How else to explain this kind of thinking – some in the Administration have put out this projection for Obama’s presidency going forward. They draw it as an entirely passive future. They’re saying if we fail at this, we’ll fail at everything else because it’ll be out of our hands. Perhaps some staffers think saying this would be heard by the Congress as a threat; they would be wrong – a weak Obama is the opposition’s wet dream.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — President Obama and his advisers view the coming decision on military action against Syria as a potential turning point that could effectively define his foreign policy for his final three years in office. . . .
Mr. Obama and his team see the votes as a guidepost for the rest of his presidency well beyond the immediate question of launching missiles at Syrian military targets. If Congress does not support a relatively modest action in response to a chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people in Syria, Obama advisers said, the president will not be able to count on support for virtually any use of force.
Although Mr. Obama has asserted that he has the authority to order the strike on Syria even if Congress says no, White House aides consider that almost unthinkable. As a practical matter, it would leave him more isolated than ever and seemingly in defiance of the public’s will at home. As a political matter, it would almost surely set off an effort in the House to impeach him, which even if it went nowhere could be distracting and draining.
As a result, Mr. Obama would be even more reluctant to order action in the one case that has most preoccupied military planners: the development of a nuclear bomb by Iran.