist. In the name of quantum spirituality, etc. etc. Peace be upon him.

      The President isn’t going to telegraph his intent via leaks to the New York Times, though he might plant some disinformation to throw off Syrian planners. Yep, nobody really knows just what he’s going to do, but whatever it is, it will be the right thing.

      If you’ve read the reports of how Obama makes decisions, he comes off very good, at least based on what foreign policy decision making theory says is how a President should deal with this. You see, “foreign policy decision making theory” is a field of knowledge I’m especially expert in, and it is defined as “explaining why America always sucks except when a leftist wise pragmatic Democrat is president.”

      Now let me bash Bush for a while, because it helps keep the magenta caterpillars at bay. Unlike the holy Obama with his christlike visage and proudly upturned chin, President Bush did really poor his first term. Yep, that whole handling of the worst attack on American soil in history was just awful. Especially the quagmire in Afghanistan. And don’t start with how the Taliban collapsed and the whole think was de-quagged in a few weeks. That was just luck. Because, by the holy axioms of foreign policy decision making theory, anything that turns out well for a Republican is just luck.

      Bush improved dramatically as he learned on the job. And I don’t either have to compare and contrast that period with the earlier period to support that statement. Why do you even ask? I have godlike powers of political science, as I already told you, so I decree it. And if you argue with me, I’ll handwave away whatever you say, because I can do that and you can’t. Because of the doctorate thing I mentioned earlier.

      Though I’d really love it if you would argue with me about this. We could engage, and go back and forth a thousand times, and it would all turn out great as long as you admit in the end that I’m right. See? I listen to all sides, weigh all the evidence by pulling my political sciencey chin, and then decide that the leftists the pragmatic moderates are definitely right and you’re wrong.

      Or you could take classes from me. While I definitely don’t need to take any classes from ex-military basket cases like McQ, because who really needs to know any of that military stuff he spent decades learning? War and guns and stuff – it’s all so icky. And don’t even start about how he spanked me in my own field by predicting the 2010 congressional elections to a tee while I was confidently predicting the Democrats would hold the House. Yes, I know I said they would, but I changed just before the election. Stop asking for links on that! It was a private thing, you know, just between me and the magenta caterpillars with Sarah Palin’s face, naughty librarian glasses, and ample bosom.

      Anyway, don’t you want to take classes on foreign policy theory from me? And definitely not from someone at a college you’ve actually heard of who has a reputation in the field. No. From me. I’ve written a book about foreign policy, so it should be from me. And the book wasn’t either from a vanity press that suckers social science academics and only sold a few dozen copies. Stop saying that.

      Relax, understand that experienced experts are making plans with far more information and knowledge than any of us, and some of them have advanced degrees like me. And, since Obama is at the top, the results are guaranteed to be great. By the holy axioms of quantum politics, it must be so. You’re criticizing something that hasn’t even happened, based on parsing a few speeches and speculating about what might happen. That’s meaningless, totally unlike what I said, which was rich, creamy analysis.

      And don’t start with how I haven’t even staked out a position on whether we should do something in Syria or not. Whatever Obama does will be the right thing. Which doesn’t either mean I’m so infatuated with his dreaminess that I can’t conceive of him making a mistake. Stop saying that. It’s my analysis, based on highly trained chin pulling. I decree it.

    • “President Obama is getting options from the military, and conferring with other world leaders over the best action”

      “If you’ve read the reports of how Obama makes decisions, he comes off very good, at least based on what foreign policy decision making theory says is how a President should deal with this”
      So let me get this straight.  The almighty decision maker decided at least a year ago that chemical weapon usage would cross a big, bad, scary American red line.  And then, presumably, we’d do something about it.  So I would ask you – if you knew that this crazy evil man had chemical weapons (which Obama did) and that he might use them (which Obama knew), then might you not, say PLAN what you’d do so that crossing the red line resulted in swift, decisive punitive action?  To deter both the immediate perpetrator and anybody thinking of making their own move in that arena?  OR, would this mythical great decision maker of yours instead spend what will be at least TWO WEEKS having conferences and pressers about what small, targeted, not actually decisive things we MIGHT do now that Assad actually done gone and done it?
      What do you think we’re projecting here?  A message that we will not allow this kind of barbarity?  Or a message that we would really, really prefer you not force us to do something if you do something really heinous?
      FWIW, I’m not even sure we should intervene, but whether or not we should became irrelevant the moment Obama declared his red line.  You can’t make that kind of statement casually.  You have to be ready to BACK IT UP.  Otherwise you look like the toothless tiger our enemies all thought and now KNOW we are.
      Yeah, he’s doing a great job at decision making.

