Chemical attack in Syria? Whatever

Article Highlights

  • Now, according to State Department spox Patrick Ventrell, Assad will merely be “held accountable.” Evolution!

    Tweet This

  • Why doesn’t Obama care? Simple: this is the new normal in foreign policy.

    Tweet This

  • When you don’t want to do anything in the world, you don’t need people to like, trust, or fear you

    Tweet This

Yesterday evening, Josh Rogin over at FP’s The Cable dropped a bombshell of a story: The Assad government, US government investigators have concluded, likely used chemical weapons in Homs on December 23, 2012. Josh has the entire tick-tock of the reports, the investigation, purported videos of the attack (“videos, which are graphic, can be found here, here, here, here, here and here”), reax from State and observations about the Obama administration’s shifting red lines on Assad’s use of WMD. Remember, in August of last year, when the president cared what people thought, it was the mere “moving around” of chemical weapons that he threatened would trigger US action. But after the election, when, apparently, he did not, the red line was “use” of chemical weapons. Now, according to State Department spox Patrick Ventrell, Assad will merely be “held accountable.” Evolution!

Why are so few people talking about this? Why doesn’t Obama care? Simple: this is the new normal in foreign policy. Chemical attacks are just another day in the life of American retreat from the world. 80,000 deaths? Whatever. Al Qaeda on the march? Whatever. Priorities in Afghanistan? Whatever.

What will it mean? Exactly what has been foretold so many times: The Syrian people, like the Kurds who were gassed mercilessly by Saddam Hussein at Halabja while Ronald Reagan was president, will neither forgive nor forget America’s failure to stand with them. Then again, when you don’t want to do anything in the world, you don’t need people to like you, to trust you, or to fear you. America? Whatever.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


    Follow Danielle Pletka on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-5943
    Email: dpletka@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Alexandra Della Rocchetta
    Phone: 202-862-7152
    Email: alex.dellarocchetta@aei.org

What's new on AEI

image The money in banking: Comparing salaries of bank and bank regulatory employees
image What Obama should say about China in Japan
image A key to college success: Involved dads
image China takes the fight to space
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Graduation day: How dads’ involvement impacts higher education success

Join a diverse group of panelists — including sociologists, education experts, and students — for a discussion of how public policy and culture can help families lay a firmer foundation for their children’s educational success, and of how the effects of paternal involvement vary by socioeconomic background.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Getting it right: A better strategy to defeat al Qaeda

This event will coincide with the release of a new report by AEI’s Mary Habeck, which analyzes why current national security policy is failing to stop the advancement of al Qaeda and its affiliates and what the US can do to develop a successful strategy to defeat this enemy.

Friday, April 25, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Obamacare’s rocky start and uncertain future

During this event, experts with many different views on the ACA will offer their predictions for the future.   

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.