In my column "Obama, JFK, Reagan" I suggested that President Obama's policy toward Syria is in line with the national security strategies of President Kennedy and President Reagan: the threat of force combined with diplomacy.
What is the alternative policy of politicians, columnists and cable commentators who casually criticize Obama? In most cases they have none. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher would be appalled by the weakness, confusion, and partisanship of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Those who say Obama has no policy are transparently wrong. Obama has a clear policy. First, Congress should grant him the authority to use force if necessary while he negotiates for the removal of chemical weapons through diplomacy. Second, if diplomacy fails, employ targeted military strikes aimed at reducing Syrian President Bashar Assad's capacity to use chemical weapons. Third, provide military aid to factions resisting Assad within Syria that are pro-democracy.
Obama can be fairly criticized for taking long to arrive at this policy and appearing tentative at times in pursuing it. But he has a policy. It is the right policy. Most of his opponents, by contrast, offer no policy, only platitudes offered from the sidelines.