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Sabah, Turkey

America: A Lonely Cowboy on the Wrong Path


By Hasan Bulent Kahraman

Translated By Matthew Vallo

6 September 2013

Edited by Rachel Smith


Turkey - Sabah - Original Article (Turkish )

In international politics, there are moments that twist fate and change your prospects. Obama is currently standing at such a threshold. The back-to-back publication of articles by The New York Times, one of the world's most serious media organizations, is enough to show how dramatic the situation confronting Obama is.

First, let's look at an editorial from an anonymous source that was published in the International Herald Times on Wednesday, Sept 4. It emphasizes two points. First, it asks, since Obama designated the use of chemical weapons as a red line, why didn’t the international community decide on a strategy long in advance of the event that Assad took such a step? In other words, the editorial is saying, Obama did nothing to this day, and now he is forced into action as a result of his own statement. Frankly, the paper is evaluating Obama as a clumsy novice. On top of that, the International Herald Times is at a loss to explain how a limited strike would dissuade Assad from further action. In other words, the paper is saying that President Obama needs to address this.

Secondly, the article talks about Obama's general situation. The president took a very strong stance on the Middle East. His main goal was to extricate the United States from the quagmire it found itself in there. He succeeded in doing this. After that he had looked at other events from a distance without getting involved. This pleased the whole world by making them believe that the United States had stepped back from its role as the world police power.

Now Obama, quite unprepared, is returning once again to that quagmire. The New York Times and International Herald Times are evaluating this venture as unfortunate. How could they not?

The Republicans, by giving their support to Obama, are opening a path to the destruction of the reputation he had built. By counting their support as a positive development and continuing along the path, Obama is being deceived. We can label this as someone believing they understand politics being easily led into a trap.

This situation had other alternatives. The first is the editorial that I mentioned previously, which recommended taking precautions earlier. Other options were put forward yesterday in two separate articles, written by Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro from Yale Law School, an indisputable institution. They say it is not possible; any intervention without the support of the United Nations would be extremely problematic. Rather than rushing, Obama should try other options, which could be anything from placing an embargo on firms that do business with Syria to turning the international community into a more serious sanctioning power. He has the tools; he should use them. The authors, evaluating the U.N. founders' rule that allows a vote by one of five nations to bring the body to a standstill, assert that the U.N. has a very important role to play; as such they strongly criticize any attempt to go around it.

Some of our writers tend to take the Kosovo intervention as a guideline to Obama's intervention today. The Clinton administration found itself engaged in an important mission. Now read what James Rubin, professor at Oxford, wrote. He says that there isn't even a slight resemblance between the 1999 Kosovo intervention and the current Syrian intervention. In that intervention NATO was involved, the United Nations provided legitimacy, Russia recognized the gravity of the situation and from the first day the United States stressed the vital importance of political stability in Europe. However, none of those factors prove to be the case now in Syria. Come on, the U.S. government would never listen to me, but are they also not reading these articles?



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