President Obama has lost a golden opportunity at the G20 Summit in St Petersburg to step back from undertaking a military assault on Syria - that promises to create hell for Syria's civilian population and to unleash consequences that can extend far beyond Syria's borders.
At his press conference held after the Summit - President Obama warned:
Syria's escalating use of chemical weapons threatens its neighbors, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel. It threatens to further destabilize the Middle East. It increases the risk that these weapons will fall into the hands of terrorist groups. But more broadly, it threatens to unravel the international norm against chemical weapons embraced by 189 nations,, and those nations represent 98 percent of the world's people.
President Obama revealed there had been the following unanimity among all G20 members:
It was unanimous that chemical weapons were used, a unanimous conclusion that chemical weapons were used in Syria. There was a unanimous view that the norm against using chemical weapons has to be maintained. That these weapons were banned for a reason and that the international community has to take those norms seriously.
Given such unanimity - why were the G20 participants not able to agree on an international response to ending the use of chemical weapons in Syria with the authority of a United Nations Security Council Resolution to provide the international legitimacy for any such proposed action?
Their failure to do so was apparently due to President Obama and President Putin of Russia continuing to lock horns on their different views as to who was responsible for using such chemical weapons in Syria - rather than seeking constructive ways to get chemical weapons out of Syria to prevent their future use in the ongoing 30 months conflict that has so far defied international attempts at resolution.
President Obama made this diplomatic deadlock very clear when referring to his "candid and constructive conversation" with President Putin held on the sidelines of the plenary session:
And on Syria, I said, listen, I don't expect us to agree on this issue of chemical weapons use. Although it is possible that after the U.N. inspectors' report, it may be more difficult for Mr. Putin to maintain his current position about the evidence [That the chemical weapons were used by the rebels - not by the Assad regime].
President Obama sought to assure the world that his military response would be limited:
And our response, based on my discussions with our military, is that we can have a response that is limited, that is proportional, that when I say limited, it's both in time and in scope, but that is meaningful and that degrades Assad's capacity to deliver chemical weapons, not just this time, but also in the future, and serves as a strong deterrent.
With respect - no one could possibly predict the attainment of these objectives with any degree of confidence or accuracy - as the President himself confessed:
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
4 posts so far.