I agree that Obama's foreign policy in Syria can be compared to JFK's Cuba policy, but to an episode earlier than the Missile Crisis. I refer, of course, to JFK's disastrous handling of the Bay of Pigs. As I wrote on the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, contrary to the hagiographic accounts of JFK's handling of the event, it proved,
the classic leftist screw up that risked global disaster, produced a fifty-year disaster for the Cuban people, and ended up being twisted into political gain for a not very competent President of the USA. There would have been no October 1962 "crisis" had it not been for JFK's betrayal of the Cuban freedom fighters in April 1961. Had JFK carried out the Eisenhower plan instead of allowing the freedom fighters to be killed and captured, Castro would have been gone, there would have been no Soviet presence in Cuba, no October Missile Crisis, and very likely no wars in Central America.Obama is going for another Bay of Pigs, to wit, a half-baked operation lacking in the essential resources needed to produce a favorable outcome for the United States. JFK sabotaged Eisenhower's stright-forward plan for eliminating Castro in favor of a convoluted, ill-supplied invasion by exiles that would not require American boots on the ground until victory was nearly assured. The Democrats seem to love these sort of half-measures because they look sophisticated. Some years ago, it was fashionable to read David Halberstram's classic 1972 The Best and The Brightest. His book, of course, told how the "smartest guys in the room" led the United States into disaster in Southeast Asia. They were convinced that they were, in Tom Wolfe's subsequent phrase, Masters of the Universe; that thanks to their Harvard degrees, and fluency with tecno jargon, they could wage modern limited war as though military conflict were an orchestra responding to the subtleties and delicate nuances of a brilliant conductor. A little more bombing here; a pause there; talk a little; increase the pressure as needed, etc., and that the opposition would come to the rational conclusion that there was no point in trying to match the resources and sheer brilliance of The Best and The Brightest. Didn't work. The subtleties and nuances were lost on a foe who wanted to win regardless of cost, and who knew that eventually the Americans and their Wiz Kids leaders would have to go home. They simply forgot or ignored Von Moltke's observation, adapted from Von Clausewitz, to the effect that, "No plan survives first contact."
It would seem that Obama wants his own little Bay of Pigs--OK, OK, let's be culturally appropriate, Gulf of Camels. He has no particular plan on how to deal with Assad except to launch a few missiles at some facilities, which by now are either empty, greatly fortified, or both. Assad knows that the full might of American firepower, an awesome spectacle, indeed, will not be unleashed on him. The odds are Assad will survive whatever Obama does to him, and be a hero in the eyes of the Arab world. Don't forget that Saddam appeared as such a hero even after the beating he took in the first Gulf War--he took the punch and remained standing, that's all that matters in the Middle East. Quite frankly, we should probably hope that is the result. If by some chance, Assad falls, wait until you see the jihadi loons who will replace him!