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Saturday, September 7, 2013

A View From The Upper Midwest

For John, BLUFCongress has to look at more than just going after Syria for use of chemical weapons.  This brings up many more issues for their consideration.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

At the STrib we have an OpEd on President Obama's proposal to dope slap President Assad (around 150 Sea Launched Cruise Missiles) for the apparent use of chemical weapons, which are being characterized as Weapons of Mass Destruction.  The author, Mr Andrew Borne, is an accomplished student of military and national security affairs.

With so much on the line, President Obama made a wise decision to consult with Congress before launching punitive missile strikes on President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. Congressional support for the president’s request to meet limited foreign policy goals of deterrence and disruption of Syria’s WMD capabilities would give important legitimacy to multilateral and legally justified action.

Political leaders have a responsibility to protect the human rights of their people — and the international community acts when individual governments break inviolable standards of conduct.  The civilized world has a strategic interest in enforcing the rules against chemical weapons use.

Yet, even as that debate happens, more global diplomatic and legal action can be taken against Assad, while Congress and the nation can resolve a serious foreign policy resources crisis.

The next right thing for Congress to debate is not only authorization for the use of force, but also resources for what comes next.  In more than a vote of authorization on Syria, Congress should also decide to eliminate the sequester, and to make a commitment to funding U.S.-led diplomatic, development and intelligence operations around the world.

The author makes a nice move to drag Sequestration into the discussion, and not without reason.  While the Administration is trying to pivot our foreign policy toward the Western Pacific, the Levant just keeps dragging us back in.  And, not only is this current crisis pretty open ended, there is likely to be another one just down the road.  While people like Michael Cohen argue that we are safer now, humans have a tendency to up their view of the threat, even as the threat recedes.

But, it all demands we get our financial house in order.

Here is Mr Borene's last paragraph:

The true decision of historic importance Congress needs to make now is not whether to authorize force this month.  It is whether it chooses to begin another military operation on the cheap or to support investment in America’s future foreign policy independence and global leadership.
Let us avoid the "it seemed like a good deal at the time" mentality.  This may seem to be about chemical weapons, but once we move it will also be about "securing the weapons", the Syrian refugees (some 2 million), Israel and the Palestinians and the direction the Middle East will be taking.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The Star Tribune of Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
  When we call chemical weapons "Weapons of Mass Destruction" we are diluting the meaning of the term WMD and we are also confusing categories of weapons.  Used in mass and with skill chemical weapons can kill thousands of unprepared people over time.  On the other hand, even small nuclear weapons can kill ninety thousand people, in a flash.  Biological weapon are their own thing.
  Mr Andrew Borene is a former U.S. Marine officer with experience in Iraq.  He is now an attorney, a high-tech executive and an adjunct professor of national security policy at Macalester College, St Paul, Minnesota.  He also serves on the Defense Council of the Truman National Security Project.
  Not to be confused with the Truman Show.

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