When President Barack Obama grows older and wiser, he will begin to regret squandering critical, historical opportunities (2009 Iran Crisis and the Red Line Crisis) for him to lead and shape the Middle East for peace and democracy because he alone was in the most powerful position to do that. To stay out and just watch the Middle East falling apart and changing for the worst is no leadership. Had he risen to lead as the superpower world leader should, we would have a very different Middle East today and he would be remembered in history books as one of the great world leaders who had helped steer the world from disasters.

Now, let us just review the Red Line Crisis. In a yearlong civil war, Syrian President Bashar Assad had made Syria a killing field for his people. President Obama finally spoke out to warn President Assad against crossing “the Red Line” (not to use chemical weapons against the rebels). I thought he just made a winning strategic trap to get rid of Assad’s chemical weapons and perhaps even himself. Because we all know, one day, Assad will be caught using chemical weapons in the civil war, and many people including women and children will be injured or killed by the chemicals. That would give President Obama the reason to punish the Assad regime for “crossing the Red Line” by strong military action, which would have world support and U.N. approval. Russia and China may not like that, but they couldn’t do anything about that because chemical weapons are accursed by all. Unfortunately, when the time came for action to punish the Assad regime for crossing the Red Line, President Obama, who had the authority to do that, just couldn’t bring himself to the task. So he looked up to the U.K. and U.S. Congress for support of his military action and failed. He was totally lost in making any meaningful decision. Now the whole world just watched him turn his winning strategy to a Syria debacle.

President Vladimir Putin and his foreign affair chief couldn’t wait to get in the game to play President Obama and John Kerry to death on the world stage and took all the credit of helping Obama solve Syria’s chemical weapon problem. In reality, they had saved their ally Assad’s regime from peril.

Just imagine had President Obama proved to the world that he was a man of words by massive bombing of the Assad regime for crossing the Red Line, the world would take serious his warning. Perhaps Putin would think twice before he made aggressive moves against Ukraine. And certainly it would weaken the Assad regime beyond repair and would help Syrian rebels in their struggle for democracy. More importantly, it would have a tremendous detrimental effect on ISIS’ fast growth in Syria to become a serious threat to the world today.

Chris Hsu

retired state employee

Baton Rouge