President Obama’s press conference yesterday in Sweden will one day be shown in Psychiatry classrooms the world over as a classic example of the concept of transference. While every news outlet in America was running clips of Republicans and Democrats alike blaming the entire Syrian mess on Obama’s ill-advised “red line” remark of last September, there was our President responding to a reporter’s question about that red line thusly:
“I didn’t set a red line; the world set a red line. My credibility isn’t on the line; the world’s credibility is on the line…”
This is essentially the President of the United States explaining that the dog ate his homework.
Ok, let me get this straight. Virtually everyone in Washington understands that Obama has been painted into a corner because of his red line remark, and now has to be supported or he and our country will lose all international credibility. We watch the spectacle of historically dovish Democratic Senators tying themselves into pretzels of illogical contradictions trying to rationalize support for something that they would be marching in the streets protesting if Obama were a Republican President. We hear Chris Matthews demand that Democrats vote “yes” on Syria in order to “save the President’s hide.” And yet, half way around the world the President stands in front of a bank of microphones blaming the entire world for the very red line that his own words produced.
All of which begs this simple question, if the President is right and this really is the “worlds” problem, then why isn’t the UN in charge? World problems need to be addressed by the world in the world’s forum…the United Nations. Why are we unilaterally declaring this an American mission? I seem to recall this President being a huge fan of the UN, a big supporter of coalitions. So, why are we a coalition of one?
There are many reasons a nation goes to war, some better than others. But to jump into the middle of another Middle Eastern cat fight to recover a President’s prestige and reputation is possibly the worst reason of all.