Friday, August 30, 2013

The Frogs Die In Earnest*

I never thought I'd be agreeing with the British Parliament, but their decision to stay out of the mess in Syria is shockingly rational. I repeat my stance — There are very few governments in the world, and none in the Middle East, that don't deserve to be overthrown, but in most cases the people of those sad countries certainly don't deserve the death and misery that would result from such an overthrow.  Especially considering that such governments are almost always replaced by government that also deserve to be overthrown, so the beat goes on.

A lot of people have pointed out involvement in Syria is completely contrary to American interests, and nobody's pointed out any flaw in that logic. The thing is, of course, that such involvement might well be good for Obama's interests. He seems to think so, anyway.  It'll make him look like a tough guy, or so goes the theory.  A better theory is expressed over at Justnotsaid:

All for the sake of Obama's credibility

By clearly outlining what would compel us to enter into the Syrian conflict, Barack Obama effectively turned himself into Robert Conrad saying, "I dare you to knock this battery off my shoulder. C'mon, I dare you," in those old battery ads.

He became Clint Eastwood saying, "Make my day."

He morphed into George W. Bush (his own personal hero) saying to the Taliban, "Bring it on."

This may not be the way Obama sees himself, but it's who he is, for now. His basic self image, of course, is of a guy so charismatic that other world leaders will by swayed by his wonderful powers of oratory.

But now that soaring oratory ("a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,”) has painted him into a corner.

In fairness to Obama, his original intent was not to look macho. He was asked what it would take to get the US involved in Syria, and he gave an off the cuff answer which was intended to make it sound as if he cared about Syrian civilians.

We have no vital interests in Syria, and the public has no appetite for another Mideast incursion. But Barack wants to maintain his street cred, so here we go.

Again. The US will spend millions of dollars, and Syrians will die.

Of course, John McCain and the rest of the War Axis aren't framing the decision this way. They're talking about how it's the country'scredibility and standing which are at risk. But Obama's motivation is a little different. See, once you've played Dirty Harry, you can't back down, or you look silly. And weak.

But does anyone really think that launching a few Tomahawks will make Obama look like a strong, decisive leader? Or will people now be even more inclined to see him as a guy who shouldn't talk without the aid of a Teleprompter?

The unnamed U.S. official who spoke to the L.A. Times earlier this week seemed to have gotten right to the core of Obama's motive: the White House, he said, was probing a strike with a level of intensity “just muscular enough not to get mocked.”

So, now we get to see Barack flex his muscles.

Perhaps, when he announces the strike on national television, they can play Jim Croce's hit, You Don't Mess Around with Jim, in the background:

Yeah you don't tug on Superman's cape 
You don't spit into the wind 
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger 
And you don't mess around with Slim

Of course, given that Obama spent a fair amount of time in the Windy City, perhaps Croce's other hit, Bad Bad Leroy Brown might be even more appropriate:

Well the south side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man name of Leroy Brown

Yep, you don't mess around with Big Bad Barack Obama.

*No, this is not a reference to France.  It is a reference to Bion of Borysthenes, who wrote:  "Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport but in earnest."


  1. Baloo --
    Thank you very much, as always.

  2. Eager Young LiberalAugust 31, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    I think we actually agree on something for once. Everyone deserves to live in a country that isn't actively trying to kill them, and as a pacifist I do not believe that the answer is more violence.



    Karl Denninger was one of the founding forces behind the Tea Party.

    He quit a month later after it became clear that it has been taken over by partisan Republican...can I use the word?...I guess I'll just say "operatives."

    Denninger is one of the very few people I know who is able to to see the connections between America's collapsing business culture, Fed and Big Bank fraud, and the US government lust for power overseas.

    He's generally not a dove, but as you can see he is 100% against a military attack on Syria for completely rational and unemotional reasons.

    This is one you can play for your friends who think "we have to do something."

  4. Paul Craig Roberts weighs in on this:

  5. If we don't attack Syria, after Barack Obama said he would, then he won't be the No Limit Nigga of international politics anymore.