Friday, October 9, 2015


Syria is a catastrophe.  No wonder the takers are few, especially the ones who prefer the soliloquies to engaging in what is a messy, solipsistic tragedy.  President Obama abhors proximity to chaos or violence. He is always tempted to consider problems as Pythagorean theorems rather than for what they are. He is, rightly so, adverse to enter "dumb wars", but he creates the impression that he is equally adverse to confronting their cause.  He is so eloquent and moving at funerals because they follow an order and bring closure, albeit with tears. He must hate the dawn of order.

Now he might think that the Russian moves in Syria will boomerang in Putin's face. This might happen indeed but the  Russian "calculus" goes further than Assad. Moscow follows a strategy here and elsewhere which makes it impossible for the US to ignore the Russian footprint in the future anywhere. President Putin is busy putting landmines in America's path.

Washington's reluctance to get its hands dirty does not provide any dividend. On the contrary, it alienates friends and bolsters bluff.  A secondary consequence of the Syrian nightmare is that Europe has to digest a sociological flood, which finds the EU unprepared and which might feed a dangerous homegrown populism.  Likewise the refugees, who have a religious chip on their shoulder, carry also the "unforeseeable" in their midst. The crisis warrants a social engineering which is totally lacking.  Since the American waiting game allowed the uninvited to further complicate the chaos, only a quick initiative can stop a further deterioration. The saga of the emperor's new clothes should remind the United States that they might well end up as the losers,  not by lack of means but by some form of diplomatic snobism. This situation will not be resolved by some Oscar Wilde-type of bon mot,  it needs to be treated head on and without gloves. It is wise to avoid a conflictual threshold but it is dangerous to look on or to resort to half-baked measures while Iran, Russia, Syria & Co. do not pussy-foot or waste time trying to sort out the better among the undesirables.

Sadat got rid of the Soviets, Assad brings the Russians back and 50 years of "Pax Americana" are wasted, while the White House looks on and the US political machine appears to be turning the clock back to God and gravy.  None of the presidential contenders in either party looks willing to revise or repair the former claim to American exceptionalism. The banality rules. So does opportunism. Mrs. Clinton's criticism of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), one of the better moves of President Obama, is inexcusable and depasse. The vilified former President Carter reacted boldly after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and boycotted the Moscow Olympics.  President Obama's "wait and see" posture might cost the United States dearly! This White House is in need of a change of personnel.  Likewise, the usual commentary coming from the usual suspects on the left and the right is in need of "rebooting". 

The US needs to change its tune, channel and political class...dream on!  Elsewhere, the bullies rule.

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