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Obama on slippery Syrian slope

US President Barack Obama's ramping up of military support for the Syrian opposition is the exception to the foreign policy vision he described at West Point.
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives for the commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014. Obama's commencement address here is the first in a series of speeches that he and top advisers will use to explain U.S. foreign policy in the aftermath of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and lay out a broad vision for the rest of his presidency.


Barack Obama has gone to great pains recently to explain the broad moral and policy context of his foreign policy choices for the remaining years of his presidency. Syria stands out, however, as a prominent exception to Washington’s kinder and gentler approach to foreign policy.

The US president's self-declared interest is to close the file on Afghanistan and all that it represents — an ill-considered case of mission creep marked by costly military escalation, counterinsurgency and, at best, ambiguous outcomes. He insists that he has learned something after more than a decade of war in the Middle East and Asia. 

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