Back from the Brink, Finally / AP

Obama finally “got it” that his red line and his hawkish posturing left him standing on the brink, alone.  Hollande might jump off the cliff with him, but then again, he might not.  US Ambassadors had fanned out to foreign capitals, but were being rebuffed — no one wanted to join a coalition of hubris.  After all, convincing evidence of exactly what happened on August 21, and who is truly responsible, has yet to surface. From the Globe and AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Short on support at home and allies abroad, President
Barack Obama unexpectedly stepped back from a missile attack against
Syria on Saturday and instead asked Congress to support a strike
punishing Bashar Assad’s regime for the alleged use of chemical weapons…

Administration officials said Obama appeared
set on ordering a strike until Friday evening. After a long walk in
near 90-degree temperatures around the White House grounds with Chief
of Staff Denis McDonough, the president told his aide he had changed
his mind.
These officials
said Obama initially drew pushback in a two-hour session attended by
Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Director of
National Intelligence James Klapper, CIA Director John Brennan,
national security adviser Susan Rice and homeland security adviser Lisa
Monaco. They declined to say which of the participants had argued
against Obama’s proposal.
Whatever Congress ultimately decides, the developments marked a stunning turn.
France
is Obama’s only major foreign ally to date for a strike, public polling
shows support is lukewarm in the United States, and dozens of lawmakers
in both parties have signed a letter urging Obama not to act without
their backing. Outside the gates of the White House, the chants of
protesters could be heard as the president stepped to a podium set up
in the Rose Garden.
Had he
gone ahead with a military strike, Obama would have become the first
U.S. leader in three decades to attack a foreign nation without
mustering broad international support or acting in direct defense of
Americans. Not since 1983, when President Ronald Reagan ordered an
invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada, has the U.S. been so alone
in pursuing major lethal military action beyond a few attacks
responding to strikes or threats against its citizens.

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