First of all - I'm a fan of Russia (and proud of it!) and Russia is looking very much like the good actor when it comes to Syria. At the same time, President Obama is starting to look like Bush - rushing off to bomb another country over the protests of the international community. Once again, the American government thinks that a problem or issue can simply be dealt with by bombing first without thinking through the consequences, or making attempts to work within the international system as it exists."I don't know where we got this odd notion that every time we see something bad happen in the world, we should bomb it" - Congressman Alan Grayson
The first question is: Who exactly was responsible for the nerve chemical attack that killed civilians in Damascus? It does not have to be the Assad regime that used chemical weapons, as the rebels have also used chemical weapons. The Syrian rebels are losing badly, and have been reduced to foreign jihadists from al-Qeada, and are quite isolated. Could they have something to do with this chemical attack (the use of chemical attacks is nothing new in Syria) or even had a mishap while carrying chemical weapons? There are now reports that the rebels were the ones responsible (VoR):
“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack.”See also: Is It Possible The Syrian Rebels (Not Assad) Used Chemical Weapons? - NPR - Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Carried Out by Rebels, Says UN (UPDATE) - Syria chemical weapons attack blamed on Assad, but where's the evidence? -CBS -
Any US attack against Syria will blow up in Obama's face, both at home as well as abroad. It will also pose a retaliation threat against Israel and perhaps lead to attacks against US ships and bases in the Middle East. The opposition against the Assad regime has said that any attack will just embolden and entrench the dictator. Such an attack can also blow up into a wider war with Iran getting involved to help its ally Syria. Russia could get involved - and we could see $10 a gallon gas and economic shockwaves. For the "enforcement of norms" in a far off civil war that has NO ramifications to US security, the backlash of a US attack against Syria could be huge and costly for the world, America included!
What the Obama administration needs to learn is that enforcement of international norms requires an international consensus and working with international institutions are the only means to resolve issues and enforce norms. There is the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations, but many times "justice" is not really achievable according to a powerful country's satisfaction. The international system as it exists now (and not as we want it to be) needs to be engaged over Syria, and this engagement could also have positive effects on the international system itself. Ideally, actors that use weapons of mass destruction against civilians should be punished, but this many not be the case when the actor is protected by more powerful actors (Russia and China). If a US ally used such weapons against "terrorists," for example, there would be protests in the international system, but no actor in the international community could go after the the US ally militarily - and the US ally would be protected by the US.
Russia needs to push back in the form of raising its voice and pushing the UN- which it is doing - against unilateral military attacks against Syria. Putin has rightfully demanded that the US produce any and all evidence that Assad was responsible for this attack to the Security Council. GOOD FOR PUTIN! Obama is becoming isolated as even France is now holding back and the UK will not join, with NATO firmly on the sidelines. Americans also oppose attacks against Syria and most demand that Obama consult with Congress before any attack. We need to keep pushing this... It's now time for Americans to call their members of Congress and demand that they say NO, NO and NO to any military actions against Syria! I intend to do just that!
See also: US, UK should show Syria chemical weapons intel to Russia - ex-British Navy chief - RT
We need to keep opposition to any attack against Syria - and push Obama further into isolation. Any attack will have horrible effects on Obama's popularity at home, especially with his own political base, and the Republican Party, which is now dominated by right-wing extremists and getting unpopular by the day, will gain new political life. For the rush to "enforce norms" in a far off civil war, Obama will put in jeopardy all the work here at home toward a more just and fair economy and society for all Americans! What a sad situation and what poor decision making on the part of the Obama administration!
Could this very, very stupid decision to attack Syria on the part of the increasingly isolated Obama administration also be some attempt to get back at Russia for the Snowden affair? We should be looking out for some measure of vengeance against Russia, as America is a country that takes vengeance on rivals. If it is, it will be very costly for Americans, Syrians and the rest of the world!