International community, especially in the MidEast, over the next few days will listen what comes out of US Congress and The White House prior to the debate on authorization on use of military in Syria. Since US President Barack Obama, flanked by his Vice-President Joseph Biden, announced a request for authorization from the people representatives the biggest question is: How the Congress will vote and in which direction will sent US military forces or credibility in international arena? This question will get an answer sometimes after September 9th, most likely after September 11th and Al-Qaeda attacks on NYC anniversary, and will be game of high profile names in the well known arena on the Capitol Hill.
President Obama will have significant advantage on his advocacy side. His case for attack on Bashar Al-Assad regime will be most likely presented by three former members of the Senate and Committee on Foreign Relations, two of them chaired it for the better part of last two decades. Joseph Biden, John Kerry. Chuck Hagel sit on the same Committee at the time when he was one of the Hill members. Beside that Hagel also had a seat on the Committee on Near Eastern Affairs which gives him additional knowledge about relations in the region. They’ll be joined by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as one of the president Obama closest military advisers and person who could play essential role in convincing lawmakers in correctness of Obama initial decision. Kerry already stated his mission on Sunday through series of interviews on Sunday talk shows addressing Assad regime sarin use and evidences behind them.
Efficiency of Obama’s advocacy team will be solely judged by ability to convince one man that whole adventure is right, based on proper information or to have a proper goals. That’s Obama’s former presidential opponent, subsequently GOP leader on the Hill, John McCain. Following their Monday meeting McCain said that before he goes and advocates for authorization resolution to be adopted he must to be convinced, he and Lindsey Graham who joined him at the meeting, wants to see more details and concrete goals of planned action for Syria.
“We have been given some reason to believe that very serious strikes may take place as opposed to cosmetic. I say ‘may’ because we’ve now got to see a lot of the details”, said McCain adding that President Obama suffered “a credibility gap” because “of the last two years where nothing has happened while people have been massacred by the thousands”.
McCain’s support to Obama’s resolution and ideas will be crucial because he as one of the longest serving members of the Congress in general wants to protect credibility and authority of the institutions and the United States in general on the international scene. This card is well played by Obama. Forcing Congress to adopt resolution will transfer a part of the responsibility from his back on theirs at the end putting whole democratic establishment in the same rank. In that light McCain said on Monday:
“If the Congress were to reject a resolution like this, after the President of the United States has already committed to action, the consequences would be catastrophic in that credibility of this country with friends and adversaries alike would be shredded.”
This is another test for Obama, test which will play a considerable role in his legacy as he run as the anti-war president. For his sake it would be good if all evidences and proofs will be solid and true, his intentions right and not run on behalf of a wrong people as that happen in other Arab countries following the Arab Spring. Last but not the least mystery in this operation will be is Obama ready and does he knows to whom he should give a weapons to fight against Assad on the ground because McCain and the Hill members would not permit him to send US troops?