In his column at NationalPost.com Conrad Black had this to say in the wake of developments surrounding Syria:
“Not since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, and prior to that the fall of France in 1940, has there been so swift an erosion of the world influence of a Great Power as we are witnessing with the United States.”
The words sting because they are indisputably true and are made more so by President Obama’s serial ineptitude and vacillation. That truth has serious implications. Here on the eve of the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, it is hard to say that America is acting in ways designed to discourage the world’s bad guys.
As an example, one year ago tomorrow, four U.S. diplomatic personnel were brutally murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Pledges by the administration to bring the perpetrators to justice have been nothing more than hollow words. The leader of the attack in Benghazi has been available for interviews on CNN and AP, yet somehow remains beyond the reach of the most powerful military on Earth.
As another example, the United States seemingly cannot deal with a small-time thug like Bashar al-Assad of Syria, instead requiring the assistance of another thug in the form of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Resistance to military action for the purpose of dealing with Syria comes at President Obama from two sides. On his left, the resistance is entirely predictable. Liberals don’t believe that war is ever justified and oppose the use of military force out of reflex. Yet, the president might could have persevered in the face of objections from his left were it not for the objections from his right. It is the traditionally hawkish right that constitutes the real problem for the president. That is because even though conservatives ordinarily approve of the use of force upon strong provocation, in this case that approval is tempered by the fact that they don’t trust the president to organize and lead the effort in such a way as to be effective.
Thus the president is caught in a squeeze that leaves him looking weak and ineffectual. That weakness becomes a part of the calculus of both friend and foe.
The sad fact is that the forces for good in the world – the United States, Britain, France, NATO – are losing power and influence. The forces for evil – al-Qaeda, Russia, Iran – are gaining power and influence. The post-World War II era of Pax Americana is apparently coming to an end.
Get ready for what happens next.