News / Middle East

Domestic Politics Limits Obama's Options on Syria

Domestic Politics Limits Obama's Options on Syriai
X
May 01, 2013 6:15 PM
President Barack Obama says confirmation that Syria used chemical weapons would cause the United States to rethink its military options in connection with the two-year old civil war there. But domestic political pressures make it unlikely that President Obama would deploy U.S. ground forces as one of his military options. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone reports.
President Barack Obama says confirmation that Syria used chemical weapons would cause the United States to rethink its military options in connection with the two-year old civil war there.  But domestic political pressures make it unlikely that President Obama would deploy U.S. ground forces as one of his military options.

As civil war continues to rage in Syria, the Obama administration is trying to confirm its belief that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people.

President Obama has repeatedly said that would be a game changer.

“That would be an escalation in our view of the threat to the security of the international community, our allies and the United States and that means that there are some options that we might not otherwise exercise that we would strongly consider," said President Obama.

Some Republicans believe there is enough evidence for the U.S. to act more aggressively in Syria, either by arming the rebels or establishing a no-fly zone.

Senator John McCain spoke about a recent visit with Syrian refugees on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“This woman who was a school teacher said: 'Senator McCain, you see these children here?  They are going to take revenge on those people who refuse to help them.' They are angry and bitter and that legacy could last for a long time too unless we assist them," said McCain.

But even McCain opposes the deployment of U.S. ground troops, and analysts like Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution agree.

“I think the administration will be obliged to do something, or at least that is should feel obliged to do something," said O’Hanlon. "But that does not mean that we should put 75,000 Americans on the ground in Syria because of one small, limited chemical weapons use.”

Public opinion polls suggest little interest among Americans to get deeply involved in Syria, a view tourists visiting Washington seemed to confirm.

“You know, we can’t control the world and it needs to have a really, really good reason to go in there," said one.

“I think there probably is a little fatigue on putting our troops out there.  Of course there is a price to be paid for freedom and I think that we take that mantle on frequently," said another.

Americans have lost patience with foreign military involvements after lengthy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center.

“I mean the public is just glad to be out," said Doherty. "They are divided over whether it was right or not and you still see the same partisan divisions.  But there is just a sense of fatigue with these struggles, even Afghanistan where troops still are.”

But those who argue for a stronger U.S. role in Syria remain hopeful the Obama administration will respond to what they see is a humanitarian crisis there.

Jim Arkedis is with the Progressive Policy Institute:

“As the Obama team shapes its legacy on foreign policy, there are ways to be active in the international community without necessarily sending troops and my hope is that they get to a point where they are more aggressive in promoting America’s role abroad," said Arkedis.

The latest CBS News/New York Times poll found that only 24 percent of Americans believe the U.S. has a responsibility to intervene in Syria, while 62 percent oppose the idea.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid