Super Tuesday’s ‘super calm’: Obama quelling ‘drums of war’
Talking at a "Super Tuesday" press conference in the White House, Obama has basically acknowledged that not every issue can be resolved by deploying the military – as one only has to look at the consequences of such actions.
On Monday, leading Republican Senator John McCain called for US air strikes on Syrian forces, regardless of the UN Security Council’s position on such matters. President Obama’s response was that any unilateral action against the Assad regime would be a mistake.
"What's happening in Syria is heartbreaking and outrageous,” he told the press conference, AP reports. “On the other hand, for us to take military action unilaterally, as someone suggested, or to think that somehow there is some simple solution, I think, is a mistake."
The US president added that the situation in Syria is more complicated than the Libyan conflict, where NATO weighed in with deadly air strikes last year. He also suggested that it was not a question of "if" Assad leaves, rather a question of “when”. The Obama administration is confident that its strategy based on sanctions and international diplomatic isolation will pressure Assad into handing over power.
In the meantime, violence continues in Syria. Russia and China are calling for both the government and the armed opposition groups to cease fire and start a dialogue. Washington so far has been addressing its ceasefire calls to Assad alone.
In his first news conference of 2012, Barack Obama also lashed out at Republican criticisms that he was too soft on Iran. He said the US would not “countenance” Iran developing a nuclear weapon and asserted that Tehran is already “feeling the bite” of international sanctions.
“What we've been able to do over the last three years is mobilize unprecedented, crippling sanctions on Iran. Iran is feeling the bite of these sanctions in a substantial way,” he said. “The world is unified, Iran is politically isolated. What I have said is that we will not countenance Iran getting a nuclear weapon."
On the other hand, President Obama pledged to take a sober approach to dealing with Iran's nuclear program and maintained that diplomacy can still resolve the crisis.
Obama said that his public pronouncements largely echo what was expressed during his Monday meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The US president pointed out that Israeli pressure for urgent military action against Iran was not supported by the facts.
Obama added that the recent announcement of six-power talks with Iran offered a diplomatic opportunity to reverse the crisis.
The announcement was made by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the USA, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany in their dealings with Iran, Reuters reports. The news came shortly after Russia called for an immediate resumption of dialogue with Tehran, saying an Iranian letter of February 14 showed the country was now ready for serious negotiations.
‘Obama is not in charge’
Lawrence Freeman of the Executive Intelligence Review magazine says that Obama is not the one to praise for America’s U-turn in its recent militaristic rhetoric.
“Obama himself is really not completely in charge. He has a very unstable personality,” he told RT. “And events have been manipulated around him, which could lead him to taking a very dangerous action.”
Freeman believes that the only thing that has kept the United States out of the war with Syria has been the US military and the intelligence community, who “have completely opposed any kind of military action.”
“The founder of our organization, Lyndon LaRouche, has been outspoken that any kind of military action by the US would be a trigger to detonate a larger confrontation that could include nuclear war with Russia and China,” Lawrence Freeman explained.