Tags: Barack Obama | Middle East | Syria | bashar assad | chemical weapons | barack obama | red line

Should Have Bombed Assad, Obama Ex-Mideast Adviser Says

Should Have Bombed Assad, Obama Ex-Mideast Adviser Says
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 April 2016 05:59 PM

President Barack Obama should have followed up on his "red line" threat and bombed Syria in 2013 after President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, Philip Gordon, Obama's former Middle East adviser, told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.

Obama ended up backing down, an unpopular move among his more hawkish opponents in America and among U.S. allies who felt the empty threat weakened America's standing.

Goldberg writes he was surprised to hear Gordon offer similar sentiments.

"[W]hen the United States says you can't use chemical weapons, you can't use chemical weapons," Gordon said. "I accept that there was some risk of a slippery slope if he used [chemical weapons] again. But Assad would also have had to run that risk, and that's just the dynamic that you're in, so we needed to plant in his mind that if he tested our resolve, well, he was running a pretty big risk, too."

The move would be more achievable than regime change, Gordon said.

"What he would be saying is, 'I'm going to try to stop them from gassing people because if I don't, we are essentially saying, you can use chemical weapons as much as you like.'"
Sometimes, to maintain credibility and deterrence, "you actually have to be willing to do things that are a cost to you," he said.

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President Barack Obama should have followed up on his "red line" threat and bombed Syria in 2013 after President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, Philip Gordon, Obama's former Middle East adviser, told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.
bashar assad, chemical weapons, barack obama, red line, threat
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2016-59-20
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 05:59 PM
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