Vladimir Putin isn’t a very nice guy. There’s a lot of that going around among world leaders. For one thing he has a low opinion of President Obama. There’s a lot of that going around as well. And he’s not all that favorably inclined to Secretary of State John Kerry – calling him a liar. Obama’s meeting with Putin and the other G-20 heads has got to be creating a lot of angst for our president.
Putin disputes the reliability of the evidence that the Assad regime is responsible for the gassing of its citizens. A reasonable person would take that denunciation with a grain of salt. After all, Putin and the Russian government are supporting the current Syrian administration and Assad.
But a reasonable person also has to question the reliability – or more important, the believability of what is coming out from Obama and his administration. This is an administration that has bald-faced lied about virtually everything since it found itself first empowered. Yesterday in Stockholm, the president said, “It was not his red line that was crossed – it was the world’s red line.” If that isn’t a bald-faced lie, what is? I know because I’ve seen the tape about twenty times.
With the debate currently raging in Congress over whether to support a military initiative in Syria, the focus has now switched from humanitarian concerns to whether we should pass this resolution to allow the president – and by extension the nation – save face. That is hardly an adequate reason for going to war – in Syria or anywhere else.
By now it should be obvious that we have managed to put together a national team which consists of a lot of scrubs. That is not restricted to the executive branch. The leadership and a fair amount of the membership of the Congress fall into that same unfortunate category. While legally, they do represent America – they certainly don’t exemplify the American ideal. And any thinking person either in this country or elsewhere realizes that. There is no face to save for these people.
Speaking of legality – there are two sets of laws which we need to consider. The first are those of the United States and the second of the international community (the PC way of speaking of the UN).
With the constant disregard for the laws of the United States that Obama has demonstrated by violating acts of Congress through executive fiat, I suppose the question of U. S. law is more or less irrelevant. The law, as it is viewed by this administration, is something that should be enforced when it meets their objectives and ignored when it doesn’t. So as U. S. law has essentially been minimalized by Obama and company, let’s not waste time on the academic exercise of debating whether the president can commit us to a military action in Syria or whether he needs Congressional consent.
So that leaves us with the question of international law.
As I understand it, there are specific conditions under which an outside party can involve itself in the affairs of another, sovereign nation.
The United States can engage in a war if we are threatened or believe that we are about to be attacked by another nation. That is not the case in Syria.
The United States can engage in a war if we are asked to assist one of our allies who are being assaulted by another nation. That is not the case in Syria.
The United States can engage in a war if we are asked to do so through a resolution passed by the United Nations. That is not the case in Syria.
There is no legal justification under international law for us to be involved in Syria which is engaged in an internal struggle – a civil war. We might take a lesson from England in this matter. Queen Victoria was reputedly tempted to get involved in the American Civil War but was convinced by her husband Prince Albert not to get Great Britain into the fray. I can only imagine how President Lincoln would have reacted if English war ships suddenly showed up on the shores of the east coast.
So there they are in St. Petersburg – President Putin and President Obama. One straightforward tyrant and one wannabe I’m not sure what. I guess the biggest difference between the two is that one shoots from the hip – the other from the lip. And that lip smacking is precisely what has gotten us to where we are today.