The Price of Grandstanding

For the past few weeks Americans have been waiting for a decision from our Commander in Chief about Syria.

It’s time to pay the price for past grandstanding.

On April 14, 1986, Ronald Reagan ordered airstrikes on Libya. To the best of my knowledge he did not consult congress. He did not take any opinion polls. He just made a decision as Commander in Chief. (Bill Clinton ordered similar strikes in Afghanistan in August 1998.)

Some people said Reagan over extended his authority. He simply stood by his convictions and the voices of dissent faded eventually.

But in the present day we have a president who accused his predecessor of being a warmonger. He asserted Bush had acted illegally, ordering a strike without congressional approval. He claimed Bush lied about chemical weapons in Iraq. So now when he faces a similar situation he has excluded himself from taking decisive action.

Instead he must get congressional approval, check on public opinion, and in this case, rely on the decisive action of Vladimir Putin to shape the American response.