Former UN ambassador John Bolton has slammed President Barack Obama’s threat to act if Syria used chemical weapons against its own people, saying, “his rhetoric has now crashed into reality.”
In an Op-Ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal
, Bolton said Obama has boxed himself in now that evidence is growing that Bashar Assad’s regime has used such weapons.
“No doubt we will soon hear calls for International Criminal Court indictments of Assad and his henchmen for crimes against humanity. That, in State Department parlance, would be a ‘strong signal,’ probably followed by a ‘stiff note’ to Assad's friends in the Kremlin,” Bolton wrote.
“How they will tremble in Damascus.“
Bolton said that if Obama allows his red line on the use of chemical weapons to be crossed without serious consequences it would represent “his latest act of foreign-policy fecklessness,” which could embolden “Iran, North Korea, and other adversaries, whether states or terrorists, that he is not a force to be reckoned with,” wrote Bolton.
Even the Syrian president appears to have gambled that Obama’s words were empty, he suggested, and that is why he appears to have used the weapons in isolated attacks rather than wait for one major assault on the rebels. “Assad may have simply calculated that Mr. Obama, regardless of his rhetoric, would not act on the evidence of relatively limited chemical-weapons use.”
Bolton, currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that it is still not clear whether Obama plans “anything beyond diplomacy and still more rhetoric.”
“The president’s unfortunate behavior to date has already caused grave damage to his personal credibility internationally, and, far more serious, to that of the United States government.”
Indeed, “the most urgent new reality,” asserts Bolton, “is the further shredding of any confidence in Mr. Obama’s monotonous assurances to Israel that he will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons."
Unfortunately, Bolton adds, “This wound to U.S. credibility is now part of Mr. Obama’s legacy.”
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