Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Red Lines ^ | September 5, 2013 | Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Posted on 09/05/2013 3:12:12 AM PDT by Kaslin

Good parents eventually learn that lines in the sand are useful only if enforced. Inevitably, red lines will be stepped on or, more often than not, jumped over. If the lines have no meaning, children will realize that their parents are full of bluster and either lack the ability or the determination to carry through with punishment. Lines should be drawn only after deciding that the follow-through will happen without hesitation should a line be crossed. A swift, sure response is necessary, with no time for reconsideration or vacillation.

This is as true for business leaders, politicians and even world leaders as it is for parents. Words matter and should be chosen carefully.

Words matter, but only if those listening believe your words.

On Aug. 20, 2012, President Obama, responding to a question during a press briefing at the White House said, "I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down. So far, he hasn't gotten the message, and instead has double downed in violence on his own people.

"We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people. We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."

International politics is challenging, as there are always multiple players with multiple viewpoints, goals and options. Former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, under President Reagan, writing in her November 1979 essay "Dictatorships & Double Standards" in Commentary Magazine, laid out the evidence that the transitional period between an authoritarian government and its potential democratic replacement could result in chaos:

"Authority in traditional autocracies is transmitted through personal relations: from the ruler to his close associates (relatives, household members, personal friends) and from them to people to whom the associates are related by personal ties resembling their own relation to the ruler. The fabric off authority unravels quickly when the power and status of the man at the top are undermined or eliminated. ... Without him, the organized life of the society will collapse, like an arch from which the keystone has been removed. ...The speed with which armies collapse, bureaucracies abdicate, and social structures dissolve once the autocrat is removed frequently surprises American policymakers and journalists accustomed to public institutions based on universalistic norms rather than particularistic relations."

Kirkpatrick's point was that transitioning to democratic rule requires more than ousting an autocratic government; that the foundations of democracy are neither easily nor rapidly replicated, and, if they are not in place, any attempt to create democracies often proves short-lived. Why is this important in reviewing the options regarding Syria? The foundation of the Middle East differs from that of America in the 1700s. When we review foreign relations, we must step back and consider the multiple backgrounds, foundational structures and repercussions of our potential actions.

All of this should be done prior to drawing any red lines so that we maintain the ability to be flexible while projecting strength. Reagan was brilliant in this regard, defining his enemies with clarity: "Let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world," he told the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in March 1983.

This comment set up Reagan's speech in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 when he challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall." Eighteen months later the wall fell.

Wednesday of this week, Obama, while talking in Sweden, said that the red lines he had cited on Syria were not his alone but were shared by the international community. But the international community has not spoken with one voice, leaving his words confusing rather than clarifying.

The only way to prevent such a quagmire is to have a president who understand that words matter, that it is better to maintain flexibility while projecting strength, that red lines should rarely be drawn and -- if drawn -- should be drawn cleanly, clearly and with ownership.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: 0bama; milintervention; redline; syria

1 posted on 09/05/2013 3:12:12 AM PDT by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Odumbo has never “owned” anything he has said, done or voted “present” for. He is nothing more than an empty suit. Clint Eastwood used an empty chair in his address at the Republican convention and hit the nail on the head.

The danger of all this is the indiot has his hands on the keys to the most powerful forces on earth and who knows what such a person can do with all that power. Dangerous indeed.

2 posted on 09/05/2013 3:23:03 AM PDT by DaveA37
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
This halfrican, faggot, communist, mooselimb prick has NEVER accepted responsibility for any of his actions since he was born a half black bastard in kenya.

The world mocks obama, and Jon Stewart has done a very funny, {sad but true} piece about obama and his red line.

When the lefty Stewart is making fun of obama, even his low information viewer will start to understand just how ridiculous obama is.

3 posted on 09/05/2013 4:03:50 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages, start today.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

With Obama, it is “Red Lines, Cocaine Lines, Unemployment Lines, Medical treatment Lines and soon to be soup and toilet paper lines.”

4 posted on 09/05/2013 4:42:17 AM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Liberty or Big Government - you can't have both.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Progov

It is sad that a narcissistic, not so smart, lunatic can launch attacks on any country he wants, thus getting the world into a horrible war.

You lefties out there, are you proud?

5 posted on 09/05/2013 4:44:49 AM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Liberty or Big Government - you can't have both.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: FreeAtlanta

He didn’t say the Red Line wasn’t his alone, he totally bailed and blamed it on the World and Congress.

6 posted on 09/05/2013 5:46:04 AM PDT by mortal19440
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson