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    Posted November 3, 2013 by
    Melbourne, Australia

    PlaCentaNews and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Should the West intervene in Syria?
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    Nations rise and fall over decades, but sometimes a single event takes on a symbolic importance when it seems to reveal an essential truth about a situation that has slowly evolved into being. America’s President Barack Obama's reluctant approach to using military force, as well as his evident failure to win Congressional and popular support, marks the moment when the US stepped down from its role as a global superpower. Both men are worried that the United States is drawing in on itself, and warn that a world where the US does not have a clear leadership role will be even more dangerous than the one we already know.
    In contrast, this has been a very good leap for President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation. His bold plan for Syria to give up its chemical weapons - now formalized in the Geneva agreement - may turn out to be completely impractical. And yet it was immediately seductive to all the principle powers. It lets Obama off the hook. For the time being, at least, he does not have to face an embarrassing defeat in Congress that would have left him with the grand dilemma of whether to pursue military action anyway.
    The truth is that it is America’s threats to use force after the Syrian army cross Obama’s Red Line that drove President Bashar al-Assad to agree to sign up to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Syrian regime, for its part, avoided the risk of an immediate attack, and will surely try to obfuscate and delay in the periods ahead.
    Russia used this political escalator to leap back at the top table of global diplomacy, talking to the US as a true equal for the first time since the end of the Cold War. The Geneva agreement ensures the two sides are locked in negotiations that could last for months or even years. Putin, full of chutzpah, even wrote an article in the New York Times, warning Americans that they were not so exceptional after all.
    Chemical weapons have only caused a tiny fraction of the casualties in the civil war in Syria. Russia has achieved its agenda to continue carrying on providing military support to Assad with the US stepping up arms shipments to the opposition.
    Putin ensured that his Geneva agreement cemented the seesaw which would keep the Americans and Russians talking to each other, and in the process help revive the moribund talks on a wider peace agreement. Now that would be a good way to show that a new, multipolar world, can work better than the one we seem to be leaving behind.
    Away from that, Forbes dropping Barack Obama to the number two spot behind Vladimir Putin as the most powerful man in the world misses two big points.
    (i) It is confusing the power of the U.S. with the power of its President. The U.S. is many times larger economically and militarily than Russia. There’s no disputing that. The Forbes survey was a ranking of people, not countries or companies.
    (ii) People misjudge that President Obama is weak internationally by choice. What I think is he is busy amassing immense, unprecedented powers over the economy. If Congress won’t pass one of his desired pieces of legislation, he’ll try to achieve his ends through decrees, a.k.a. executive orders, or unprecedented and sweeping regulatory rulings. The niceties of the law have never stopped this White House from doing what it desires. The Obama Administration routinely ignores adverse court rulings. Brazenly lying to the public is no barrier, as the President’s oft-repeated pledge that people could, if they wished, keep their health insurance policies and doctors demonstrates. From the get-go ObamaCare wanted to destroy the market for individual medical-care policies and to obliterate the practices of sole medical practitioners. Hardcore socialists have long understood that it’s much easier to regulate people when they’re herded into collectives.
    (iii) There will be some shocking revelations about Obama in the year 2014. Obama has Republicans on the defensive, pushing them on guns, on immigration reform, and on a budget deal, and that’s good for the president and for Democrats. Obama is pressing for martial Law – a most delicate matter that the so called “superpower personalities rankers” fail to see.
    It may be seen that Obama has been weakened politically by the botched introduction of the health exchanges, people’s outrage over being lied to about being able to maintain their existing policies and the deepening malaise over the lagging economy. But to the President what matters is that his power grabs have not been rolled back.
    In conclusion, President Obama should recharge US global influence and listen to Saudi Arabia’s quest in the Middle East. He should intervene in Syria in his own right, not through Vladimir Putin’s process.

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