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The Consequences of Obama's 'Red Line Retreat'

By Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.), Right Side News

Obama’s Red Line

DEFCON Level ObamaAs I listened to President Barack Obama’s announcement of retreat from his irresponsible “red line threat,” that is when he stated, “I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” I was reminded of the scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” when Sir Robin, King of Swamp Castle, confronts his nemesis, loses his nerve fleeing in retreat, and his personal minstrel composes a medieval ballad to commemorate Sir Robin’s cowardice:

Brave Sir Robin ran away...

bravely ran away away...

When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.

Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out.

Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin.

After all the empty bravado from Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Obama ‘the Brave,’ America’s allies and enemies can not but conclude in the words of the minstrel:

Brave Obama ran away...

bravely ran away away...

A brave retreat by brave Obama.

As I have written in the past, the U.S. has absolutely nothing to gain by intervening in Syria’s Islamic sectarian civil war; therefore, Obama’s reckless threat to Bashar al-Assad warning him not to use chemical weapons was senseless in terms of American vital national interests. Now it goes without saying that the employment of weapons of mass destruction such as chemical munitions is considered to be a war crime under the Statute of the International Criminal Court and is an act of aggression to be discouraged wherever possible. However, there is absolutely no justification for U.S. military forces to intervene in a conflict just because chemical weapons are illegally used, especially when neither U.S. forces nor the forces of an ally are directly involved in the combat.  

Consequently, it could be said that Obama made the right decision not to intervene; however, it was made at a tremendously high cost – American credibility – that was totally unnecessary. Just as the Benghazi-jihad-denying-lie, which cravenly and dishonestly blamed an obscure Internet video for the deaths of four Americans, was made to protect Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, so Obama’s bombastic chemical-weapons-red-line-warning was also made by the president during his reelection campaign to misrepresent himself as Obama ‘the Brave.’ To quote from another movie, “Rob Roy,” for the Obama regime “the truth is but a lie undiscovered.”

The Consequences in the Middle East

In Syria, Bashar al-Assad will consider himself completely unrestrained in the use of any means at his disposal to defeat the Sunni jihadists attempting to depose him. Not that this civil war can get much more savage, but expect to see more employment of chemical weapons to clear Sunni jihadist-held urban strong points. Russian President Vladimir Putin will be even less mindful of Obama’s entreaties and ‘resets’ as he continues his military support of Assad’s regime, while Iran will redouble the military and economic support of their Syrian proxies as Obama’s ‘brave retreat’ opens a clear path to victory and the establishment of a solidly Shia Levant.

In Egypt, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the Egyptian Army will likewise consider themselves free to mercilessly crush the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama’s ‘brave retreat’ will signal to the Egyptian General Staff they need not concern themselves about any blowback from Obama as they run to ground Mohamed Morsi and the rest of Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

In the Persian Gulf, the Saudi Sunnis and the rest of the Gulf Sunni Arabs will consider themselves on notice that they cannot count on Obama to be their defender in their deadly faceoff with their Iranian Shia rivals. As a result, as the Iranian mullahs near completion of their nuclear weapons development program, expect the Saudi Sunnis to acquire (if they don’t already have) nuclear weapons from their Pakistani Sunni coreligionists.

Similarly, there can no longer be any doubt in the minds of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli political and military leadership that it is up to Israel alone to counter the Iranian nuclear threat to their existence. Obama’s ‘brave retreat’ has undoubtedly set in motion the finalization of Israeli attack plans.

While the Iranians have to feel good about their tactical defeat of Obama and the American ‘Great Satan,’ Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and the mullahs must realize that the Israeli ‘Little Satan’ clearly recognizes Obama’s declaration of fecklessness as the signal that they can stop pretending the economic sanctions and nuclear negotiations will dissuade Iran from nuclear weapons acquisition.


Obama’s ‘brave retreat’ from America’s super power role as world peace mediator and custodian has set off an existential race between Iran and Israel. Iran is sprinting toward nuclear weapons developmental completion, while the Israelis are racing to finalize preemptive attack preparations.

So much for the consequences wrought by a president who ‘shoots from the lip’ and is forced into ‘brave retreat.’

Col. Thomas Snodgrass Articles

Tom Snodgrass RSNCol. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired) served over a year in Peshawar, Pakistan, working with Pakistani military intelligence. During his year in Vietnam he daily scheduled 130 U.S. Army and Air Force intelligence collection aircraft. In his final overseas tour he was the U.S. Air Attaché behind the Iron Curtain in Warsaw, Poland. In total, Col. Snodgrass was variously an Intelligence Officer or an International Politico-Military Affairs Officer serving duty tours in seven foreign countries, as well as teaching military history and strategy at the Air War College, US Air Force Academy, and USAF Special Operations School during a thirty-year military career. Following the Air Force, Col. Snodgrass was an adjunct professor of military history for ten years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona.

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