The wider implications for US foreign policy that Dr Alf wonders about will be that in future President Obama will need to be a lot more circumspect about intentions than he has been.
Red lines need to be communicated behind closed doors not in television studios and not in televised press briefings.
Saying that you will order military strikes if there is chemical weapons use means that you have to provide irrefutable evidence to be credible or it means you have to lie and pretend you have it in order to justify what you propose to do next.
So far, neither Obama nor John Kerry, have produced any evidence and tellingly, neither has General Martin Dempsey America’s top General.
General Alexander, the head of the NSA, has not produced the evidence either, even in an amended form that conceals how his Agency might have obtained it, so until I see it on the table, I am not inclined to believe it exists.
We have several precedents for disbelieving what politicians tell us are the reasons for going to war.
They are most recently:
–The Iraq War in which we were told that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction”, that the “threat was growing, that Saddam was like Hitler, that he had missiles that could hit the UK in 45 minutes”
–Vietnam,when we were originally told that the Gulf of Tonkin incident had happened only to learn decades later from Robert MacNamara.
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