When Obama warned the government of Syria they would be crossing a red line if they used chemical weapons against revolutionaries, fighting for a democratic form of government, some republicans criticized his warnings and said he was leading us into another war in the Mid East. Others jumped at the chance to engage us in a war against Syria. Some even called for his impeachment, claiming his so-called red line will be the cause of war. And then there were the Benghazi-ites. You know, the ones who could do nothing for three months except blame Obama for a terrorist attack of our Embassy in Benghazi. What they need is another dead horse to beat. Maybe they could find an elephant grazing in their own backyard; or better yet, they could pick the bones of a few dead elephants left by President Obama on the steps of the Whitehouse.
What a difference just a few weeks makes in foreign policy. Thanks to the diplomacy of Obama, Syria has volunteered to destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons; and just hours after the U.N. Security Council, which includes Russia, agreed to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, Russia pledged troops to guard storage facilities under the direction and watchful eyes of the United Nations. That may seem like the fox guarding the hen house, but it will work.
Obama detractors claimed his red line would push Iran to challenge our resolve and would clearly lead us into war with Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s President. But Obama’s olive branch of diplomacy was accepted by Iran. For the first time in over 30 years, a leader of Iran has had a one-on-one conversation with an American President. After speaking to the United Nations, where Rouhani acknowledged the holocaust did happen and condemned the murder of the Jews and spoke of peaceful co-existence in the region, he spoke to President Obama on the phone and vowed to resolve the impasse pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program. From here, it appears Obama’s red line strategy is working.
President Obama took a calculated risk when he announced his red line policy dealing with Syria, Iran and the rest of the Mid East. But it’s not the first time a Democratic president drew the line regarding weapons of war.
In 1962, President Kennedy told the nation the Soviet Union was installing ballistic missiles with nuclear bomb capabilities in Cuba. He warned Russia and Cuba of a preemptive nuclear attack if the missiles were not removed. The missiles were removed. The red line was never crossed and we’ve been punishing Cuba for over 50 years. But Obama’s red line is not designed as a punishment — only a diplomatic fulcrum for peace.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.