Forget Libya. Syria Is Obama's Top Screw-Up
President's miscues have created a strategic disaster, Jackson Diehl argues
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2012 1:49 PM CDT
In this Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 photo, smoke rises from buildings due to government forces shelling seen through broken glass in Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

(Newser) – The Romney campaign is eager to attack President Obama over the attack on the US consulate in Libya. But that was ultimately the result of "poor security decisions by mid-level State Department officials, not policy choices by Obama," writes Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post. If you want to attack Obama's foreign policy, focus on Syria; it's an "emerging strategic disaster" that "exemplifies all the weakness in his foreign policy," including his over-reliance on multilateralism, reluctance to exert power, and insistence on "engaging" with dictators.

Engaging was Obama's first plan in Syria, even after George W. Bush learned the hard way that Bashar al-Assad "was an irredeemable thug." The administration kept trying even after protests broke out—Hillary Clinton called Assad a "reformer"—and when that failed, it insisted on pursuing ineffectual UN moves. The result: A war that has killed thousands, attracted al-Qaeda, and may spill into allies like Turkey. Libya may be the easier target, Diehl writes, "but it is Syria that is Obama's greatest failure; it will haunt whomever occupies the Oval Office next year." Click for Diehl's full column.