The Clausewitz of Columbia Has Modern Problems In Syria

Syria liked Barack Obama's Red Line.
Syria liked Barack Obama’s Red Line.

The 1981 Slap-stick Comedy Film Modern Problems featured an exorcism scene. It involved a woman who was supposed to be a Caribbean Witch-Doctor and the main character, Max Fielder, that everyone had come to believe was possessed by demons. She stared down Fielder and the dialogue below ensued.


Dorita: Now, we can do this easy, or we can do it rough. These is knuckles you is looking at.
Max Fielder: [in demonic voice] Your mama.

America is blessed with a Secretary of State John Kerry who dialogues at somewhat higher levels of discourse. This is good, because Bashir Assad’s charming and delightful son has posted the following to his Facebook page.

“They may have the best army in the world, maybe the best airplanes, ships, tanks than ours, but soldiers? No one has soldiers like the ones we do in Syria,” the post’s author wrote of the United States military. “America doesn’t have soldiers, what it has is some cowards with new technology who claim themselves liberators.”

In the movie, Dorita the Caribbean Witch Doctor went through an elaborate ritual which included putting lines of “demon powder” around Max Fielder’s bed to exorcise all the demons. Here’s how well it worked. Once Max finished snorting up a bunch of powder that was supposed to banish the ‘demons’ from his system, he said the following:

So Barack Obama has told the Syrians that chemical weapon strikes were his red-line. The Syrians have proceeded to snort it up and announce that they liked it. While I shouldn’t make light of the horrors of chemical weaponry, if our beloved Commander-in-Chief, The Clausewitz of Columbia, got any lighter, perhaps Secretary Kerry would have to tie a brick around his feet to keep him from floating away.


Barack Obama has committed the cardinal sin of empirical foreign policy. He has issued a mortal threat that he merely intends to back up in a venal fashion. He has spoken loudly while wielding The Whiffle-bat of Pompous Fatuity. Only the null-set contains fewer elements than an international threat from US President Barack Obama.

How seriously has the world taken President Nobel? Not since the end of The American Revolution has the British Parliament been less excited about a military action.

In a humiliating defeat for the British leader likely to damage Cameron’s hopes of being re-elected in 2015 and set back traditionally strong U.S.-UK relations, parliament defied Cameron by 285 to 272 votes. Commentators said it was the first time a British prime minister had lost a vote on war since 1782, when parliament effectively conceded American independence by voting against further fighting to crush the colony’s rebellion.

But President Obama heeds not and seems determined to ride forth manfully into a heap of dung that resulted from his own willingness to speak first and strategize later. Jeffry Goldberg (via Karl Dennirger) offers President Obama a fig-leaf of feel-good rhetoric. He’s got to do it. He’s too nice a guy not to.

America is poised to strike at the Assad regime in good part because Obama could not resist the urge, last year, to declare publicly the existence of a chemical weapons red line that the Assad regime should not cross. Obama could not resist because the urge was morally irresistible. Like any decent human being, and like anyone with respect for international law and international norms of behavior, Obama was repulsed by the idea that the Assad regime would deploy poison gas against his own people, and he said so.


If he were any sweller, he could serve as Cory Booker’s new imaginary friend. The guy launches Tomahawk missiles out of love. But this is reality. Reality isn’t swell. Syria is even less swell and Barack Obama has no viable options to enforce his will on Bashir Assad short of sending The Imperial 1st Cav to level Damascus and then assuming American ownership over this particular piece of real-estate. Firing rockets and bombing bureaucracies will send the message of weakness that can’t even admit to the world that it is weak. I’m still steadfastly of the opinion that we should sit this one out. Syria is simply not one of America’s modern problems.


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