The largest bet that can be made in poker is to go “all in” – putting all one’s money on just one set of cards. But sometimes in real life, the greatest gamble is by doing little or nothing. And that’s basically what US President Barack Obama outlined as his plan for the Middle East’s biggest concerns.
On Syria and Iran, Obama’s approach sounds mostly like more of the same – that even he noted hasn’t worked. In his speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, he said that the Syrian regime could not be removed by force. He then urged Syria’s allies – Russia and Iran – to abandon the regime.
But talk does little. And aside from sounding serious about Syria really giving up their chemical weapons and noting that the international community should act to prevent mass murder, Obama doesn’t sound interested in any major involvement at this point in Syria.
The tragedy is that that will only enable extremists to grow and flourish even more in the war-torn nation. Terrorists are more and more likely to find a fertile ground for setting up a base and recruiting desperate would-be terrorists. We’ve seen what Al-Qaeda can do in Afghanistan. Yet Obama is betting that America can blend in with the global crowd on Syria – which to this point has meant doing little – and it will turn out ok.
Similarly, his insistence on diplomacy with Iran raises eyebrows. Iran is using friendly words these days, and Obama did say that Iran has to do more than just talk. But it was clear Obama was trying to tone down the rhetoric on Iran’s nuclear program.
Maybe that will work and Iran is ready to open up and halt their pursuit of nuclear weapons. But we’re running low on time. If Iran is actually just buying the months they need to go nuclear, then this gamble could literally blow up in America’s face.
The lesson from Syria appeared clear – a real threat of war led to a panicked regime backing down on their weapons of mass destruction. But instead of a real threat, Obama seemed to back down himself in his tone toward Iran.
It looks like more of what Obama has been doing for the past 4-plus years. So far it hasn’t worked. And Obama is betting our future that it will.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 24, 2013)