In the Syria saga, we are getting a good glimpse of how political decisions are made in a gargantuan democracy, and we are also getting quite a cash payout — worth a great deal to me at any rate — of Ron Paul’s apparently quixotic presidential runs.
Let me state the conclusion first. I am convinced that – despite the blinkered limitations of pure libertarianism when it comes to foreign-policy in the Middle East – the presence of a significant libertarian mindset in the Republican Party has been beyond helpful in this situation. I think an ideologically pure libertarian foreign policy would be a disaster. But I also think the current endless war policy is a disaster, and I like very much the fact a good portion of our population — for whatever reasons — has gotten kind of surly about it.
Let us be frank. There are many in the GOP who tend to give reflexive deference to the president when it comes to military actions like this, in which phrases like “in harm’s way,” “our men and women in uniform,” and so on can be used, but the presence of the libertarian faction within the party has meant an argument needed to have been made. In order to do something like this now, you actually have to persuade somebody. In this case, because there wasn’t a good argument, we have had a surprising turn against Syrian military action among mainstream conservatives. Obama’s dithering gave that opposition time to think for minute and coalesce.
I mean, think about it. What are the odds of every war being a good idea?
Second, this whole fiasco, combined with Obama’s wafted-way-above-his-pay-grade-hubris, has apparently given us the great gift of Obama’s second term being lived out in lame-duck city for perhaps a full three years. The president has beyond bungled this whole thing, and is pretty miffed that the Syrians on both side of their conflict have not given him the affirmative action waiver that he has repeatedly requested. They won’t even return the State Department’s calls anymore.
In short, the president is now manifestly in that realm where his paradigm and self-identity are being completely overwhelmed by things like “experiences,” “events,” “exigencies,” “emergencies,” and “eggs.” I only said eggs because I needed another e to make it flow to the end.
The president is in a bad jam, pretty much of his own making, and pretty much everybody knows it. I am anticipating things getting, simultaneously, much muddier and much clearer, by which I mean that it will be very clear how muddy it is.