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Ignatius: Obama Still Trying to Recover Credibility As Commander-In-Chief After Syrian Red Line


Friday on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” The Washington Post’s David Ignatius said President Barack Obama has been attempting to recover credibility in his role as commander-in-chief since not following through with his threats that if Syrian president Bassel al-Assad used chemical weapons, he would be crossing a “red line.”

Host Chuck Todd said, “One could argue his struggles with ISIS began when the decision to not go after Syria was made with the red line. Chuck Hagel was told to get an attack ready. He was personally stunned when he was told to pull back, and he used this quote, ‘There’s no question in my mind, that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred.’”

Ignatius said, “I think this president began to lose the sense of being powerful in the moment that he said he was going to use force and then didn’t. You began to have things like The Economists cover headline, ‘What would America fight for?'”

He continued, “I think it was significant. Going back to the days of Vietnam, we heard presidents worrying about American credibility, and sometimes you think, that’s such baloney, what’s credibility? Well, we have a demonstration over the last three years of precisely what you lose when you say you’re going to do something and then don’t. Power is never as powerful in the moment before you use it, when people wonder or worry what you might do. And the minute they think you might not act, that you’re not decisive, you’re not showing resolve, some of that American power slips away. I think what Obama’s trying to do, what we saw this week is a president attempting to recover ground, recover strength and the commander-in-chief’s role, to reassure the country without making mistakes. That’s his dilemma.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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