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Monday, October 24, 2016

Poll: Americans Reject Beltway Consensus On Syrian Diplomacy

President Obama’s handling of the Syrian crisis was criticized on both sides of the aisle, while winning some praise from unlikely voices. Though critics are adamant that the inability to garner domestic and international support for a military strike in response to Syria’s crossing of the president’s “red line” of chemical weapons use was a failure of the administration, many Americans see things differently.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll reveals that while 53 percent disapprove of the way President Obama handled Syria, 79 percent believe he did the right thing in seeking a diplomatic option and 47 percent think the threat of U.S. missile strikes helped pressure Syria into entering into negotiations to give up their chemical weapons.

Two of the president’s sharpest critics — Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — issued a joint statement slamming the president’s decision to try diplomacy: “What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies will take the same lessons from this agreement: They see it as an act of provocative weakness on America’s part. We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for nuclear weapons.”

Americans remain opposed to any military action against the Syrian regime but understand that the threat of force compelled al-Assad to admit that Syria does in fact possess chemical weapons, while at the same time sparking movement toward a diplomatic solution between the U.S., Russia, and Syria.

The administration was unsuccessful in convincing Americans that a military strike in Syria was essential to national security. While 47 percent believe that President Obama successfully made a persuasive case for action against Syria (opposed to 32 percent who thought he was unpersuasive), only 30 percent are in favor of a military strike, and just 45 percent believe America’s interests were at stake.

Despite attempts to paint the president and his policies toward Syria as weak, most Americans hold a different view.

“There is just no evidence Americans see this through the prism favored by elite pundits—that adapting to shifting circumstances is not ‘resolute’ or ‘decisive,’ and is therefore inherently a bad thing that has ‘weakened’ the president and the country,” The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reported.

Only 32 percent of respondents said the president’s decision to seek diplomacy and back down from military action weakened the country — 46 percent believe it made no difference to U.S. leadership in the world.

“Strikes were a bad idea,” Sargent wrote. “The public continues to say so. The opportunity of diplomacy presented itself. Obama took that opportunity. The public supports that decision. Does anyone really imagine Americans care whether it was a verbal flub by John Kerry — or a changing of mind in response to new circumstances — that put us on the road to the outcome they want?”

AFP Photo/Evan Vucci

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  • Buford2k11

    McCain and Graham, failures…some might think of the years in the senate has made them credible…this country may have moved passed the GWB “Bomb anything that moves” philosophy, into a more world friendly position…I hear there is a “draft Putin” for the GOP leadership position…boy o boy, why do the tpers and gopers go all squishy when old Vlad takes his shirt off? Suppressed Gayness can be cured…

  • atc333

    This is just a case of no matter what Obama does, the GOP Right Wing will not approve of it.

    1. A strike on Syria to punish Assad would be bad.

    2. A decision to seek Congressional approval is bad, as it proves he is unable to make a decision, and waffles.

    3. Putin’s offer on behalf of Syria to allow destruction of all Chemical Weapons is bad, because Obama is playing into Russian and Syrian hands, and being manipulated.

    4. Obviously, the Right did not bother to note that Obama stated he retained the right to strike, regardles of Congressional attempts to further undermine his Presidency.

    Once again, for the Far Right, it is Nation last, and Party first, winning no matter what the cost.

    • itsfun

      Can’t completely agree. Some Republicans (rinos) want to go into Syria. Most do not. Although we do need different ideas and opinions in the Congress, we have been in enough wars. American is not directly threatened by Syria and we don’t need to go there.

      • dancerboots

        Some day in the future…this may be one of President Obama’s important legacies…any country having chemical weapons directly affect us. President Obama is committed to reducing the stockpile (and hopefully the production but doubt that will be in my lifetime) of weapons of mass destruction. He pushed for the New Salt Treaty to be ratified by the Senate before the entrenchment of the Tea Party during the lame duck session in 2010. This is their authority under the Constitution and needs a sixty majority vote. It was ratified and Russia/Putin signed on. Our country gave $1 billion t0 Russia and they now have a new facility to destroy come of their chemical weapons. The U.S has reduced their chemical weapons stockpile by 90% and Russia by 75%.

  • itsfun

    A diplomatic solution is the very best solution, especially if we are giving weapons to terrorists that eat the organs of their enemies. Those people are cannibals. If they win, the folks in Syria may be able to go their local supermarket and get human hearts and livers and such from the fresh meat counter.