- - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It is a sad commentary on the state of our foreign relations when a two-bit dictator can and does comment unfavorably on the conduct of our president’s foreign policy. However, Syrian President Bashar Assad is accurate when he indicates that President Obama is all words and no action — and little action can be expected to hinder the goals of the current Syrian administration.

Aside from the moral and ethical imperatives that require a response to the mass gassing of innocent civilians in Syria, we have the duty to react to the tragedy in view of Mr. Obama’s “red line” drawn in the sand. If we do not answer this atrocity, Mr. Obama, the office of the presidency and our government will have lost all credibility on the international scene. Surely, our allies worldwide will cease trusting our commitments.

What will be the reaction of Israel to our promise that Iran will never be able to attain nuclear weapons when it notes that no action has been taken in Syria? The message will be clear that no nation can depend on the United States, and in the case of Israel, that nation will need to go it alone against Iran.

Syria has thrown down the gauntlet. Shall we respond forcibly or with a whimper? Obviously, Mr. Assad thinks that the latter will be our course of (in)action.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring