On Syria And Politician’s Logic

by PM

27 August 2013, 2330 EDT

As a callow undergraduate, I kind of supported the Iraq War for all of the normal reasons; see The Republic of Fear and The Threatening Storm. (I say “kind of” because I was in college and, frankly, tuned out in favor of studying.) A little while ago, it struck me in one of those blinding moments of self-awareness that not only had I been wrong but that Get Your War On (probably NSFW, but basically R-rated) was more accurate than my quasi-sophisticated arguments (or the analysis in the New York Times).

Given that support for intervention in Syria hangs somewhere in the single digits, it’s at times like these that I wish that I wasn’t so convinced that the presidency is largely unresponsive to the public in terms of foreign policy. I do wish, however, that political science took the presidency a little more seriously and therefore had something a little more conclusive than the extant literature about why bombing Syria now seems more likely than not. As it is, the Yes Minister quip about “politician’s logic” (“we must do something, this is something, therefore we must do it”) seems like a pretty good working hypothesis.

So, as I said, I had my Damascene moment. But it seems likely that the Obama administration hasn’t.