The Obama administration has reacted to Syria’s announcement that it would accept a UN investigation of alleged chemical weapons attacks by rejecting the inspections, saying that they are too little, too late.
It is a striking gesture of defiance from an administration that came to power preaching the importance of the UN, and suggests that President Barack Obama has already decided on military action against the Syrian regime, prior to–and, indeed, in the complete absence of–any authorization from the UN Security Council.
It is not, however, the first time that the Obama administration has defied the UN. In April 2012, it indicated that it would be prepared to reach a deal with Iran that would allow that country to enrich a certain amount of uranium, in defiance of UN Security Resolution 1696, which prevents any enrichment..
The Obama administration has complained that Russia and China are effective obstacles to any real action against Syria at the UN. But that was no less true in 2002-3, when the UN Security Council split over the question of Iraq. The Bush administration went to war anyway–a choice that Obama and the Democrats endlessly demagogued. Now Obama has reached the same impasse–and, perhaps, the same decision.