Syria Crisis Creates Strange Bedfellows in the U.S. and the World

There’s no telling who will pop up next on which side of the Syria debate.  Let’s review the recent state of play:

Barack Obama, who became President in part because of the purity of his opposition to taking military action against a Middle Eastern country, proposed taking military action against a Middle Eastern country. (Twice the Nobel Peace Prize winner has done this!)

Months after bitterly opposing Obama in the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling crises, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of the GOP linked arms with former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi in support of a Syria strike.

In Congress and in the country at large, Republicans — normally the more hawkish party — opposed attacking Syria more lopsidedly than Democrats.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pounced on an off-the-cuff remark by John Kerry to launch a WMD negotiation process that will buy months of time for his Syrian client Bashar al-Assad.  Without the necessary votes in Congress, Obama leapt through the Russian escape hatch.

Putin lectured America in a New York Times op-ed article, prompting stirring defenses of American exceptionalism from both the left and the right.  (My favorite line in the op-ed, from the former KGB colonel who recently signed a law banning gay-rights advocacy in Russia, is the last sentence: “We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”)

Quick, guess which commentator said this about Obama’s performance in the past week:

He willingly jumped into a bear trap of his own creation. In the process, he has damaged his presidency and weakened the nation’s standing in the world. It has been one of the more stunning and inexplicable displays of presidential incompetence that I’ve ever witnessed.

Was it 1) Charles Krauthammer; 2) Newt Gingrich; or 3) Rush Limbaugh?

Ha! Trick question. It was liberal blogger Joe Klein, writing on

I don’t know, of course, how the Syria situation is going to play out.  But I do know that a lot of people have been rethinking some of their most basic assumptions.  Maybe some good can come out of that.