About an hour after the vote which defeats the proposed Authorisation for Use of Military Force in response to the chemical weapons attack in Syria we will probably begin to realise that the world as we know it has been irrevocably changed; and probably not for the better.
The inevitable decline of American power precipitated by the disastrous Bush administration will enter its terminal phase as the American public withdraws into an insular shell of isolationism and denial of collective responsibility in spite of having enjoyed for decades the relative security and prosperity that engaged American power has provided.
The performance of the American Left since 21 August has been an utter embarrassment; exposing the vaunted activist Internet as little more than a breeding place for fatuous conspiracy theories, misdirection, unreasonable and stubborn scepticism, selfishness, wilful ignorance and misplaced moral outrage. A complete and utter shambles. Shameful.
Courageous activists and diplomats campaigned for decades to implement the hard-won provisions of an almost unanimous prohibition of chemical weapons only to have it thoughtlessly repudiated with the ridiculous argument that ‘people are just as dead’ by other means. Or compared incessantly, in ignorance of what nerve agents are capable of or intended to do, to the use of white phosphorous at Fallujah. All in support of a knee-jerk response to a proposed military action in the face of a truly inhumane war crime.
Nowhere has anyone written an expose of Russian complicity in the regime’s chemical weapons program nor provision of their strategic delivery system. Nobody has pointed out that European corporations supplied essential technology directly to Syria’s nerve agent program or that their leadership is diplomatically neutered by dependence on Russian natural gas. No campaign has begun to expose Putin’s Russia and China as enablers of this crime or question their motives; no boycotts declared or protests at the Russian embassy announced. There have been no declarations of support for a determined effort to track the perpetrators down to the ends of the Earth like Nazi war criminals.
No, nothing but criticism for a Democratic president and administration trying to thread the needle of the nation’s interests and long-term security within the realm of what is politically achievable domestically and internationally; a headwind of open antagonism, churlish dishonesty and outright deceit which the Left cheer-leads incessantly.
Opposition to military force is not unreasonable but there are few with the courage to look at the scores of horrible videos of dead and dying civilians and admit they simply choose to do nothing. No, it was faked or a ‘false flag;’ a hundred prevaricating arguments arise in the face of common sense and significant evidence because of the moral cowardice not to simply say, “It’s none of our business and we don’t care.” But apparently we don’t. So be it; but let there be no dissembling after the fact on the inevitable consequences.