Friday August 30, 2013
Once carried out, the Obama administration’s thoroughly telegraphed strike on Syria, ostensibly over alleged chemical weapons use there, will mark an important inflection point in the terminal decline of America’s Middle East empire. Most importantly, it will confirm that America’s political class, including Obama himself, remains unwilling to face the political risks posed by any fundamental revision of Washington’s 20+-year, deeply self-damaging drive to dominate the region.
Obama initially ran for president pledging to end the “mindset” behind the strategic blunder of America’s 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq; in his first term, he committed to ending America’s war in Afghanistan, too, and to “rebalancing” toward Asia. But Obama was never ready to spend the political capital required for thoroughgoing recasting of U.S. foreign policy; consequently, the dissipation of American power (hard and soft) evident under George W. Bush has accelerated under Obama.