It's lonely out there, leading from behind
Until Barack Obama's presidency, the one certainty an American president could count on in the risky realm of war and peace was the support of the Brits. But now Obama finds himself with only France, as the UK Parliament debated and rejected support for military action against Syria. Bashir Assad appears to have called his bluff on a chemical weapons red line. With Russia dispatching warships and Iran fulminating as usual, a stare-down is underway and Obama's "smart diplomacy" has isolated America, and the Russian reset has exploded in his face like an Acme cigar.
So we have two men, Obama and Putin, in a face off.
Unlike the reviled George W. Bush, who was able to assemble coalitions numbering well into double digits for his military ventures in the Islamic world, Barack Obama is left with France, which used to run Syria as a League of Nations mandate. The last time the United States got itself involved in a former French colonial outpost it turned into the Vietnam War, not the best omen. Besides, the support of those guys who surrendered two World Wars just doesn't provide that much comfort. Maybe Obama should have kept that bust of Churchill.
The American media have colluded to shield Americans from the rest of the world's growing contempt for our president. But by foolishly invoking a red line on a particular weapon of mass destruction, he is now trapped. He's never experienced this before, because in domestic politics he has always been able to blame Republicans and frame the subject to his advantage with the cooperation of media friends. But there is absolutely no way I can conceive of to blame Republicans for his current dilemma. So he is stuck either lobbing missiles pretty much on our own in the hope that Russia and Iran don't retaliate or backing down. Both hopes seem unrealistic, to put it mildly.
God save our country.