Hard on the heels of news that the president includes political fixer David Axelrod in his invitation-only meetings to decide which terrorists to target in drone strikes, herewith some cynical, self-serving, political reasons why this cynical, self-serving, and most political of presidents should care about what happens in Syria:
1. The longer fighting goes on, the more likely al Qaeda gains a foothold in Syria, destabilizing Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Israel. Wise leadership points.
2. The death of more than 10,000 civilians, including thousands of woman and children, is a stain on the Obama legacy. Moral points.
3. Subcontracting U.S. foreign policy to Saudi Arabia and Qatar is a recipe for the rise of Wahhabi extremists that will mean a Middle East even more precarious than the one born in the Arab Spring. Muslim moderation points.
4. It’s a chance to hit Iran without hitting Iran, and without allowing a single boot on the ground. Manhood points.
5. It can reinstate the soiled name of “leading from behind.” Recycling points.
What should he do? Arm the rebels. Support safe corridors. Provide air cover to rebel fighters. Help the Syrian opposition come together and write a transition plan. Stand against Assad. Act like the president of the greatest nation on earth.
Danielle Pletka is the Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.