What the Hell is Obama Doing? Why hasn’t Assad been bombed yet?

Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of intervening in the Syrian conflict.  As I said before, I’m not all that keen on helping the Syrian opposition win, since it’s not obvious that they’re better than the Assad government.  Frankly, if either side wins outright, the likely outcome is the mass slaughter and exodus of the losers, meaning that the “best” result is that both sides slug it out for a few more years before negotiating a peace agreement that slices up Syria like a Christmas goose along religious and ethnic lines (i.e., the Yugoslavia solution).  That’s not a good result, since in the meantime tens of thousands (or more) Syrians (mostly civilians) will die, but in this fight there are no “good” outcomes, just better or worse outcomes.

But when it comes to punishing the Assad government for its use of chemical weapons, that’s a whole different story, which makes the fact that the Obama administration is waiting until, at least, next week, to unleash the hounds all the more baffling. Continue reading “What the Hell is Obama Doing? Why hasn’t Assad been bombed yet?”

It’s Better To Be Respected Than Loved: US Foreign Policy and the Embassy Attacks

This is the first post dealing with Tuesday’s murderous attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which 4 American diplomats, including the US ambassador to Libya, and the storming of the US embassy compound in Cairo.   At some point I’l put together a post about what the reaction to the film that allegedly started the latest round of unrest says about the Arab world, but for now I want to talk about what the attack on the US Embassy in Cairo.  Although the attack on the Benghazi consulate was the bloodier of the two assaults, the assault on the embassy in Cairo tells us more about the failure of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Continue reading “It’s Better To Be Respected Than Loved: US Foreign Policy and the Embassy Attacks”