Obama’s Syria pitch: How pivotal a moment for the U.S.?

Obama makes his case for intervention in national address tonight

When U.S. President Barack Obama takes his case for a strike against Syria to the American people tonight, he will be making a pitch to a country where many are at best only lukewarm toward the thought of intervening in a civil war that has taken more than 100,000 lives.

On Monday, a poll by The Associated Press found that most Americans oppose even a limited attack on Syria. That response comes even though they’ve been told — repeatedly — by the administration that doing nothing, particularly in the face of apparent chemical weapons use, would risk national security and ignore a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions.

The current debate — which will officially make its way to the U.S. Congress later this week — brings with it questions over the extent to which a country where many seem weary with war intervenes or isolates itself from the world stage.

And it also leaves open the question of whether the Syrian crisis is another in a long line of pivotal moments for the largest military and economic power in the world.

“Is it a referendum on isolationism versus interventionism — yes it is, and that’s an ongoing conversation in America,” says Peter Loewen, a political science professor and director of the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

“But the pendulum has swung more towards isolationism than ever in the last 15 years.”

Loewen sees several factors playing into that swing: the U.S. experience and “lack of apparent success” in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fact that “Syria is a particularly messy case,” and the nature of domestic politics at the moment. Read More

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s