Reading Power

It was a year ago on August 20 that President Obama laid down his red line regarding the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria. A video of Obama laying down his red line is below.

Assad crossed the red line a while back with no discernible consequence. He now appears to have recrossed the red line even further with the massacres outside Damascus this week.

Fouad Ajami brings the story up to date and renders judgment on Obama in an impassioned column for Defining Ideas. Ajami writes: “There is only the vanity of the standard-bearer of American power. Mr. Obama needn’t do virtuous things; he himself is virtuous.” Lee Smith writes that Assad has called Obama’s bluff.

Our ambassador to the United Nations has spoken, from an undisclosed location. She commented on the news of this week’s horrific chemical attack via Twitter.

Bill Kristol reads Power’s tweet as a subtle condemnation of Obama. Consistent with Bill’s reading of Power’s comment, Power was pursuing other interests when the United Nations Security Council took up the issue yesterday. Bill had more to say in an interview with Chris Stirewalt yesterday. Bill says: “It is a dark moment for American foreign policy.” It is a dark moment for the United States.

The State Department refused to say where Power was. Her location remained undisclosed.

The White House sprang into action and issued a statement through deputy spokesman Josh Earnest. Earnest announced that the United States is formally requesting the United Nations to undertake an investigation.

But wait! There’s more: “The United States strongly condemns any and all use of chemical weapons.” And then there is this: “Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.” Potent stuff.

The thought has been variously expressed, but a wise man once said that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth out and remove all doubt. Victor Davis Hanson decries Obama’s use of “the bluster pulpit.” What is to be said of a president whose words embarrass not just himself, but his country? At least this much can be said. It would be better that he remain silent.

PAUL ADDS: I don’t begrudged Samantha Power her vacation. But if it’s true that the “UN must get [to Syria fast],” then shouldn’t Power get herself to the UN fast?

JOHN adds: Michael Ramirez contributes this scathing commentary:

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