Foreign Policy: Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's bravado is based on the myth of a U.S. defeat that never happened and a timid White House that let four Americans die in Libya. It might be time to set him and others straight.
The fruits of President Obama's ever-shifting red line regarding Syria's use of chemical weapons might be ripening as U.S. warships and aircraft prepare for possible cruise-missile strikes on Syrian targets. Weakness, both real and perceived, invites conflict and emboldens enemies, and our impotence in Benghazi didn't support our warnings to Damascus.
One of the reasons Syrian dictator al-Assad might not have taken Western warnings seriously — aside from the wobbly and apologetic foreign policy of an Obama administration that either calls terrorist attacks "workplace violence" or blames them on irrelevant videos — might lie in the echoes and myths of an earlier war.
"Failure awaits the United States as in all previous wars it has unleashed, starting with Vietnam and up to the present day," he told Russian daily Izvestia on Monday, when asked what would happen if Washington decided to strike or invade Syria.
Perhaps al-Assad should be reminded that similar bravado was once shown by the now-deceased Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait. His elite Republican Guard was going to vanquish demoralized American forces in the "mother of all battles."
Yet his military was routed in 100 hours in a massive ground offensive led by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28, 1991.
Al-Assad and other regional bullies, such as the Iranian leadership that is surely watching, need also to be reminded of what happened after Saddam failed to honor the terms of the truce after the lightning success of Operation Desert Storm: Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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