Republicans Can’t Get Over Not Being Able to Thump Syria

Obama and Putin
Republicans don’t believe in peace without war. You could say Republicans don’t believe in peace, period. But especially if you haven’t bludgeoned somebody to death, you cannot have a meaningful peace. Thus the U.S.-Russian pact on Syria is, to former UN Ambassador John Bolton on Saturday, is “death by a thousand cuts.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor told “Fareed Zakaria GPS” Sunday that President Obama’s actions concerning Syria were “misconceived” and “badly calculated,” and that “The president has said Assad must go without having a strategy to make him go.” Brzezinski said. “And we have now seen the consequences of that.”

For Brzezinski, Vladimir Putin’s intervention “gets us off the hook.” Bolton agreed, saying, “The president is very grateful to President Putin. He got him out of an impossible dilemma.”

We could point out that John Bolton hates the UN, hates globalization, and worse, is a New World Order conspiracy theorist. Cray-cray barely begins to describe Bolton. Simply put, Bolton would have been an ideal Secretary of State for President Sarah Palin, or, failing that, President Michele Bachmann. But since he was prevented by the sanity of the American electorate from doing catastrophically stupid things, he now writes about them instead.

Brzezinski’s own resume is rather colorful and you would think his own experiences would make him more patient with foreign policy decision-making. After all, it was on his watch that the U.S. armed Afghanistan’s mujaheddin, who later became Afghanistan’s Taliban and al Qaeda after Iran became an Islamic republic on his watch. In other words, it is too soon to judge the Syria pact. And then there is the little thing about casting stones.

As Jason Easley wrote here yesterday, it is a myth that Putin saved Obama on Syria and Sarah Jones correctly pointed out that Obama got exactly what he wanted: a UN that is paying attention to what is happening in Syria. Obama’s bombing tease got the Republicans all hot and bothered, taking them to the brink of orgasm before yanking the rug out from under them.

Hell hath no fury like a Republican prevented from bombing somebody. Look at John McCain, who said he’d have had us involved in Syria two years ago and who thinks we ought already to be bombing the hell out of Syria.

Think of all the yummy donations from defense contractors thankful to be able to build more munitions. If they can’t defraud Americans using the Keystone XL pipeline and can’t defraud Americans by way of a manufactured war, what will they do?

But we have a Republican Party that refuses to pay America’s legal debts. We have a Republican Party that refuses to raise spending levels. We have a Republican Party that refuses to raise taxes on the rich.

We have a Republican Party that wants to further enrich itself and its donors by waging yet another war on the backs of the poor – who, coincidentally – would also pay the butcher’s bill when those munitions were used.

And they’re not happy about being thwarted.

Republicans claim Russia won and America lost. Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) says the White House should “not do a victory lap.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Putin had Obama “boxed in”
But as Rep. Chris van Hollen (D-MD) told Fox News Sunday, “if outfoxing means giving the president of the United States everything they asked for and more, maybe that’s kind of outfoxing we need.”

The thing is, Syria is not a prize to be seized. Syria is innocent men, women, and children who have no say in what happens to them, either as a result of attacks from their own government or from American warplanes.

In one sense, Americans have won because they won’t have to sustain a military intervention few of them want (and they know it). In another, it is Syria itself which wins as a result of the U.S.-Russian pact because the pact keeps the country from turning into a Cold War-era battleground.

But in another sense, as the Financial Times points out, the real winner is Realpolitik – as Encylopaedia Britannica defines it, “a politics of adaptation to things as they are.. a pragmatic, no-nonsense view.”

Back in May, Gregor Peter Schmitz opined in Der Spiegel that Barack Obama has emerged as Henry Kissinger’s Realpolitik heir. But though Realpolitik is often said to exclude ethical considerations as well as ideological, it is important to note that Obama’s Syria policy was motivated entirely by ethical considerations – the ethics of murdering men, women, and children with chemical weapons.

We all know how even the scent of pragmatism and common sense kills a Republican erection dead and it’s bad enough, after all, that it was a black president who pulled off this diplomatic coup.

The problem for Republicans is that they have judged Obama unworthy of the nation’s highest office and that therefore, anything Obama does must be not an accomplishment but a blow against America’s interests.

But Republicans, however little they wish to admit it, are faced with a successful President Obama, who has in one stroke drawn the world’s attention to the barbarity of the Assad regime, and put in place measures to disarm it, all without a shot fired. Most of us would consider this a victory.

For Republicans, even more out of touch with American values, it is a failure of monumental proportions.

Image from ABC News

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