Speeches by Guys in Hermes Ties

Big Red Car here.  So The Boss is still in the Carolinas helping the Cub move to his new digs in Charlotte.  The Queen City is a great city and is one of those great American cities that are emerging as regional centers of growth, culture and commerce.  The Boss is very high on Charlotte.

So what’s going on in Syria now with the President’s decision to put the entire Syria initiative in front of the US Congress for direction?

Why ask Congress?

The Big Red Car is not a huge fan of President Obama primarily because he is a feckless and inexperienced leader who appears to be unable to create a disciplined decision-making policy mechanism.  His staff bears as much, if not more, responsibility for being unable to maintain focus — jobs, economy — while formulating a disciplined methodology with which to present decisions and solutions to the President.

Previous Presidents, like Eisenhower and Reagan, had decades of executive or military service to inform them as to how to formulate and undertake decisions.  This is the product of experience and President Obama has simply not had that experience and is not good at it for that reason.  This is not an indictment of the President, simply a statement of facts.

The Big Red Car cannot ski the moguls for the same reason — lack of experience.  Though, of course as we all know, if the Big Red Car ever decided to cruise the bumps, well he would excel at it.  [Haha, Big Red Car, you only entertain and amuse………………………….yourself.  Sorry.]

The Congressional decision

The Big Red Car has a funny view on things here.  The Big Red Car thinks the Congress should approve the President’s request to take action against Syria not on the merits of the case but rather because American foreign policy is the responsibility of the Executive Branch not the individual policy initiative of each Senator and Congressman.

The President must be left alone and unfettered to conduct HIS foreign policy and should therefore be given the authority to act.  He should explain is foreign policy but at the end of the day, it is the job of the President to conduct the foreign policy of the United States.

Having said “not on the merits of the case”, the Big Red Car wants to acknowledge that Secretary Kerry did a superb job of framing the facts and issues.  He did a damn good job of convincing a grand jury that an indictment should be handed down.  He did not establish the presence of a national security threat to the United States.

Action plan

The notion of “limited action” and a “shot across the bow” seem particularly ineffective.  If you were Bashar al-Assad could you possibly feel more chagrined than having gone 75 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.  If you do not make the Butcher of Dasmascus suffer and bleed, why should he care at all?  How will you modify his behavior?  The simple answer to both is that he will not care and you will not modify his behavior.  He is a bastard.  Bastards do not care how many shots you take across their bows.  They do care about shots at their heads.

Why should the US not seek regime change as an outcome?  Isn’t it the man with his finger on the trigger of the chemical weapons who has to be influenced?  And isn’t killing him the ultimate message that such behavior will not be tolerated?  So, let’s kill Bashar al-Assad rather than giving him a shot across the bow.

The Big Red Car does want to rag the administration a bit about having sacrificed tactical surprise.  Ya’ll are sentenced to a few chapters of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz — come on, ya’ll, telegraphing our actions to our enemies?  Really?  That’s stuff that cadets learn their first year at the USMA (the VMI of the North) or VMI.  Get with it, ya’ll.

Strategic implications

Let’s make damn sure we understand the strategic implications.

Syria has about 22MM people.  Less than Texas.  The fate of Syria is not going to impact the United States militarily, strategically, economically or any manner that would rise to a national strategic interest.

Syria is a bosom buddy and ally of Iran and the two together account for almost all of the state sponsored terrorism in that region of the world.  Iran has its elite units — Quds and its Republican Guard — in Syria and lending direct military support to the Assad regime.  Fighting right alongside these bastards.

Syria is Russia’s last Middle Eastern ally, client state really and big buyer of Russian armaments.  The Russians are spoiling for an opportunity to embarrass the United States as a means toward rebuilding their lost former superpower prestige.  Putin, in particular, enjoys poking his thumb in President Obama’s eye and the President has given him a lot of opportunities to use his opposable thumb for just that purpose.

The United States has endured a number of unfortunate but self inflicted embarrassments including its bad call on two Egyptian regimes, the notion of “leading from behind” in Libya, the Benghazi incident, the continuing and ineffective Iranian sanctions, the cooling of the Israeli relationship, loss of any strategic position in Iraq effectively allowing Iraq to slip back into darkness and the surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban.

The Middle East views the Obama administration as ripe for provocation, ineffective in its diplomatic efforts and now militarily indecisive.  We are losing our way in the Middle East.

Actions speak louder than words

To compound the impact of the President retreat from threatened action — he of red lines and consequences — you have the obvious messaging contained in the President’s failure to call Congress back into session immediately coupled with his decision to play a bit of golf.  The impending unleashing of military action, the use of chemical weapons are of such importance that the President……………………went out to play golf.

So what do we get instead?

Speeches from guys who wear Hermes ties.  The ultimate American response to everything these days.  Bit of showmanship.  Bit of brinksmanship.  Big of posturing.

And, then, speeches from guys who wear Hermes ties.  America’s national strategic interests are not advanced by speeches from guys in Hermes ties.  Sorry.

But, hey, what the Hell do I know anyway?  I’m just a Big Red Car.

 

 

  • A very strange decision and I share the fear that a limited strike is worth than doing nothing at all. The worrisome thing is that Obama put himself in this position with his red line talk last year and it seems like he is trying to save face.

    • Yeah, it looks exactly like that. Doesn’t it remind you to the missiles Clinton launched over Irak when newspapers were talking too much about his activities in the Oral Office? Light war for internal consumption.

  • Mac

    Charlotte is one of those vibrant cities with a lot of energy and optimism. What school?
    It also has an excellent education system with both public and independent schools leading the sate.

    FYI: On a personal note, I introduced my sons to Miss Angel Oak last week. Interesting how all three, along with the other visitors, stood there in silent reverence at this magnificent tree. Even witnessed some of the Japanese visitors taking what a appeared to be their customary bowing position.

    Funny side story: Met a guy on that same trip who grew up in that area. He told me how he and his buddies used to sneak onto the Angel Oak at night, tell stories, get drunk and fall off the branches. Not something you hear often. Probably a right of passage for the Lowcountry.

    • JLM

      .
      Number One son is an investment banker in Charlotte. Just moved from San Francisco. Supports himself completely. Oh, happy day!

      The Angel Oak is unbelievable. I have pics of when I was there last.

      BRC
      .

  • Asking the congress for permission about going to war sounds to me like hiring consultants to validate/share-the-blame about strategic decisions only the CEO should make. Sometimes you have to own your choices, and war seems like a clear example of that.

    • JLM

      .
      The Big Red Car agrees more with you than you do with yourself.

      American foreign policy is the sole province of the President. It is NOT a legislative function.

      While the Congress is the only entity that can formally declare war, the War Powers Act of 1973 provides ample authority for the President to act. The WPA is likely unconstitutional to boot.

      It did not prevent Clinton from acting in Kosovo even when he did not receive a favorable vote of the Congress.

      President Obama is a feckless leader prone to playing to the cheap seats. This is his way of backing down and trying to blame it on the House Republicans. You heard that here first.

      The conduct of American foreign policy in the Middle East has been a freakin’ disaster ever since the inauguration of the Obama administration. It is going to get worse and the situation with Iran will be a huge problem.

      BRC
      .

      • I don’t know much about the distribution of power in the US, but I do know that executive power should mean decisions, not consultations. Very few things –if any– can be managed by consensus, and a country is not one of those.

        I must admit, however, that trying to do the right thing in the Middle East is almost impossible. Chosing between the bad and the worst all the time must be hard. I’m not sure there is a solution other than not depending on them for our energy. Even that would not be enough probably. Anyway, that’s not an excuse, making decisions is the first line in the job description.