What I've typically reacted to negatively is the idea that I blindly trust President Obama because the fact is - I have my eyes wide open and am watching a fascinating presidency unfold. Over time what has happened is that when I don't see the whole picture yet, I've learned to slow down my reactions and wait until I get more information. I also remind myself of who this man is that we've elected twice and how he's handled things in the past.
All of this came into play when it became clear that President Obama was considering a military strike against Syria because the Assad regime had used chemical weapons against his own people. I knew from watching him closely that he had rather boldly stood up to his own national security team when they united last fall to propose that the US intervene in the Syrian civil war. And so I was pretty confident that he had come to this position both reluctantly and thoughtfully. As I've said previously, my concerns were more about the efficacy of strikes rather than the ridiculous notion that this man was some kind of warmonger. And so I reminded myself of the process President Obama used when he made the decision to intervene in Libya and assumed he'd done the same thing this time.
I can't say that I ever really embraced the idea of military strikes against Syria. But what I can say is that I figured that President Obama was telling the truth about his intentions and that he'd made the best decision he could with the information he had. Doing so doesn't always mean success or landing on the perfect solution. No human is capable of always doing that. But its the best we can hope for from a president in an imperfect world.
There is still a lot of work to be done on Syria, but this morning I can see demonstrated proof that my trust in President Obama is vindicated. SoS Kerry has brokered a deal with his Russian counterpart to identify and destroy Assad's chemical weapons. What is specifically vindicated is not just that this administration had always been working behind the scenes on the "carrot" of diplomacy as an alternative to the "stick" of military intervention. If this deal goes through, it also proves that dealing with Assad's chemical weapons was ALWAYS the President's motivation in all this. That is a critical point because it shows that he is ushering in a new approach to US foreign policy.
What President Obama has been laying out in his Syrian policy is an engagement in the world that rejects warmongering as a solution but also suggests that isolation is dangerous. He wants to promote diplomatic solutions that allow the people of Syria to decide their own fate while upholding the norms against the use of chemical weapons.In a resolution to the issue of WMD, this new approach demonstrates how wrong the neocons have been that we have to invade other countries to engage productively. It also proves the President's cynical critics on the left wrong in suggesting that he is just another tool of the neocons. In the end, it is the blindness of those on the right who call this President "weak" and those on the left who suggest that he's just another "warmonger" that has been revealed.
If that sounds like a "confusing" policy to anyone - its probably because engaging as a partner rather than assuming our own dominance militarily requires nuance and complexity.
And so yes, with eyes wide open, my trust in President Obama has been vindicated once again.