After two weeks of collective cringing as President Obama’s Syria “strategy” unraveled, even his own public relations firm — the mainstream American news media — was forced to offer some serious, albeit tepid, criticism.
MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe — an Obama apparatchik of Matthewsian proportion — was uncomfortably somber as he confessed to Charlie Rose that harsh assessments of an administration adrift, lacking “energy and ideas,” and a president “confused and confusing” on the handling of Syria, were not unreasonable in describing Obama’s bungled attempt to threaten military retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attacks that killed more than 1,400 of his own men, women and children in August.
Mercifully, these painful admissions were short lived. A flurry of breaking news stories gave Obama the cover he needed to bury the Syrian crisis. The latest round of Chicago gang violence, the Navy Yard massacre in Washington, D.C., and the Somali al-Shabab slaughter of shoppers in a Nairobi, Kenya mall flooded the airwaves, and were quickly teed up by the media to drive home another round of rhetoric about the evil of firearms.
One problem, of course, was that all three stories involved black men committing senseless acts of violence against innocent bystanders — another public relations nightmare for the left’s racial grievance industry — particularly in the case of the Navy Yard shooter.
He was the impeccably credentialed liberal Aaron Alexis, a self-described victim-of-racism-turned-meditating-Buddhist who not only had the conscientiousness to rent a Prius to drive to the scene of the crime, but entered the building armed only with an old-fashioned “Biden Blaster” shotgun — which the vice-president had encouraged Americans to purchase as their weapon of choice — presumably one of the “voices” in his head Alexis claimed to be hearing days before the carnage began.
Unfortunately, the diversionary value of this story was brief. Given the velocity of the 24/7 cable news cycle, the Syria debacle was bound to come back around to the top of the news in short order.
Fortunately, the luck of our orator-in-chief had already manifested a few days earlier as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the newly minted president of our arch-enemy Iran, Hassan Rouhani, both turned suddenly from adversary to ally when they realized Obama’s foreign policy plight.
Their stunning conversions on the road to Damascus made for an unprecedented Samaritan outpouring. They proactively offered to pressure Syria’s Assad, their beloved armaments client, to permit the destruction of his chemical weapon stockpiles by the United Nations and, in the process, extricate Mr. Obama from a potentially humiliating defeat by his own legislature.
But they went even further, allowing the Obama administration to claim that the President’s “tough stance” on Syria — the threat of imminent military intervention — was the “big stick” that had brought Assad and his global handlers to the proverbial table.
Putin even turned the other cheek when Obama surrogates insisted that, rather than a loss of leadership nerve at the eleventh hour, Obama’s hand-off to Congress for a final decision on his “tough stance” was, in reality, a Machiavellian masterstroke aimed at forcing consensus at home and baiting Putin and Company into “owning” the Syrian crisis on the world stage.