Last week we saw the media wittering on about the UK parliament’s “No” to David Cameron’s plan to bomb Syria as a “humiliation” for Cameron.
That was the big story.
Not that people in Syria were going to be spared having yet another group of people bombing them. Not that it was diminishing the possibility of a civil war spreading to become an international one. No, the big story was that the media thought that one man was being “humiliated”.
And now they are doing it again.
The draft resolution from the White House calls for authorisation for action to “deter, disrupt, prevent and degrade” Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons: two senators – one Republican, one Democrat – called that too open-ended.
Republican Senator John McCain, who has been leading the demand for military intervention in Syria, said that there was “no strategy, no plan” – and both were needed before he’d back the motion.
If Congress doesn’t back him, it will be disastrous for the president.
His decision to call for a vote will look foolish and he would be left with an appalling choice.
Ignore the vote and enrage Congress and many Americans. Or don’t strike and live with John Kerry’s words that America will be weakened, petty dictators emboldened and history’s judgement harsh on America’s leaders.
It looks as though the media pundits identify themselves with “history”, assuming that “history’s” judgements will coincide with theirs.
Perhaps in the eyes of the media, but I think it would allow him a face-saving out.
He wouldn’t have to back down and say he was wrong. He wouldn’t have to appear to be vacillating. He doesn’t have to say anything, but if anyone asks, all he has to say is “I thought we should bomb Syria, but Congress disagreed.”
That means that the blame (and praise) for the decision would belong to the US Congress.
Obama would be off the hook.