Weeks of failed efforts to sell the Syrian War to the American public seemingly still aren’t over, as President Obama used the occasion of his speech to the UN General Assembly to demand a UN resolution authorizing military action against Syria if the chemical disarmament process stalls.
While giving lip-service to the idea of diplomacy, President Obama made it clear repeatedly during the speech that his view of American “exceptionalism” centers entirely around its willingness to fight unwise wars.
“I believe America is exceptional, in part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interests of all,” Obama insisted. This of course segued back into calls for authorization to attack Syria.
Though the reference to America as “exceptional” was seen by many as an attempted slight to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the narrative seemed primarily directed at the American public, and selling the idea that true national greatness is measured by its willingness to start wars that are plainly contrary to their interest. Americans are convinced that the Syrian war isn’t in their interest, but turning that into another reason to support the war seems a stretch, to say the least.
For more on Obama’s speech: The Handshake That Never Happened