Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Brer Rabbit Gambit

Brer Rabbit by illustrator 
A.B. Frost.

So does President Barack Obama want to bomb Syria, or not?”

Maybe. Or maybe Obama wants to be slowed down and prevented by Congress and other nations from bombing Syria, just long enough to force a better solution to this dilemma than bombing Syria.

The wily Commander in Chief might have said, "Please don’t make me NOT bomb Syria."

The wiliest reverse psychologist of all-time, Brer Rabbit, would have understood the strategy immediately.

Note: for anyone who could have a fit of despair over the perceived inappropriateness of mentioning a Uncle Remus character and Obama in consecutive paragraphs, perhaps this commentary about current events is one you should skip reading.

Back to Syria, a country I’ve never see with my own eyes and one I know very little about: Since the news about the use of chemical weapons in Syria surfaced last month Obama has had a nasty problem on his hands. At this point, the most nettlesome aspect of it seems to be the distinct possibility of it drawing the USA into killing more people in the Middle East -- all in the name of seeking peace.

Perhaps the only good thing about this new problem, so far, is that it has shoved the news about Republicans in Congress playing games with the debt ceiling and a government shutdown off the front page. Which is one of the clues to what Obama may be up to with his threats to punish Syria's wicked dictatorship for its supposed use of chemical weapons.

Syria’s President Bashar Hafez al-Assad denies it; evidence be damned, he’s sticking to his story. Well, I have no idea how good the “proof” is that makes Assad look like he’s lying through his dictator teeth. Time will tell.

When it comes to provocations for war American presidents have been lied to, and they've occasionally told lies. So, I can’t completely dismiss the idea that somebody other than Assad, himself, is actually responsible for this alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. Still, as it stands, today, many people are saying America must launch a batch of cruise missiles to blow up selected targets in Syria.

Obama says a “red line” has been crossed. He says he feels compelled to protect a "norm." While he stands ready to launch the missiles, as a commander in chief, as a president, Obama says he wants Congress to authorize the proposed strike in Syria ... and own whatever it leads to down the road.


My guess is the saber-rattling Obama is working a Brer Rabbit Gambit. It’s almost a reverse Brer Rabbit Gambit, in that he‘s saying he has to bomb Syria, even though he doesn’t want to, so don’t hold him back ... when being held back is exactly what he wants.

Yes, I'm saying Obama wants Congress to delay the bombing run. And, he wants other countries to weigh in, to try to find alternatives to bombing Syria. Russia already has.

Moreover, Obama wants to make people all over the world think seriously about the use of chemical weapons and what should be done about it. Like, is there a damn “red line” about using certain weapons of mass destruction, or not?

Obama wants to jerk billions of heads up out of the sand and make all of us bystanders look at this very complicated situation. And, it says here that most of all, Obama wants to drive Assad out of Syria.

On top of that possibly-brilliant-but-definitely-risky stalling maneuver’s effect on the prospects for avoiding another war for America, it is also tying the Republicans in knots. Some of them are in the process of making fools out of themselves, yet again, and perhaps weakening their own power within the ranks of the GOP.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying any of this is a slam dunk. But if Assad suddenly decides he really ought to get out of Syria, before the missiles come and drastically weaken his power to scare his many enemies, it won’t surprise me all that much. He’s seen what happened to other dictators who stayed too long at the party.

Right now, Assad might be able to go into exile in Russia and take a billion dollars with him. But the clock is ticking. Maybe the late-breaking notion of Assad allowing the UN, or some international body, to take his WMD toys away from him is worth pursuing. Like, if we get to take possession of most of his supply of deadly gas and haul it off, to be destroyed, then nasty old Assad STILL has to get out of town, that might work, too.

No matter how long Assad chooses to stay, to make the Brer Rabbit Gambit work at this point America's trickster president has to make it look like he’s got an itchy trigger finger. Then he has to let the various actors play their roles, and wait…

Note: This was written before Obama’s 9 p.m. address on this crisis, so I may soon want to take all of this back.

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