Turn of Phrase

The Romans had a word for it: principiis obsta, meaning “resist the beginnings” to avoid an unpleasant end. Syria is a perfect case study. Obama drew his vaunted “red line” over the use of chemical weapons in Syria before Bashar al-Assad massacred civilians with sarin, a nerve gas, in 2013. But instead of making true on the threat of an American military response, Obama pulled back and invited the Russians in, never mind that Henry Kissinger had essentially kicked them out of the Middle East in the 1970s—pushing them out of Egypt, Russia’s main stronghold in the region, by bringing then-President Anwar al-Sadat into the American camp.

Via Josef Joffe’s Obama Is Not a Realist – which builds on Jeffrey Goldberg’ cover story The Obama Doctrine in the April 2016 issue of The Atlantic.

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