The president that allowed us to go to an unpopular war that led to a failure to meet pre-war objectives? Not Barack Obama, but President James Madison, Founding Father and Framer! That war? The War of 1812! Congress, led by the War Hawks and Speaker of the House Henry Clay, proclaimed repeated outrage at the British policy of interfering with American merchant ships and impressing American sailors. Britain itself was focusing instead upon the Napoleonic War in Europe and had little to gain from a war with America. The real reason for the Americans to demand a war was the naive belief former American loyalists would support U.S. intervention in Canada and a subsequent civil war that would lead to the annexation of Canada into America.
What it did result in was a loss of over 1,300 American lives and the Executive Mansion (White House) being burned by British troops. With the valiant fight in Baltimore Harbor (see F.S. Key's Star Spangled Banner), America was able to sue for peace offering nothing more than a stalemate with Britain (See Treaty of Ghent).
My point is this - President Obama was painted into a corner by the war hawk Republican opposition. Their constant demands relating to Egypt and then Libya and now to Syria pushed Obama into a diplomatic corner by rendering him "weak" in the area of foreign policy. As a result, Obama miscalculated by allowing these modern day war hawks to define his foreign policy through the media. By doing so, Obama acquiesced and publicly expressed a very public "Red Line" that would force America's military hand. Since we already have declared such a line with Iran, the opposition and their supporting media have painted a picture of Obama as a "failed leader, leading from behind" that has "severely crippled America's standing and credibility in the World." Obama's reaction? Push the decision to attack Syria onto the Congress - a group that has become so dysfunctional no more than 22 bills have been passed in the current session (2/3 less than the Truman declared "Do Nothing Congress" - 1948). But does America really have to engage in any military action in Syria as claimed by the War Hawks? Should the United States intervene in a Civil War in which our interests may lose, no matter who is victorious? If we are sending a poor message to Iran, perhaps military intervention there would dissuade naysayers?
To add insult to injury, Obama's political foes created the talking points and narratives that Obama was a failure before ninety days of his first term had passed. Fox and other like-minded ideologically supporting for-profit media have continued to paint Obama as something "less" than a real American, yet today they proudly proclaim the World views Obama as "weak" and "ineffectual." Could it be the result of GOP's constant bashing of Obama? As I have written earlier, how patriotic is it for Obama's political opponents to tear apart the sitting Commander In Chief while our enemies evaluate the president's ability to act in the foreign policy arena? Wasn't there a time (not so recent past) that Americans did not disrespect a sitting president when it came to foreign policy or the military (see the Dixie Chicks)? Just recently a County GOP Party email blast painted the "Invisible Liberal Left" when it comes to moving forward with war plans. But what exactly has been established and proven that requires an American military response in Syria? And the War Hawks claiming Hussein's WMD's are all really in Syria is another nonsense argument (yet many a Fox News viewer accept it at face value).
President Obama has no one but himself to blame for the corner he is currently in when it comes to Syria. Most Americans did not "buy into" the Benghazi rhetoric coming from his opposition. So why the faux push for military intervention in Syria? A "Red Line has been crossed!" But has it? And why do chemical weapons earn the right to condemnation in the form of U.S. action when thousands are killed all over the World by bombings, beheadings, tribal wars (our eventual use of cruise missiles), or shells and bullets utilizing depleted uranium or White Phosphorous? Why are these weapons deemed "acceptable?" Dead is dead and nothing brings victims back to life. And what happens when it is quite possible nothing is accomplished by our intervention? What damage will result to American foreign policy then? And at what human cost and treasury? Have we learned absolutely nothing from the war in Iraq?
If there was ever a "Red Line" we should prepare to enforce, it is with Iran and its suicidal insistence on obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran will use their nukes and we therefore, will need to stop them before they can. Perhaps it would behoove us to plan a real strategy for stopping Iran rather than hastily planning to temporarily soothe the War Hawks in Congress with an inconclusive intervention in Syria? As President George Washington said in 1796, "...it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet be reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard." Perhaps Obama should read more about the War of 1812 and the first war America did not win?