      • That sort of actual critical thinking and reasoning is not part of Scott’s daily talking points delusion lecture.   You’re not going to get anywhere with the Maine Mosquito if you keep using logic and reason.

        :)
        As for me, I wish we had a like button, but a smiley face is all I have.

         

    • And yet still no answer from Weathervane Scotty on the question of “attack or not to attack?”. One must not take a position before one knows which way the wind is blowing! I did pop over to his blog to check if he had any creamy analysis on Syria, but it seems he is channeling his alter ego Scerb and is dribbling away about quantum spirituality again. I mean, really, who pays this man to be such a vacant libertine??

    • “foreign policy decision making theory”
      aka… cover your ass and spread the blame when it goes up in flames. Also make sure not to piss off the Russians and anyone else with a big army and not dependent on annoying popularity contests (aka supposed democracy). And finally make sure you can always blame it on the USA.

  • France too is showing signs of waffling:

    That’s redundant. Besides, it’s the Belgians that do the fabulous waffles.

  • The Brits and French and Obama remind me of a three stooges moment.  Someone ask for volunteer to step forward.  And the Brits and French take one step back.  Basically the Brits can back off now that Obama has committed the US.  And they can take the moral high ground when the ugly consequences of acting happen.

    • I wonder how Erb will take it when the Europeans make a fool out of Obama doing their dirty work and condescending against the US & Obama for it at the same time.

  • Erb is right – Obama is reviewing his options – but he is wrong in that he is reviewing any options from the military, or foreign leaders, or even from among the bumbling fools in the Democratic Party (Biden, time for you to talk out your ass again!).  Obama is getting all of his options from Valerie Jarret and will act when and if she lets him.  You could call this a game of Presidential Mother May I!!!!

  • Erb stated: “The reality is that there are no certainties.”  He is wrong – nothing new there, how well I know.  There is only one certainty – Obama put his foot in his mouth in front of the world when he drew a red line in the sand over the possibility of Assad’s use of chemical weapons.  He has only one way to extract that foot – DO SOMETHING!  But even if he were to DO SOMETHING he has to be careful because if he the military equivalent of “swatting a fly” his foot will continue to be firmly lodged.  If he does more than “swat a fly” then he will forever make mock of his own words when he berated Bush, as a Senator and then candidate.  Obama is now the “Cowboy” diplomat that he accused Bush of being!!!  (And now I have to humbly apologize to all cowboys for putting Obama in the same class as you.)

  • Welcome to the Neo-Progressive Era…
    … when progressives sound like Neo-Conservatives

    • Its not much of a stretch, Considering Neo-cons like Bush & McCain were virtually Democrats in many ways.  And criticism of ‘neo-cons’ were essentially election talking points.

  • The ban will largely affect antiquated, World War II-era weapons that, while still deadly, rarely turn up at crime scenes, leaving some to question whether the new policy is much ado about nothing. 

    “Banning these rifles because of their use in quote-unquote crimes is like banning Model Ts because so many of them are being used as getaway cars in bank robberies,” said Ed Woods, a 47-year-old from the Chico area of northern California.
    … At least we will know that Obama/Biden are doing something or is it really nothing LOL

  • 23 Sept 30, 2012: 

    There can be no question of “unilateral” US action against Assad because France, Turkey, and a number of other countries have already signaled their willingness to go much further than the US in fighting Assad. It is the US that is holding them back.
    Clearly Obama has wasted the alliance that was there are the beginning

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