Neutrality toward Syria is the only clearcut non-aggressive policy that Obama can adopt. All his non-neutral policies are policies of entering the war in various degrees, and they must be aggressive policies since Syria is no threat to America. Obama has gone for entering the war. The Right therefore urges escalation continually, and he himself is wont to give in to his liberal urges to save humanity by escalation while at the same time knowing that escalation and direct involvement are very messy. He has focused on chemical weapons as a bogeyman, thereby attempting to shift the responsibility for entering the war away from himself. Kerry is visiting refugees of the war, acting as if they are his constitutents and as if the U.S. has played no role in stoking the war that has created the refugees.
Obama has commanded greater U.S. involvement in the Syrian War. The U.S. has used its puppets (like Israel, the Saudis and Qatar) to introduce, import and supply rebel forces. We know for certain that the U.S. has been training rebels at secret locations. We know that the U.S. has had extensive joint military exercises with Jordanian troops. We know that Obama has also commanded that arms shipments to rebels increase. He has ordered the U.S. military and his advisors to present him with more military options and he is considering them. He has ordered the military to train to seize chemical weapons, and they are doing this. He is aware of the British steps on gas masks and tear gas, which probably are coordinated with the U.S.
Obama is acting out several parts. He plays the part of a reluctant war-maker. He plays the part of a rational man, seeking out all options (but ignoring neutrality). He plays the part of president of the world and all its refugees and disadvantaged. He plays the part of the moral man who is upholding the international provisions against chemical weapons.
However, what matters most in understanding Obama and his Syrian policies is that two years ago, Obama called for Assad to resign and he imposed sanctions on Syria. He called for the Syrian people to determine their future. They did, in the usual political ways of this era, by an election in 2012 and by voting in a new constitution. Obama ignored these. He urged on the rebels, whose legitimacy is known to be nil, a very divided group, not representing the people, containing terrorist elements that routinely engage in terror bombings, and, from available evidence, having used chemical weapons to a limited extent. Obama’s goal is to replace Assad with a government friendly to the U.S. and not allied to Iran. Obama is simply following the neocon script, but attempting to achieve his objective in the cheapest possible way, using proxies and holding back the U.S. military. If he has to, he’ll use them. This is what General Dempsey means by “kinetic strikes“.5:17 am on July 20, 2013