I am not currently employed. When I have applied for jobs, and been interviewed, I have heard the phrase “Well, if you can do what you say you can…” and tried not to take much insult. It would never occur to me to say I could do something that I couldn’t. I’d like to keep a job more than a few days. It would never occur to me to lie to people and expect them to trust me again. I am, I’ve been told, “Weird”.
Why would it be odd to suspect an average person to make unrealistic claims, when it is commonplace for the President to do so? In 2007, Senator Barack Obama stated “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”, although he had changed his mind shortly after the next shiny object entered his field of vision. By 2011, just two years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for diverting soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan, he stated quite clearly that the rules didn’t apply to him, and bombed Libya.
Then he decided to “draw a red line” over the use of chemical weapons. Just ninety years late, chemical weapons were banned as part of the Geneva Protocols in 1925. America is not the judicial or correctional arm of the UN, the President’s threat of a military response was out of line. War crimes are not prosecuted during a hot war, and they are prosecuted by bringing the criminal to justice, not by killing civilians. Even Assad knew this, but apparently not Obama. Assad also knew that Obama could not act on his own, he would need the approval of congress. It’s so sad when a foreign dictator knows more about your constitution than a “Constitutional Scholar”.
After realizing that almost no one was supporting his unilateral threats, the President decided to “allow” congress to vote on whether we should commit the lives of our children to a war with no sides.
We’ve gotten used to the idea of “push button wars”, but the futility of such actions hasn’t sunk in. There is no such thing as a “Limited war”, unless you want to surrender before beginning.
Diplomacy works when both sides of the table take each other seriously. No one is taking the President of the United States, and by extension the entire United States of America, seriously any more. We might have been successful in ending the war in Syria with an embargo, but it’s unlikely we can pull that off now. How safe are our soldiers enforcing a blockade when the Syrians believe we won’t respond if attacked?
I was born in Texas, and over the years have spent about a fifth of my life there. Every state has it’s “State Police” or “Highway Patrol”, in Texas we have the Texas Rangers. The Texas Rangers aren’t just police who work for the state. They are like the Marines. If you’re a bad guy, you don’t want to even see a Ranger.
The Ranger’s motto comes from an incident in Dallas TX in 1896. A riot had started so the Rangers were called in. They sent Captain Bill McDonald, and his pistol. When asked why they were only sending one man, the response was “there’s only one riot”. Other stories of Rangers facing down crowds include a Ranger on the steps of a courthouse, facing a mob. From the mob came a shout “He’s only got six bullets!” to which the ranger replied “I guess I can only shoot the first six up front”. The mob inverted, as no one wanted to be in front.
So far this year there have been thirty one homicides in Trenton NJ. About the number for Philadelphia PA in January, but per capita a higher rate. The governor wants to send in the State Police. The problem is that the bad guys in Trenton don’t take the police seriously, in fact two of the homicides were police officers. The police officers I have known in the Northeast are either afraid to shoot because they don’t want to be sued, or trigger happy, shooting people when they reach for their wallets. We need the Texas Rangers.
If we want to be taken seriously as a “superpower” we need a President with the soul of a Texas Ranger. All ours has is the mouth of an impotent bully.