Watch the rolling live blog at the Guardian and you’ll get a sense of how upside-down the world is becoming. The United States has very few friends and many enemies involved in the fighting in Syria. But President Obama’s ill-considered year-old remarks on the “red line” — use of chemical weapons — may be drawing us and our allies into the war on the side of al Qaeda, and the Russians, Iranians, and other assorted rogue and “non-aligned” states into the war on the side of the Syrian dictatorship.
Britain may recall parliament to consider military action.
The Russians are warning that using force without the UN Security Council’s approval would be a “grave violation of international law.” And the Russians will not approve the use of force.
The Obama administration says that it will apply John Kerry’s infamous “international test” to any military action in Syria. That could see us fighting a war that France or some other ally wants, but is incapable of fighting.
There’s no question that in an all-out war, the US would easily crush the Syrian regime in a one-on-one fight. But the Russians and Iranians have an open alliance with Assad, putting their credibility on the line if war should break out. So it may not be a one-on-one fight at all. It would be a proxy war and possibly an open war. And the US doesn’t fight all-out wars anymore. We have shackled our military with rules of engagement that favor our enemies, and in the Obama era we “lead from behind.”