For balance, here’s an argument that Obama’s record of not sliding into intractable conflicts so far is a reason to trust him not to slide on Syria. I just worry that Rice and Power – combined with liberal interventionist Tony Blinken – is too strong a faction for the president to resist. He’s already foolishly committed himself rhetorically to war with Iran – rather than containment and engagement – if it gains a nuclear weapon; and his “red line” comment about Syria was red meat to the Clintonite tendency. Once a president has said such things, he can be dragged further into the mire.
To my mind, the key components of a successful Obama presidency – an actual change we can believe in – is the ability to resist war in Syria or with Iran under almost any circumstance. And I have to say I think he has put himself into a dangerous corner on both. After Libya and this execrable volte-face, I’m fast losing confidence he has the core strength to trust his own judgment against all the war mongers around him.