How Does Obama Think? The Decision To Launch A Military Strike Against Al-Assad's Regime
06 September 2013
By Hussein Shobokshi
The following lines will not be an attempt for me to
tell somebody's fortune or do the work of a
psychologist. Yet, it is an attempt to rate US
President Barack Obama's character and the way he
makes political decisions in general, including the
decision to launch a military strike against the
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime, following
the horrible massacre he committed against his own
people in which nearly 2,000 people were killed or
injured, the majority being children, as everyone
Obama came to power after a president who embroiled
the US in two wars without a clear objective,
exhausting much of America's financial resources. In
fact, these two wars contributed to an unprecedentedly
grave financial crisis that entangled the entire
world, not to mention the human causalities endured by
the US armed forces. Therefore, Obama was always keen
to repeatedly say that he will be the president who
will end America's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan
and that he will not get the country into any new
Furthermore, there are influential political circles
around President Obama that keep telling him that the
Middle East region is no longer important to the US
and that less than 24 percent of its oil come from
that region—an average they say is likely to decrease
owing to the existence of shale oil and other
alternative resources. The political circles around
Obama argue that the problem must be with China, for
it relies greatly on the Middle East's oil, and so it
must have clear and important interests there.
Therefore, for those circles, now Obama must not
handle or view the issue as critically important.
However, President Obama had made a big political
promise that using chemical weapons is a "red line"
and he will not allow anyone to cross it. So, the case
now is the stature and credibility of America's
leadership of the world. This is because should Obama
not react forcefully, it would be a highly significant
message to rogue states across the world that they
were free to cross red lines without retribution, or
the deterrence would be limited and bearable.
The hesitation of the decision-makers in the US seems
clear, as such hesitation occurred when handling an
oppressive, blood-thirsty and a tyrannical regime that
is theoretically backed by America's rivals. It is not
really difficult to convince others of the case,
especially in view of the evidence, proofs and
eyewitnesses that all testify to the al-Assad regime's
use of chemical weapons to kill its own people, and
not for the first time.
The world is anticipating America's decision and
reaction to Assad crossing the red line it had drawn
for him and to exhibiting indifference to its threat.
Now, America's stature is placed on that red line, and
so any tremor in America's world stature could impact
on its huge interests there. This also means that the
US does not think about the victims of the Assad
regime or of the Syrian revolution and its course in
this particular moment, but only of how the Assad
regime dared to challenge the US and to cross the
redline it had drawn for it.
Barack Obama is a cautious and hesitant academic who
always wishes to gain the satisfaction of everyone, a
mission that seems almost impossible to achieve.
However, an American politician concerned with
national security is concerned about the delay in
producing a "decisive" reaction against a regime that
insulted his country's leadership by scorning a clear
red line it had drawn for it. As I said, this is an
attempt to know how Obama thinks, and days will show
us practically how the man will react.