Obama passes the buck again, this time to the world:

My credibility is not on the line — the international community’s credibility is on the line…The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war.

But the international community doesn’t really care about its treaty or its credibility. Or rather, it “cares”—words will be spoken, but words are not acts, and the Chemical Weapons Convention (the treaty Obama appears to be referencing) contains no means of enforcement against non-signatories such as Syria, much less military enforcement.

We can go back to that recurrent question: does Obama actually believe the case to be otherwise, or is he just saying it for face-saving effect? I believe the answer is: both of the above. One of Obama’s guiding principles is internationalism, and his understanding of the international community seems to have stopped at the level he achieved as a Columbia undergraduate.

The international community is composed of nations, and only sometimes do a bunch of those nations of the international community come together on something and act. To Obama, considering the self-interest of the US is a foreign notion. But foreign nations consider their own self-interest first and foremost, and it’s not at all clear that Obama gets that concept.


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