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Putin Told Us So

If John McCain dies and goes to hell, he will spend eternity in a phone booth with Justin Raimondo reading this Ishaan Tharoor column to him. Excerpt:

What a difference a year makes. Around this time last year, the West was gearing up for military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was accused of carrying out chemical weapons attacks on his own people. That intervention never came to pass, not least because domestic public opinion in countries such as Britain and the United States was opposed to further entanglements in the Middle East.

Now, the U.S. is contemplating extending airstrikes on Islamic State militants operating in Iraq in Syria — fighters belonging to a terrorist organization that is leading the war against Assad. The Islamic State’s territorial gains in Iraq and continued repression and slaughter of religious minorities there and in Syria have rightly triggered global condemnation. “I am no apologist for the Assad regime,” Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, told NPR. “But in terms of our security, [the Islamic State] is by far the greatest threat.

The irony of the moment is tragic. But to some, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

According to Tharoor, this is exactly what Vladimir Putin warned about in his New York Times op-ed last September advising the West not to engage in airstrikes against Syria to help the rebels.

This doesn’t make Putin a saint, but it does make him more of a sage about the Middle East than Barack Obama and John McCain.

UPDATE: Judging from the comments, some of you have forgotten that Barack Obama wanted to bomb Syria, and went on national TV on 9/10/13 to make the case for doing so. Excerpt from that speech:

 And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.  The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.

That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief.  But I’m also the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.  So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress.  I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress.  And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.

This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the President, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.

The public declined to support his policy, and the president prudently declined to follow through on his threat. But he wanted to strike, and would have done so if he had managed to get the public and Congress behind him.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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