August 26, 2013
By John Zogby
The probable use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime dominated the news of the week, even pushing the Egyptian crisis down from lead story. Just what are the president's options? There are no great scenarios for action against Syria because several groups that make up the opposition are unsavory, to say the least.
But the president warned about action once the regime was shown to be using chemical weapons and his hand is now forced. He is handling it fairly well by first demanding inspection access to make sure that such weaponry was truly used. The U.S. doesn't need another 'weapons of mass destruction' debacle. He can then move painstakingly like his predecessor George H.W. Bush to build a solid global coalition against Syria. Russia, China, and Iran are a problem — but he would certainly get a better response to this than George W. Bush's 'coalition of the willing' in Iraq.
There is a lot of noise about Mr. Obama's action (or inaction, depending who you are talking to) in Egypt. But again, he is showing himself to be the adult in the room.
On the domestic front, the president is trying to get on the offensive with speeches on initiatives to make college more affordable. The Zogby Poll has him at 47% positive and 50% negative. If he has any hopes of getting a legislative agenda pushed through he will have to flip those numbers. We will see how his moves on Syria and speeches on education play, but he is at least in their plugging away. A better week than last.