Given the international developments surrounding President Barack Obama's proposed attack on Syria, his Tuesday night speech contained few surprises, but many glimpses into his confused foreign policy.
While intoning that the U.S. cannot go on being the world's cop, the president chides Americans for not by-and-large supporting his proposed "pinpoint" strike against chemical weapons facilities, while setting forth the case that letting Assad get away with gassing his people would start the world down a slippery slope where other dictators with weapons of mass destruction would be emboldened. While saying Israel could defend itself against strikes, he pledges the support of the United States.
While saying the U.S. doesn't do "pinpricks," he speaks of a targeted strike. And further, he vows no ground troops will be used and says a limited strike sends a message no other nation can send.
And all of that came following a gruesome description of those who died in a chemical attack, but he fails to fully cover the quantum leap that the U.N. still hasn't made that Assad's troops used the weapons in the first place.
The entire speech leaves Americans, whom he admits are weary of war, in a befuddled state.
He speaks of American ideals and principles at stake in Syria, but fails to outline how vital national interests are served. Lots of people around the world disagree with the way the U.S. does business, and lots of nations around the world do things Americans would consider harmful to humanity, but Obama is saying the nation doesn't need to step in every time, just this time.
He leaves himself no options on what to do if the conflict widens; if terrorists take a strike as a call to action against U.S. citizens around the world or here in this country; if Assad rides out the strike and comes back the next time stronger and using conventional means to continue the slaughter in his nation's civil war.
The speech, like the entire conduct of the Syrian issue by the administration, is a head scratcher that leaves the Russians looking like potential heroes.
It all will be moot in a short time anyway. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in future years, the $500 billion being cut from the Navy's budget will mean fewer Navy pilots and fewer Marines.
The nation simply won't be able to afford to bluster without backup as a matter of course, instead of mere policy.