Dissent in the ranks…
Over fifty members of the Obama administration have signed a memo urging the president to take a more aggressive approach to Syria. The signers, who are all diplomats, recommend an increase in airstrikes.
The New York Times reports:
51 U.S. Diplomats Urge Strikes Against Assad in Syria
More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.
The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times by a State Department official, says American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”
Such a step would represent a radical shift in the administration’s approach to the civil war in Syria, and there is little evidence that President Obama has plans to change course. Mr. Obama has emphasized the military campaign against the Islamic State over efforts to dislodge Mr. Assad. Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, have all but collapsed.
But the memo, filed in the State Department’s “dissent channel,” underscores the deep rifts and lingering frustration within the administration over how to deal with a war that has killed more than 400,000 people.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer recently discussed the issue with Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official:
Joseph P. Williams of U.S. News and World Report, notes a political aspect of this development:
Diplomats’ Dissent Over Syria Widens Policy Split Between Obama and Clinton
There hasn’t been much political daylight between President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ presumptive choice to succeed him, and for good reason: As a former member of his cabinet, she can help cement his legacy, while he gives her the “halo effect” of a second-term president with a 51 percent approval rating.
Except when it comes to the deadly Rubik’s Cube of a war in Syria, where Clinton has argued for more intervention but Obama, backed by the Pentagon, is not willing to enter what he sees as a military quagmire.
But a back-channel State Department cable urging the president to take military action against the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria arguably widened the biggest policy split between the commander-in-chief and his former secretary of state – and sides with her.
Odds are Obama would rather just wait out the rest of his presidency than deal with this.
Why should we expect anything different?
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