A dissent cable signed by 51 mid- to high-level State Department officials calling for US airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad is unlikely to spur a military incursion into Syria in President Barack Obama’s last months in office.
As The Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe pointed out, “few things frustrate President Obama more than what he calls the ‘Washington playbook’ – a view that US military firepower is the solution to most of the toughest foreign policy problems.”
Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, made that point clear in a recent interview with The New York Times Magazine. He referred to Washington’s foreign-policy establishment as “the blob” and described the lengths to which the administration has gone to circumvent the Beltway’s agenda.
But some experts say the cable, which the White House says Obama has not read, will at least show Syrians and US allies in the Middle East that many in the administration are deeply unhappy with Obama’s Syria policy – and that they will advocate a new approach once he leaves office.
“I think it’s useful in terms of telling Syrians, their neighbors, the regime, and its supporters that there are indeed American officials who care deeply about the humanitarian abomination that’s taken place and want to do something about it,” Fred Hof, a former special adviser for transition in Syria at the State Department, told Business Insider in an email.
“That said, I doubt it will have any effect at all on President Obama and his White House entourage,” he added.