President Obama has been badly wrong footed by Vladimir Putin via the Op Ed piece and by saying that a Syrian Gas attack by the regime was a “red line” that would trigger a military response he set himself up for a fall.
For the “red line ” to have been crossed, compelling and irrefutable evidence of Assad’s guilt or the guilt of his regime in this specific respect had to be forthcoming. Such evidence was not forthcoming, rather we were treated to statements about “the balance of probabilities” which is not the same thing and does not meet the “beyond reasonable doubt ” test applied by our courts. Such evidence could have been amended so as not to reveal the way it was obtained and then it could have been presented and used as the reason for intervening in Syria. This was not done either so the conclusion must be either that:
1) There was no compelling evidence
2) It was done by the Syrian Rebels
3) It was done by mercenaries acting on a deniable basis for the Syrian Government
4) It was done by persons unknown in an effort to discredit the Assad regime further than it already has been
5) President Obama was lying or did not know
Whichever of these it was, President Obama’s position and credibility are called into question, so he is not in any position to credibly refute the Putin Op Ed article and has probably been advised to maintain a dignified period of silence rather than revealing his agonized thoughts in public.
The Sun Tzu maxim of “Keep your thoughts as dark as night and then act like a thunderbolt” is the one to follow in military operations and aggressive foreign policy moves to topple regimes in order to deliver “freedom and democracy”, steal oil or deny mineral resources to others.
President Obama whilst cautious, is apt to hedge his thoughts about with caveats and legalese and it is these utterances and John Kerry‘s unguarded remarks that Putin and Lavrov were able to fasten on, test and turn to their advantage.
What Vladimir Putin said was as the “Donald ” put it, very cleverly put together and very tough whilst borrowing bits from the Declaration of Independence which no American could reasonably argue with.
John McCain, although a warmonger living in the past, is at least consistent with his views which is why Pravda is keen to hear from him if only to discredit him.
Americans, who are in the main sick of war, may well not see Vladimir Putin as a man with a “white hat”, purer than the driven snow but they are pragmatists who want President Obama to focus his whole attention on the economy, jobs and prosperity.
John McCain’s views do not play well with “Joe Sixpack” any more than the views of Fox, Cameron, Hague, Hammond, Lord Rifkind, Paddy Ashdown et al, in relation to Syria and Afghanistan do among the UK public.
Thus letting John McCain write a rebuttal to Vladimir Putin’s Op Ed critique is going to be another own goal.
- Op-ed for Op-ed: McCain to strike back in ‘Pravda’ (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- McCain to attack Putin in Pravda (politico.com)
- Some thoughts on Putin’s op-ed article in the NYT – John Gelmini (dralfoldman.com)
- John McCain to write for Pravda in response to Putin’s Times op-ed (theguardian.com)
- McCain to parry Putin NY Times op-ed with one for Pravda – Reuters (reuters.com)
- First, Putin. Now Comes John McCain (themoderatevoice.com)
- McCain to Pen Pravda Op-Ed (nationalreview.com)
- McCain Says He Will Write Op-ed for Pravda – Pravda Says, Say What? (politicususa.com)
- Putin Throws Down Gauntlet, McCain Picks It Up (personalliberty.com)
- John McCain To Write For Pravda (world.time.com)