Syria's False Definition of Strength
Some in Syria have claimed President Obama to be weak by virtue of his negotiating with Congress and Russia instead of unilaterally declaring war on the Assad government.
These people have a wrong definition of what is strength and what is weakness. And that definition has had a lot to do with making Syria the terrible place that it is.
The strong person is not a bully, and the strong person is not a tyrant. The strong person is someone who does the right thing when it is difficult or dangerous to do so. Obama, in his White House, stands to fear nothing from Syrians even if he were to declare a war on them. Which means that his refusal to embrace the cowboy diplomacy of the previous administration is not any kind of weakness, but rather responsible statesmanship. Instead of unilaterally declaring war, he has consulted with Congress and other major powers. And that is what a responsible statesman is meant to do.
The attitudes expressed by these Syrians point to a very big problem in Syria and some other parts of the Middle East. It is the reason why these places go from one form of fascism to another. You worship bullies, you'll get bullies. You worship tyrants, you'll get tyrants. This problem does not begin or end with Assad. These people will always live under one or another kind of tyranny for as long as they think the way that they do.
When I talked to my father about the brutal governments in the Middle East, he said, "that's because this is the kind of people live there." That may not be politically correct, but it is a useful perspective. You have a bunch of people who are brutes and look up to brutes, do not expect their governments to be better than they are. They think that strength is about being a bully and a tyrant; bullies and tyrants is what they will get.
Middle East will not lastingly improve, Arab spring or no Arab spring, until these people change their thinking. Strength is not about being a tyrant. Weakness is not about consulting other parties that stand to be affected by one's actions. The responsible government is one that thinks things through and works with other affected parties.
And in this Obama has done the right thing by America and by the rest of the world.