Decision Delayed, Jon and Max Still Mum

by lizard

The Senate vote to authorize military action against Syria has been postponed, so maybe it’s smart politics for Jon Tester and Max Baucus to remain mum on how they may vote. Steve Daines, on the other hand, is more than happy to get headlines aligning his NO vote with popular opinion. Good politics for Montana’s next Senator.

Almost every way you look at the various rhetoric supporting authorizing military force, it doesn’t make sense. The Polish Wolf has a post worth reading. In addition to asking if it’s prudent for Congress to set a precedent of using military force to address this particular international norm—a norm that sprang from a historical context of trench warfare that doesn’t exist today—PW also makes the good point that doing so could gift competing nations, like Russia and China, with a new template for targeted military intervention of their own.

Overwhelming popular opposition to this military intervention is buying time, and during this dangerous time period, it’s only going to get worse for those in and around Syria. Whatever is really going on in this geopolitical proxy war, the hell of it is unimaginable.

I’m also having difficulty trying to imagine what exactly the president is going to say tomorrow.

  1. Daines wet his finger and stuck it up in the air.

    That makes him senate material?

    • lizard19

      no, but he’s garnering positive media, and as the presumptive frontrunner, with no significant Democrat opposition, I think it just adds the likely scenario he will win the seat.

    • Pete Talbot

      I’ll take a ‘no’ vote anywhere I can get it but I’m guessing Daines isn’t being altruistic here. The folks lining up behind Obama are moderate Democrats and Republicans. Those further to the left and right are opposing military strikes. We know that Daines isn’t to the left, so he’s basically voting with the Tea Party obstructionists who hate anything that Obama advances. That might or might not hurt him in a Senate bid. I wonder how Daines would vote if the President was a Republican?

      • Craig Moore

        Pete, there are conservatives like me that are dead set against bombing Syria because it does NOT end chemical weapons, does NOT end the killing of Syria civilians, does NOT get rid of Assad, and does NOT protect US national interests and safety. Kick a wasp nest without the means to win the battle against those angry critters and see what happens. There is politics being played here, by Obama to distract from his failings.

        While all this nonsense is going on, not the blogs or serious news organizations are reporting how Obama’s administration is cheating Indian tribes on healthcare. Now what do Tester and Baucus have to say about this? Syria is a distraction. The time to have acted was long ago if humanitarian considerations are the reason.

        • JC

          Craig, assume that Obama’s policy did include “get rid of Assad” and “protect US national interests and safety.” With whom do you propose that we replace Assad besides just another American installed patsy? And how are “US national interests and safety” threatened by the Assad regime?

  2. Turner

    The surprising and positive initiative being advanced by Russia is something our country might get behind. The administration is officially skeptical about it. But who knows what’s happening behind the scenes.

    I suspect t’s probably no longer a case of whether or not to bomb. The threat of bombing, however, seems to have succeeded in getting Syria and Russia to scramble for a way to eliminate or reduce chemical weapons. So we might see some “good cop” (Obama) “bad cop” (Kerry) pressure working to some good effect.

    In tonight’s speech, I suspect Obama will describe the situation as “fluid” and back away from his demand for limited air strikes. I wish he’d commit to helping the refugees from Syria. This would be a proper, missile-less use of compassion.

    • JC

      You think our threat to bomb brought Russia and Syria to the table? More likely Putin is using Syria and Assad as just another way to point out that Obama is weak and ineffectual and can’t get his own way in Congress or with the American public. Pay attention to the totality of Putin’s public stances toward Obama and the United States. He smells blood.

      • Turner

        In this situation it’s too early to determine cause and effect. You can assign your own, if you insist. But time will tell.

      • Craig Moore

        Agreed. Neither ally nor enemy respects us now.

        • Who are our allies here? As far as I can tell, they consist of Francois Hollande, and maybe Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The British and French people oppose intervention, the American people oppose intervention, I haven’t even seen any evidence that the average Turk supports it, although Turkey is the country closest aligned with the militants in Syria. A lot of conservatives insist that we earn international ‘respect’, that not punitively bombing Syria is somehow ‘humiliating’. In reality, it’s just good politics. We get what we want in Syria for free, and don’t have to get our hands dirty. The rush to find something Obama did wrong ignores the fact that this is close to the best possible outcome of the situation. Like in Libya, we get what we want the easy way, and some people seem disappointed we didn’t go it alone just to create the appearance of being macho.

          • JC

            Who is this “we” and what is it that you suppose that “they want?” As far as I can tell, you want the status quo minus the chemical weapons regardless of who may use them. You’ve still got a hundred thousand dead. Is it any more soothing to you that they died from bombs instead of chemicals?

            Americans and the international community are not of a single mind as to what is best for Syria or for “our” best interests (whatever that may be), even if you use the collective “we.”

            Here, go read about Syrian anarchist resistance, and factor that into your world view. Maybe if we took the time to understand other than the traditional binary view of the world we can see that our interests do not really intersect with those who truly have their country’s best interests in mind.

            • Craig Moore

              “You’ve still got a hundred thousand dead. Is it any more soothing to you that they died from bombs instead of chemicals?”

              Precisely. This is the point I have pressed with others. BTW, every bomb blast is a chemical reaction. Nothing in Obama’s speech last night convinced me that involving our country in a civil war at this point is in our national interest. How is killing thousands of civilians with conventional weapons any more humanitarian than using chemical cocktail weapons thereby justifying our involvement?
              The instrumentality of mass destruction should not be the deciding factor.

          • Craig Moore

            PW, I take issue with your statement that we got what we wanted the easy way in Lybia. Dead Americans and an attack on American soil. The situation is deteriorating.

            The families of those dead Americans still await real answers.

  3. Big Swede

    You guys need to get with the program.

  4. lizard19

    the Cowgirl has a post up titled Syria and Montana’s Vote. it’s an interesting piece of partisan assumptions, wishful thinking, and faith. here is a taste:

    I’m tempted to have a violent, allergic reaction to the President’s advocacy of using force in Syria, given our hangover from the Iraq War, given that the Assad family has been killing Syrians wrongfully, tens or even hundreds of thousands of them, with conventional weapons; and that the White House has not provided a vision for a successful end game if Assad goes down.

    But of all the people on earth to be advocating for a new military engagement in the middle east, Barack Obama is probably the least likely. For this reason, I believe, we should avoid a rush to judgment and think critically about what’s going on. Barack Obama does not strike me as a person who shares George W. Bush’s love of military invasion.

    Also, John Boehner and Eric Cantor, two giant right-wing jerks who have never before supported anything the President has put forward on any topic or issue, immediately announced their support for the President. This, despite the major political peril of doing so–a strike in Syria, and a bad result, could mean the ouster of both of them, from leadership, or office by a conservative primary challenge in their own districts. Conservative voters are anti-war as of late, now that a black man is President.

    I assume, therefore, that whatever intelligence Obama showed them was not of the George Bush Dick Cheney Don Rumsfeld junk-bond variety, but of the blue-chip variety, the 99% certainty–the kind that we should have demanded before giving support to Bush to invade Iraq. I find it impossible to believe that Cantor and Boehner would go out on this limb based on speculative intelligence.

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