It was like talking to your kid about drugs and alcohol after they’d thrown the party of the year, gotten wasted, stolen the police car that came the house for the noise, taken the American flag hanging in the middle of downtown and replaced it with their underwear. But, last night President Barack Obama spent fifteen minutes telling us what we needed to hear a week ago. While the geopolitics are more complicated than last night’s season opening episode of Sons of Anarchy, the President’s message was simple. Allow me to paraphrase for dramatic effect:
- This is not Iraq. Did you hear me Rush Limbaugh? This is not Iraq.
- I’m dealing with two sociopathic liars in Syrian tyrant Bashar al Assad and his BFF Russian President Vladimir Putin, so cut me some slack.
- America, you have to trust me that Syria has to be dealt with so no other countries use chemical weapons against their people and more importantly, against us.
I liked the President’s address. It was short, sweet, pointed, and offered some evidence that Assad gassed his own people. The fact that Syria is willing to give up their chemical weapons in a stroke of diplomacy means that either Russia is pulling all the strings and they have a greater plan or the evidence that the U.S. and France have against Syria is solid. I think it’s both. Along with some proof of what Obama, and his sudden bomb brother hawks, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, have been touting, that was covered last night, we also got an explanation of why Syria is important.
Because of the wars that the previous Administration got us into based on information more fraudulent than the music career of Milli Vanilli, the United States is worn out, politically, mentally, physically and culturally. The President acknowledged this, which was nice. He also assured the country that the “pin prick” bombing of Syria is false. “We don’t do pin pricks” the President said. He claims that any military response would be so significant it would send a clear message that America is still bad to the bone when it comes to bombs and we mean it. Well, that’s nice, too. Not really, that’s sarcasm.
Right now, as we sit here clicking through the Internet, Russia is spearheading a diplomacy effort to avoid the U.S. kicking anyone’s ass. Can they be trusted? Well, since Putin has been asking that question of America for the last 10 years, the quick answer is, hell no. But this last ditch effort to scoop up Syria’s chemical weapons is better than death via American firepower.
The President’s speech was well delivered. But his timing, past bungles, and allowance of Russia to have the upper hand in diplomacy are very troubling. All of this should have been done one to two weeks ago. The United States is like that drunk teenager in a whole lot of trouble with a parent who waited too long to put a foot where it needed to go. Are they/us even listening through our hangover headache and blurry memories of the night before?
Twice, the President said “we are not the world’s policeman”. This is in stark contrast to the George W. Bush administration who saw the U.S.A. as the world’s Law & Order SVU, Criminal Intent, and CSI for eight years, helping us into the situation we’re in now. The world doesn’t give two flips about liberal vs. conservative, left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican, or Obama vs. Bush, Rush Limbaugh vs. Rachel Maddow. Putin and Assad have said this in the past week. What the world sees is an American government that can’t make up it’s mind, administration to administration, on how to not come across as a complete arrogant pin prick to the planet. Later in the President’s speech, he said “My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements — it has meant enforcing them.”
This means we are all about enforcing treaties, laws, codes, and conventions, despite violating them ourselves, covertly or not, for many years because our political parties are so divided President to President. No wonder our credibility in world affairs is as shaky as Lindsay Lohan showing up at Miley Cyrus’ house and telling her to chill out.
The good news from last night is we aren’t bombing anyone, right now. The bad news, the phrase “peace through strength” (which doesn’t work) is leaving the mouths of people that used to talk about and listen to “Give Peace A Chance”; President Barack Obama (the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner), Secretary of State John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Let’s hope they listen to John Lennon a lot over the next few days.
Lance Burson is a writer living outside Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three daughters, one of whom is 17-years-old and has already had “the talk”. He is the published author of two books, The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body, both of which are available on amazon.com, digitally, and in paperback from Lulu.com. His favorite Beatle was John Lennon.