The Magazine

Impotence Abroad

Jun 11, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 37 • By LEE SMITH
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Obama says he doesn’t bluff, and that all options are on the table to stop the Iranian nuclear program, including the use of military force. However, the administration’s decisions on Syria suggest something else—that the White House will do anything it can to avoid military conflict. Instead of putting forth a credible military plan to show Assad, as well as others, that the United States is serious about stopping him, administration officials continue to intimate that the Syrian military is a formidable opponent—with 600,000 men under arms and a Russian air defense system. The reality is that Assad’s army, at this point a whittled-down sectarian militia, is not even capable of beating back the Free Syrian Army. Otherwise, Assad would not need Iranian reinforcements. If Assad’s ragtag army presents this big a challenge to the White House, then what about the Iranians, with terrorist assets around the world and speedboats harassing the U.S. Navy in the -Persian Gulf?

Since the White House’s handling of Syria has given evidence only of impotence, the Israelis, as well as the -Iranians, cannot help but conclude that Obama will play the same hand with Iran that he has with Syria. He isn’t even bluffing. He has simply folded.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers