Syria, Iran Policies Reflect 'Obama Doctrine'
President likes to play it cool if US interests aren't directly involved
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2012 2:14 PM CST
President Barack Obama makes the "U" sign before he speaks to students at the University of Miami, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, in Coral Gables, Fla.   (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

(Newser) – Why isn't President Obama arming Syrian rebels and handing bunker-busting bombs to Israel to blow out Iran's nuclear plants? Because of the "Obama Doctrine," argues David Sanger in the New York Times: the notion that the US should "use unilateral force when America’s direct national interests are threatened," as in the bin Laden raid. "But when the threat is more diffuse, more a matter of preserving global order, his record shows that he insists on United Nations resolutions and the participation of many allies."

White House officials have their arguments in each case. In Syria, they say, handing over weapons to disorganized rebels of all stripes could trigger more violence down the road. With Iran, sanctions and covert actions are safer than risking a Middle East war with an airstrike. Which is why Israel is arguing that "in a few years Iran could have a missile capability that could reach the United States," writes Sanger. "They want to fit Iran into that first category"—of a direct threat to America.