Pass the Fig Leaf, Please https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/uncategorized/2014/03/pass-the-fig-leaf-please/

The president’s true message to Assad, Putin, and Khamenei: Get me out of here.
March 11, 2014 | Michael Doran
About the author: Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East (2016), is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council. He tweets @doranimated.
Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama discuss the situation in Syria at the 2012 G20 Summit in Mexico. Photo credit: ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/GettyImages
The day before Russian President Vladimir Putin flexed his muscles in Ukraine, the columnist Jeffrey Goldberg asked President Obama whether, given his failure to police his own “red line” in Syria, countries like Russia and Iran still believed he was capable of using force to advance American interests. Repudiating the inference, the president pointed to his threat last fall to intervene militarily with targeted strikes in Syria. That threat, he averred, was directly linked with the support subsequently given by both Russia and Iran to the agreement stripping the Assad regime of its chemical weapons:

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